When we think about socks, the cold fact is that you think all socks are the same. After you buy one pair of socks you think you’ve found your sock. And then another company comes out with a sock that intrigues you. It may leave you wondering if there is a better sock out there. Perhaps a performance sock will be the answer.
Further, while I would not trust most of the packaging claims that these brands make, I do believe that a PERFORMANCE SOCK does indeed exist. It can be like the rare find of a mushroom in a forest but they do exist. Performance socks are commonly equated to being a compression sock. They may borrow qualities of a compression sock as well as other qualities in order to accommodate a wider range of needs.
In the following article, I’ll talk about the Psychology of Performance socks and how it ties in to narrowing down your choices when choosing the right sock. You’ll have a better idea of what a sock like this can do for you.
Understanding Performance Psychology
I am simply sharing lessons I have learned while researching the sock industry and co-creating our own socks.
Let’s proceed to discuss the Psychology of Performance Socks.
Performance Psychology helps us understand ‘self’ as an athlete. Mental strategies need to be in place for learning, practice and performance. Performance Psychology is important for learning motor skills.
Performance Psychology is not limited to the athlete. It can involve the entire support team. Usually, there is a team of supporters like coaches that develop insights about the athlete. These insights include instincts, drive, physical activity and personality of the athlete.
Athletes prepare for an event with pre-performance routines. Routines like this allow the athlete to perform consistently. A strong performance arises from the proper use of muscles and mind for motor skill development. Auto-suggestion acts as a seed for performance. And it requires imagery and self-talk- autosuggestion.
Extrinsic rewards like a Gold medal work to validate and to give the athlete a sense of accomplishment.
Motivation and drive are two results of performance Psychology. This ties in to a greater vision that the athlete has about performance.
Another aspect of this is how the athlete handles stress and pressure. When I played tennis competitively I would go into peak states. Nothing could stop my momentum and everything shot lands with perfection. There were times when I didn’t play well. I may be up a set and suddenly things start to go south. We call this choking in the game of tennis. Choking can be due to high pressure and the inability to deal with the pressure of the match. This is why imagery and visualization are so important. Your brain really doesn’t know the difference between something you're imagining and a real situation. Athletes can leverage this to become more calm and focused during high stakes competition.
The Mentality, Advantages of Performance Enhancing Gear
What’s the secret potion for success in sports? This question has been pondered for years in the world of sports.
Norman Triplett founded the fields of sports psychology in 1898. Triplett authored a paper entitled, ‘The Dynamogenic Factors in Pacemaking and Competition’, where he brings together an unconventional observation. He stated that bikers perform better when biking with a partner than when biking alone, even if they give the same effort in both cases. This set off a ‘raining cascade’ of studies around the topic of athletic performance.
Michael Strube, a Psychology Professor found that athletes are able to perform under immense pressure and that they respond favorably to adversity. Physical talent has a high priority but the dividing line between performance and peak performance is lodged in the athlete’s mentality.
We’ve designed our products for a wide range of athletes. And we’ve adapted our products suited for performance athletes to accommodate athletes at different levels of performance.
Athletes use an entire toolbox of mental skills that allow them to assume success.
Performance gear can be a part of this toolbox. A sock that allows the athlete to adapt to adversity only aids in setting the stage for peak performance. They give you a psychological edge by performing in alignment with the human physiology.
Mentality or Mental Strength can be divided into four areas:
- Character - what one does when no one is looking
- Strategy - the approach to competition
- Confidence - belief in one’s self
- Concentration - focusing on the task at hand
These four areas are the scaffold for achieving one’s full potential. It’s important to make the mental changes necessary to perform.
Mental talent is the key factor that separates the wheat from the chaff.
We can’t step inside of an athlete’s mind but, we do have the ability to make their journey easier. Poorly fitting socks can distract the athlete affecting their performance. Performance socks should allow the athlete a greater sense of support. Especially, if the legs and feet are playing a role in movement. Fibers that react and safeguard the feet from moisture and friction only aid in achieving the outcomes that the athlete seeks.
Belonging and Being a Part of Something Greater
Self-esteem has a key role in performance. With a good sock athletes feel like winners. Nothing can beat them. And this is part of the many factors at play for success.
In the past, socks have been pretty much the same. The weave and fabric haven’t really aided the athlete during activity. A sock that is designed to adapt to your feet becomes a customized piece of gear. We achieve this through targeted knitting and this is counter-intuitive to any previous approaches to textile design in the sock industry. Having confidence in your equipment, and in yourself equates to performing your best.
Performance socks serve a role in higher performance. With new advances in technology athletes and their support systems need to know about the advances. Advanced Textile socks are a new path forward that indeed, do make a difference well beyond athletic performance.