Sports psychology is the study of exactly how psychology affects sports, athletic performance, exercise as well as physical activity. Some sports psychologists work in conjunction with professional athletes and coaches in order to improve performance as well as increase motivation. Other professionals utilise exercise and sports in order to enhance people’s lives and well-being throughout the whole lifespan.
Sports psychology is ultimately an interdisciplinary science. Besides psychology, it is also involved with disciplines such as biomechanics, physiology, and kinesiology. A sport psychologist is working from the viewpoint that success in sports relies on both the body as well as the mind. To add one other key point, sports psychologists are often found working with top athletes—Olympians and professionals. However, sports psychologists can be found at work with athletes at all levels as well as with coaches and sports administrators.
What does a sports psychologist do?
Professional sports psychologists frequently assist with athletes coping with the extreme pressure that comes from competition and overcoming problems with focus and motivation. They also work with athletes to enhance performance and recuperate from injuries.
Based on this definition, sports psychologists can engage in various activities, mainly focused on working to comprehend what inspires athletes and just how athletes can enhance their performance. Such activities can range from counselling athletes who could have anxiety issues that hamper their performance to teaching athletes (individually or in groups) about methods of mental conditioning (e.g., visualisation, concentration, and relaxation) to assisting athletes deal with injuries.
To guarantee success, sports psychologists should be confident communicators with the ability to enhance an athlete’s performance through attention control training and mind awareness techniques. Top candidates will have incredible listening skills with expertise in using breathing, relaxation and/or cognitive techniques to instil focus and mental intensity that is necessary for athletes to increase their performance levels.
What is the importance of sports psychology?
If an athlete is interested in getting the most of their athletic endeavours, they can no longer treat their performance as a mixture of isolated factors which come together in some unexplained and integrated way on the day of the competition.
A long-distance athlete would never think of entering a long-distance race without spending time physically preparing his or her body to meet the conditioning requirements of a race. However, most athletes probably enter a race without defining what psychological skills he or she would need to help get the best physical performance. Virtually no one prepares and practises the necessary mental conditions.
As the science of sports performance develops, it is becoming increasingly important to integrate the mental and physical aspects of performance. Customarily, no attention has been given to the cognitive aspects of performance. Sports coaches – as well as athletes – have devoted most of their attention to the physical components of performance.
If you’re interested in learning about how psychology can positively contribute to an athlete’s performance then you need to do our Sports Psychology Course. Follow this link for more information.