What Can Sports Psychologists Do for Athletes?

sports psychologistsAthletes seek out the assistance of sports psychologists for a multitude of reasons. Whether they’re having a performance issue that they want to address or there’s a general desire for improvement, sports psychology can be a solution for many athletes. Here’s a quick overview of what sports psychologists can do for athletes.
Enhance Performance
Enhancing performance is one of the most common reasons athletes will come to discuss different types of sports psychology. And one of the first skills they typically work on is mental imagery. This practice consists of five main categories: cognitive-specific, cognitive-general, motivational-specific, motivational-general mastery, and motivational-general arousal. Depending on the athlete’s specific goal, their sessions could fall into any one of these categories.
Recover from Injuries
Injuries may take a visible physical toll on an athlete, but there’s often a hidden psychological impact, as well. It’s the psychological harm that sports psychologists are tasked with healing. Things such as tolerating pain, adjusting to new limitations, and other performance issues will need to be addressed if an athlete wants to reach their highest potential after an injury.
Cope Under Pressure
Athletes are often under extraordinary amounts of pressure while they’re competing. Solo athletes in particular often struggle when coping with pressure. Rather than having a team to rely on, these athletes take 100% of the brunt of failure and the responsibility of success. Learning how to cope with this kind of pressure in a healthy, productive manner can not only improve performance, it can improve an athlete’s quality of life.
Enhance Motivation
Basic psychology has proven that intrinsic motivation is more powerful than extrinsic motivation. In short, true motivation comes from within. Unfortunately, mustering this kind of motivation takes practice. But help from a skilled professional or clinical psychologist can unlock an athlete’s best potential and inner motivation. Without this kind of assistance, many athletes may lose interest and motivation to perfect their performance.
Seeing a psychologist for sports is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s something that can help improve athletes’ performance beyond what they ever thought they could accomplish. Never underestimate the power of mental training!

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