sports inside the head

In short, the duty of a sports psychologist is to build an athlete’s mental fitness, while trainers and coaches concentrate on the physical aspect of helping them to realise their full potential.

It can mean dealing with any anxiety or loss of focus that the athlete may experience due to the pressure that accompanies competitive sport, or simply keeping them motivated to follow the necessary exercise programme. The field of sports psychology is wide and varied, but always requires total dedication to an individual’s or a team’s ultimate success.

Few if any top athletes have not included a sports psychologist in their coaching team, and this is because they recognise the role that mental strength and agility plays in enhancing their overall performance. However, the role of a sports psychologist is not limited to motivating an athlete in preparation for competition. It also involves assisting those that have suffered an injury, or have been cut from a team to rebuild their confidence and to remain dedicated to personal improvement.Certified sports psychologists play a vital role in assisting both amateur and professional athletes to cope with the pressures experienced at all levels of competitive sport. It includes teaching them to use visualisation and relaxation techniques to block out negative influences, or to cope with a painful injury. It also includes helping them to deal with the pressure that comes from the high expectations of others regarding their ability to perform.

Having a particular set of sporting skills can be seen as less of a gift when others expect these to be exhibited constantly, and much of the initial joy of being recognised as talented can be lost. Such pressure can even lead to an athlete’s early retirement from a sport that they love, and it is up to a sports psychologist to prevent this from happening. It is an awesome responsibility, but it also offers awesome rewards when victory is achieved.