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What is Sport Psychology?


Hello all, today we are going to discuss my subjective opinion on what sport psychology is and why I find it useful. In short, sport psychology looks at how the mind can influence exercise and performance. It can also be used to boost people's lives and well-being throughout other aspects of day-to-day life. To me, sport psychology is that extra 1%. What do I mean by that...? To simplify my view, pretty much every person is trying to become a better version of themselves in some way. By learning the techniques used in sport psychology, you can gain that extra 1% over your competition; whether the competition is yourself or an opponent.

To dive deeper, all athletes know that sometimes their minds can interfere with their performances. This is ever present in singleton sports, such as, golf, racing and athletics. When the pressure is solely on you, do you have the ability to clear your mind and be autonomous with your actions...? You're at the peak of your game, but can something creep in at the last minute? This is where training your mind can give you the extra 1%. You know that your body is physically prepared to take on anything as you train it every day with diet, cardio, strength, mobility and flexibility; but are you including mental preparation in your routine? Or are you overcoming an injury and have flashbacks of getting injured, what went wrong? Will it happen again? This is where that extra 1% will help you to analyze, learn, overcome and move forward without drawbacks on your performance. Because mental preparation is so important to all of us, adding the extra 1% does not just fall under sports and exercise, it applies in the business world as coping mechanisms for work load, stress and performance in the workplace. This is why it is so important to take the time for yourself and develop the skills necessary to push yourself further and harder to become a better version of yourself.

So how does sport psychology help you? It applies a broad range of skills from observations, questionnaires, performance profiling and interviews to apply specific techniques to help improve your performance. The majority of these techniques are based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which in short works on: self-talk, relaxation, imagery and goal setting. CBT is also specific to an individual and the results are subjective to their demeanour. (Remember, this is a small sample of applied techniques that help to increase performance - there are more, I am just trying to keep this short and sweet). These techniques are unique in the sense that they allow the application of sport psychology to occur without the need of a clinical degree (although if you find a sport psychologist that applies their work in the field with a clinical psychology degree; know they will have a deeper understanding of your emotional behaviors and be able to deal with clinical issues without the need for referral). When you take the clinical issues out of the equation the sport psychologist can solely focus on your behaviors that are impacting your performance and work with you to move forward.

In summary, sport psychology is a very specific, hands-on applied version of counseling. We come to you and observe your behaviors and your environment. We interview your peers, coaching staff and we work with organizations to improve your performance to the highest standards. To hire a sport psychologist you are gaining access to a field agent, someone who is devoted to sport, exercise and improving performance and wellness with a dedication to be successful in their duties - at least this is my opinion, and these are the standards I hold myself too. Feel free to contact me regarding anymore information about sport psychology at peaksportpsychology@gmail.com

Have a great weekend,

Sam