Why You Should Seek Out A Sports Psychologist
Updated January 03, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Dawn Brown
Being an athlete is no simple task. A good athlete, regardless of whether or not they are amateur or in the big leagues, needs to be at peak performance if they want to succeed in their career. One person who can help you maintain your performance is a sports psychologist. In this post, we will discuss what a sports psychologist does and how they can benefit athletes.
Sports Psychologists Services
The best way to talk about sports psychologists is to talk about all the services they provide. A sports psychologist provides services related to sports, and any issues you may have outside the game. Here are some common issues.
One issue many athletes face is burnout. If an athlete is constantly participating in sports, the activity can grow tiring or stale. This can cause their performance and interest to lessen, hurting their career as an athlete.
To prevent burnout, adequate rest and mixing up their performance is needed. A sports psychologist helps the player by spotting early signs of burnout and preventing them or being able to reinvigorate the players if burnout does strike.
Sometimes, a player is injured. All it takes is one slip-up for a broken bone to happen. The player may feel discouraged because of their injury and may be frustrated that they have to sit it out as they heal. A psychologist helps to monitor the athlete's health to find symptoms that may lead to injury down the road. If an athlete is injured, a psychologist can help keep their spirits up, teach them how they can recover faster, and allow them to train to return in a way that's safe for them.
Miscommunications happen all the time. In the office, in relationships, and especially in sports. Most sports require communication and teamwork, and often, an athlete thinks they've communicated to their teammates properly. However, it turns out there was a miscommunication, and this can cost the team the game. There will be much frustration and finger-pointing as a result. A sports psychologist helps to spot any miscommunications and teaches everyone how to communicate in the most effective manner possible. Often, we assume the person knows what we want, and this can lead to the team's downfall.
Everyone uses their energy in different ways, and in a sports game, this is important. Some players use too much energy in the beginning, making them fail in the end. Others do not use enough energy. It's important to find the balance, where you're using a healthy amount of energy until it's made or break. Then, you can use more energy. Regulating your energy is hard work, and a psychologist can measure your energy levels and teach you how they can be regulated.
Mindfulness is when you are completely aware of the present and the sights and sounds around you. This technique is great for many things. Being more self-aware, not letting worries get you down, find out any changes in your body. There are quite a few reasons to be mindful. In sports, mindfulness is a good thing to have. Every sound and sight needs to be observed to win. You need to be focused on what's going on around you and not be preoccupied with something else. A psychologist can teach you how to be as mindful as possible.
The best players are the ones who have confidence, even when they lose. To be the best athlete, you have to accept failure at times. Even the best players lose a game, miss the shot, or let their team down. Athletes who fail to let those losses get to them, while confident athletes use their losses as a way to learn. A confident player is hard to come by, and a psychologist will try to make you as confident as possible. Also, there is such a thing as being too confident. Overly cocky players may end up eating their words.
One reason why teams fail is due to conflict. Conflict with your coaches, conflict with other players, and even conflicts outside your athletic career can lead to your team's failure. A sports psychologist is here to listen to all the grievances you and your teammates may have because of conflict and then help to find any solutions that can please everyone. However, sometimes conflict resolution may favor one side, and the psychologist can help the losing side cope and learn to play fair.
In sports, it's common to choke. This is when a player messes up during an important part of the game. For example, a player does great in the beginning and then slips up during the second half. Or a player needs to make the winning shot and then misses the last second. When everything is relying on you, choking can make everyone feel disappointed. Your mind can make you slip up during a desperate time. A psychologist can figure out why you choke and how you can prevent yourself from doing it again.
Sometimes, you wake up on the wrong side of the bed or have other emotions going on. You may feel depressed during game time, or in another bad mood. The problem is that you need to put your emotions to the side to succeed in the game. A psychologist can teach you how to regulate your emotions. If you're angry, you can learn how to use that anger to your advantage. If you're depressed, you can learn how you can overcome that slump and put on your best game.
This is a bit similar to mindfulness, but it requires your brain to put all of its intention on one object. For example, if you're a baseball player, you need to focus on the ball as it's being pitched. One distraction and you get a strike, a foul ball, or you don't hit the ball well. A psychologist can teach you how to focus and fix any issues you may have with focusing.
Sometimes, you lead the team. When you're a team leader, you need to learn leadership skills. You need to learn how to be assertive, but not overbearing. You need to make the rules and make sure your team sticks to it. It can be hard to lead, but a psychologist can help you find flaws in your leadership skills and then fix them.
When you transition to another team, it can be difficult at first. New teammates, new coaches, and a new wardrobe. How they play may be different than what you're used to. You may feel a longing for your old team, but you can't go back. A psychologist is here to make the transition as smooth as possible. Through coaching, you can learn to make friends with your new teammates while not letting the memories of your old team ruin your experience.
Sometimes, a sports psychologist will invite the entire team in for some group therapy. Building a relationship with other teammates is important. You all have to work together, so it's good that you're comfortable together. If there are any issues and grievances, a psychologist can help squash any problems before they affect the game. The psychologist will use icebreakers and other social techniques for the teammates to bond and have a good time with each other. If the team isn't bonded, there can be issues. Not every teammate is going to be best friends, but they all need to be in good standing with each other to succeed.
A sports psychologist will check your performance, along with the performance of other teammates. This maintenance test is important if the team wants to succeed. Performance checks can help the team figure out whether or not there are any issues and prevent them before they can ruin the performance. Performance checks may require a mental and physical examination and a review.
Your Personal Life
issues, your relationships at home, and other problems. Sometimes, your troubles can bleed into the game. If you're a star athlete, your personal life will probably be watched, and any mess-up can affect your reputation. A sports psychologist is not only there to improve your performance in the field, but at home as well.
When should you seek out a sports psychologist? You'll want to talk to one all throughout your athletic career. Sports is complicated, and there are many issues you want to discuss and improve upon if you want to succeed. Having a sports psychologist handy to talk about any grievances you may have is important.
If you're considering a career in sports, make sure every aspect of your life is up to snuff. Your personal and professional life needs to be great for your performance to be the best it can be.