What is Sport Psychology?
Sport psychology is concerned with understanding the “mental game”, whether that game is athletic or otherwise. It is about human performance and building the necessary mental skills and techniques necessary to perform consistently and effectively regardless of the situation. Sport psychology is a discipline that investigates and seeks to understand the factors that are involved in reaching and consistently maintaining optimal performance – to strive to achieve one’s best.
How can Sport Psychology help me?
To help with understanding the role sport psychology plays, it can be helpful to ask yourself this question: “Are you performing at your very best and is there no room for improvement?” No one will ever answer this question affirmatively, most people will say there is a gap between how they are performing and how they are capable of performing. Sport psychology aims to create knowledge that will help close the gap between people’s current level of performance and what they are capable of doing.
Why is Sport Psychology and Mental Training Important?
The world of athletics has changed over the years, to the point where now to reach your full potential, not only in a game but also in your sports performance training, it is necessary to go beyond having the best equipment, coaching, skills or nutrition. At the upper levels of sports performance training, in situations where competing individuals and teams have all the technical skills and tactical knowledge required to be successful, psychological factors become the most important determinants of outcome. In order to perform at your best you need the ability to control emotions, to communicate effectively and to perform under pressure, all of which are accomplished through mental skills training.
Every athlete is looking for an edge, but most spend their time on the physical skills. To move beyond the frustrations, anger, anxiety, and low self confidence that at times accompany your journey to the top of your sport it is necessary to turn within and understand your own mind.
Check out this video for a little more on the importance of sport psychology.
“Sports is 90% mental; the other half is physical.” Yogi Berra.
How will you help me develop my mental game?
Our approach starts by understanding where the athlete wants to end up. What are their goals and dreams? How do they want to perform during competitions and sports performance training? Then investigating what they are doing on a day to day, week to week and month to month basis to get there. Most people have a long term goal, but don’t have the smaller more manageable goals in place that line up with the end goal.
Next, we need to discover the strengths and limitations of the athlete, and how these factors impact them the most under pressure. This involves having the athlete take an assessment, we like to use The Test of Attentional and Interpersonal Style Inventory (TAIS), which is the most sophisticated performance enhancement assessment of its kind. Understanding how people behave and experience themselves under pressure or stress is important because the pressure can cause significant changes in their normal way of being.
The ability to perform up to potential is often altered and this can have drastic effects on performance. Pressure situations can also reveal the barriers for people to “get into the zone”.
- Are you going to over think the situation?
- Will you miss important information because you were too focused and had tunnel vision?
- Do you have the ability to see the big picture and all the information in front of you?
All of this impacts focus and the ability to make effective decisions, and to be in the state of flow.
Next, there is a period of education and skill development, followed by on-going follow-up and adjustments. This would be similar to what an athlete will experience in their sports performance training, to train their body, only this is for the mind. The specifics of the actual mental skills training will vary from player to player, with the vast majority of interaction and consultation done via telephone/in office, during practice or at athletic venues.
Trusting yourself and your skills in progressively higher stakes and being able to harness the activity of your own mind so that you can be more present, focus effectively, stay adaptable, more consistent, more confident and perform up to your potential under pressure.
What Sport Psychology Methods do you use?
There are an array of tools used while working with clients but some of the most frequent are:
- Visualization – including sports hypnosis
- Increasing focus and concentration skills
- Self Talk
- Arousal Control
- Goal Setting
- Pre-performance routines
Do you work with Teams or Individuals?
Our mental skills training program is available for individuals, teams, parents and scouting purposes. Each program is unique to the needs and goals of the client.
We work with clients in a variety of ways:
- One-on-One sessions in person
- Phone sessions
- Skype/Virtual Meeting sessions
- Team sessions
Give us a call to discuss how we can help you – 619-446-6846