Four Secrets from Sports Psychology (Upper-Intermediate)

ESL/EFL Level: Upper-Intermediate (B2/C1)
Lesson Topics: achieving success, sports psychology, overcoming anxiety
Skill Focus: Speaking, Listening (BrE), Vocabulary
Approximate Class Time: 1.75 hours
Lesson Plan Download: sports-psychology-secrets-upper-intermediate-102023.docx
Lesson Overview:

  • After warm-up questions, students try to predict the content of the video they will watch next based on its title. Next, students complete a pre-listening vocabulary exercise to help as scaffolding for the video.
  • Students then watch the 3:11-minute BBC Ideas video, entitled Four secrets from sports psychology you can use in everyday life The video should be suitable for B2/C1-level learners. Note that the speaker has a British accent.
  • After a listen-and-recall activity, students answer comprehension questions, do a vocabulary-matching activity, and then create questions using the new vocabulary.
  • The first speaking activity is a roleplay in which students try to use the strategies from the video to help each other deal with anxiety. The second roleplay is an interview between a journalist and a well-known successful person. The journalist should ask questions related to the habits the successful person employed to get to where they are today.
  • The final speaking activity asks students to take and share notes on what they see when they visualize themselves achieving their next goal.
  • After a final vocabulary review, the lesson closes with some provoking famous quotations, final discussion questions, and a review of collocations.

An athlete doing a squat with a barbell on her shoulders

UPPER-INTERMEDIATE (B2/C1) Lesson on Secrets from Sports Psychology

Warm-up Questions

  1. Did you play sports growing up or do you currently? What have you learned from your experiences?
  2. Do you often feel nervous? How do you manage your nerves?
  3. In what areas of life would you like to improve?

Previewing: You are about to watch a video entitled “Four secrets from sports psychology you can use in everyday life.” What do you think the secrets might be? Make some guesses with a partner.

Pre-Listening Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the article.

1.     tendency (n)

2.     to have butterflies in your stomach (idiom)

3.     arousal (n)

4.     hamper (v)

5.     shame (n)

6.     rehearse (v)

7.     overcome (v)

a.     to practice a play/music/show before performing in public

b.     to succeed in dealing with a problem

c.     a feeling of guilt or embarrassment

d.     to make it difficult for something to happen; to hinder

e.     a habitual or typical way of behaving

f.      to feel nervous or anxious

g.     a state of being awake, alert, or excited, often due to emotion

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-- Lesson plan on Secrets from Sports Psychology written by Matthew Barton of (copyright). ChatGPT was used to generate answer keys and find the famous quotations. Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. For questions, contact the author.

Answers to Comprehension Questions:

  1. ‘There’ refers to the high level of achievement or success in their respective sports.
  2. She recommends reframing anxiety as excitement because both states are high arousal, but excitement is a positive emotion that can enhance performance, while anxiety can hinder it.
  3. She means that your body will not believe or respond to the command to calm down because the physical sensations of anxiety (like butterflies in the stomach) are too far from a calm state.
  4. The story of Eliud Kipchoge is meant to illustrate the importance of seeking and accepting support from others in order to achieve one’s goals.
  5. The second tip is not to do all the work yourself and to let others support you along the way. Students’ answers will vary for the second part of the question.

Vocabulary Answers: 1-e, 2-f, 3-g, 4-d, 5-c, 6-a, 7-b

Vocabulary Review Answers: see page 1

Collocation Answers: 1-c, 2-a, 3-f, 4-e, 5-b, 6-d

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