Sport Psychology

Sport psychology is a form of mental training often used to enhance a student-athlete’s athletic experience. In the most basic sense, it is the task of applying psychological principles in order to optimize sport performance. Student-athletes are taught mental skills to utilize in improving performance outcomes. Sport psychology can also be helpful in determining possible factors that are preventing a student-athlete from performing at his/her desired level. These services can occur with individuals, small groups, or entire teams.

Traditionally, most sports have embraced a physical emphasis on preparation. Although physical training is certainly required to achieve athletic success, mental preparation/consideration can also be a vital component of athletes/teams fulfilling their goals. Sport psychology services can take on many different forms: individual sessions in an office, short conversation at practice, practice/competition observation, meeting with entire team, etc. These services are usually more instructional and task-oriented in nature, but can vary based upon the individual.

Sport psychology services can include the following areas:

Burnout

Communication problems (e.g. coach, teammate, etc.)

Competition anxiety

Composure

Confidence issues

Eating behaviors

Focus

Goal setting

Injury (e.g. coping, pre-mature end of career)

Leadership

Mental Toughness

Motivation toward sport

Parental pressures

Performance slumps

Performing under pressure

Role acceptance/changes

Teambuilding (see below)

Team presentations (see below)

Teambuilding Programs

Pre-season or season-long teambuilding programs are developed to best meet the needs of specific teams. These programs can enhance team cohesion by improving communication, increasing team unity, clarifying team goals and roles, furthering knowledge about teammates, and improving leadership skills. An initial consultation with the coaching staff aids in ensuring that the program properly fits and addresses each team’s specific vision and goals.

Team Presentations

Team presentations are given on various topics to provide an overview/introduction of basic sport psychology concepts/principles. The content of these presentations is adapted to meet the needs of specific teams. Consultation with the coaching staff is encouraged in order to determine desired material. Possible presentation topics include many of the areas listed above (e.g. confidence, composure, mental toughness, motivation, etc.).

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