I often get asked by people if the principles behind sport psychology and working with athletes can also apply to other areas, such as life or business. The answer is always yes! Sport psychology is the study of human performance, and the principles that are applied when working with athletes are easily transferred to other areas, as they stay the same, just the context differs. Teaching someone how to become better at focusing or increase their confidence is based off of who they are and the context they need to apply it too, therefore usually only a small adjustment needs to be made in different contexts once you understand the person and their tendencies.
For example, if you take a student athlete who is very analytical in nature. Usually they will have an issue of over thinking and over complicating things, this won’t change given the context, but the degree to which it impacts them and their performance might, and thus small shifts in strategies are made. If you take this athlete and place them in an athletic situation, the over thinking and over complicating things will be more apparent then in an academic situation, simply because athletics does provide the time to really think and you can see the results pretty instantly when an athlete has over thought something. Where as in the academic setting, over thinking is not as apparent as time allows for it, but it can still impact the performance of the individual as too much thinking in school can also cause problems.
In this situation our approach is always to help the individual to simplify things, but creating strategies in the different contexts to help them lessen the chance of them over thinking and over complicating an issue that will impede their ability to perform at a high level. This theory also applies to pressure and stress. Pressure and stress are due to the perspective one brings to a situation, the way it impacts them won’t change given the contexts and they will break down in the same manner, but again the degree might change, because of the contexts. The individual who over thinks will tend to over think things more under pressure, as was discussed earlier in sports this is more problematic than in academics, but because the individual reacts the same way regardless of the context of the pressure the strategies created can be transferred to both contexts.