Sport Psychology

The basic goal of sport psychology is teaching individuals the mental concepts and skills they need to perform consistently in both training and competition. Mastering these principles and practices can help athletes adhere to rigorous exercise/training programs and aid in achieving full potential. Sport psychology also seeks to improve youth athletics by working with coaches, parents and children to help them understand the psychological aspects of a sport or activity.

Sport Psychology can help an adolescent or adult athlete to:

  • Improve performance
  • Sustain motivation
  • Overcome the pressure of competition
  • Enhance the satisfaction of participation
  • Provide psychological assistance with injury rehabilitation

Various factors can negatively impact an athlete’s performance:

  • Fear of failure
  • Adjusting to playing at a higher level
  • Personality conflicts within the team
  • Challenges with coaches

Sport Psychology can help athletes achieve their objectives through:

  • Goal setting
  • Self-talk
  • Concentration
  • Motivation
  • Relaxation
  • Imagery
  • Team Building
  • Communication
  • Time Management

A combination of individual and group consulting or counseling may be appropriate, depending on the needs of the individual and the style of the professional.

Sport Psychology and Young Athletes

The youth sport world has changed in recent decades.  Children have begun to participate in more and more competitive sports at younger and younger ages. Parents usually want children to excel in their sport(s) of choice, yet wonder about the distinction between encouragement and pressure. Some child athletes routinely deal with extreme competition while their parents fantasize about potential college scholarships or major league drafts.

Sport psychology can provide valuable guidance around these specialized issues. It can help parents gain perspective on appropriate means of supporting their children in sports. It can help them learn to minimize distractions and pressures that may actually be hindering their child’s performance and/or enjoyment. In addition to educating parents, sport psychology can also assist coaches with motivating individual players and facilitating healthy relationships among team members.  

Young children can also receive help from a sport psychologist, as in the case of severe performance anxiety involving athletics.  In addition, targeting sports-related concerns first may open the door to beginning a therapeutic relationship/process around other issues with children who may otherwise be resistant to therapy.

The information in the article above was drawn from the following sources:

Disclaimer: Material on the William James INTERFACE Referral Service website is intended as general information. It is not a recommendation for treatment, nor should it be considered medical or mental health advice. The William James INTERFACE Referral Service urges families to discuss all information and questions related to medical or mental health care with a health care professional.