Sport psychology, or more broadly performance psychology, is the science and art of getting the best out of human performance through mastering the mind.
To maximize human performance a sport psychologist aims to improve several key areas such as:
- Personal wellbeing and mental health
- Sport culture
- Coaching and leadership
- Emotion regulation
- Planning and tracking goal getting
- Enjoyment and finding the zone
This type of psychology can apply to any sport, both individual and team, and to any age or sporting level.
Some may believe sport psychologists only service the mentally ill, or athletes with significant emotional issues, but that is not the case. A sport psychologist can be utilised to upskill and improve mental toughness and grow resilience to pressure – even in the general population.
In fact, the skills developed in sport psychology are very similar to the skills developed in a life coaching context or a personal development program, and can be easily transferred to improve life performance in many areas. Sport psychologists often work with corporate and executive clients who struggle with aspects of work performance, and they work with actors and musicians with stage fright or confidence issues.
What makes sport psychology different and more credible than life coaching in general, is that it draws on cognitive behavioral science and a wealth of therapeutic knowledge from the field of psychology. The techniques are tried and tested with athletes and within the lab.
A sport psychologist can be very valuable when athletes, sports people or performers experience emotional, physical or social setbacks in their sporting or personal life. Big transitions, both good and bad, can lead to increased stress and self-doubt.
While you might see a sports podiatrist about enhancing your performance through a focus on your biomechanics and the proper care and treatment of your feet, or a sports nutritionist to make sure your diet provides optimum benefits for your particular field of endeavour, a sport psychologist can assist with improving your performance mindset and injury recovery. They may also be able to help you to reconnect you with the enjoyment of sport if the passion has waned, or provide guidance and support around ending one’s career in sport.
People often find it is hard to discuss their sport or exercise challenges with friends and family. A sport psychologist is a trained professional in helping you offload emotional or mental baggage and begin to work through difficult times.
A typical visit to a sport psychologist involves an initial stage of getting to know you, and learning about your life and challenges. Then the sport psychologist will advise you on what areas they think they can help and may provide you with ideas to learn about, skills to develop and new ways to improve your training and practice so as to build a positive attitude. They can help you work through issues from the past, and to let go of things you have not spoken about or processed.
If you are feeling stuck, and cannot find the silver lining or the passion and confidence you once had, a sport psychologist may be able to help you recover your drive for performance excellence.
Are you looking for a sport psychologist in Brisbane? Contact Vision Psychology Wishart on (07) 3088 5422, or M1 Psychology Loganholme on (07) 3067 9129 today!