What Is Sports Psychology?
Athletes have incredible physical talents. Think of Michael Jordan in his basketball heyday or present day Tiger Woods. How do athletes such as these reach such phenomenal levels? It takes more than just physical ability. Professional athletes, Olympic athletes and even college and high school athletes who are highly competitive turn to sports psychologists to up their games.
A sport psychologist gives an athlete the mental skills and exercises that lead to an outstanding performance. What coaches give athletes physically, sports psychologists give athletes mentally. In fact, Tiger Woods has famously discussed using visualization exercises to help with his golf game. In doing so, he visualizes the outcome of his 18-hole game to train his mind to play in such a manner. Many other athletes use these visualization techniques as well. A sports psychologist can help athletes with these techniques.
Sport psychology is a field where students study regular normal and abnormal psychology. They then delve into the physiological and motor aspects of sports behavior. Students receive a breadth of training in these areas: psychology, individual and group skills, normal and abnormal behavior, sports sciences, diversity and professional identity. When students graduate, they should be certified to consult athletes within all aspects of the athlete's professional life.
A sports psychologist helps athletes alleviate stress and pressure, boost confidence and provide mind skills and techniques to help performance and help them work seamlessly with their teammates. Many athletes go to sports psychologists when they feel they are not performing well due to mental blockages, stress or some type of fear. Sports psychologists provide them with the tools to conquer these pressures and improve their game. Coaches also use sports psychologists to help them with pressure and improve their mental skills for competition.