The American Psychological Association defines Sport and Exercise Psychology as the scientific study of the psychological factors associated with participation and performance in sport. Sport psychology methods allow for the enhancement of performance and functioning, in both sport and life.
Sport Psychology can be applied to emotional control and anger management when dealing with referees and coaches. Many times athletes have difficulties accepting a poor call (or a call they disagree with) from a referee. A sport psychologist can provide skills to athletes to deal with these so-called “losses of control”. Even business professionals can benefit from sport psychology skills to manage stress, manage employees, and prepare for presentations.
Sport psychology is as unique as the individual athletes who seek help from a sport psychologist. Working with a sport psychologist typically begins with an assessment to determine what performance goals are to be accomplished. Following sessions are used to develop skills and abilities that will help the athlete accomplish their goals.
For athletes, sport psychology explores the mental game and how psychological aspects of sport can make an athlete a better performer. Traditionally there are several basic mental skills that have been taught to athletes. These skills include: Self-Awareness, Relaxation, Goal Setting, Imagery/Visualization, Self-Talk, Concentration/Focus, and Motivation. However, sport psychology is not limited to just these skills, in fact sport psychology has a large host of applications that many athletes may not be aware of.
For example, sport psychologist’s can provide athletes skills and knowledge that will help confuse or disrupt an opponent’s concentration. Sport psychology can help coaches develop more effective tactics to use against an opponent or team through attacking not only technical and physical weaknesses, but mental weaknesses as well. A Sport psychologist can provide coaches with new strategies to communicate with teams and athletes, sometimes diffusing difficult or tense situations.
More importantly, sport psychologists are also trained to deal with significant mental health issues such as #eatingdisorders, #depression and #anxiety. Athletes often experience additional life stressors and the added pressure can very often be overwhelming, resulting in the development of depression, anxiety disorders, or even eating disorders. Sport psychologists are not only trained to deal with sports related issues but mental health issues that may even be life threatening.
Athletes reaching retirement are often faced with a significant change in lifestyle that can be difficult to accept. In fact, retiring from a sport can sometimes be as traumatic for an athlete as losing a loved one. Sport psychologists can help guide athletes through the emotions that come up during retirement from sport.
If you are an athlete in need of a sport psychologist, Human Integrated Performance has the resources to help you maximize your #mentalgame.