An athlete may stand alone when collecting the prize but it takes a team of people to get them ready for the win – physically and mentally. A sports psychologist forms part of the team that helps amateur and professional athletes to perform at their best. When you are at the top of your game, and you want to stay that way, your mind – not just your body – needs to be incredibly strong. This is where the sports psychologist comes in.
Today’s sports psychologists
The modern sports psychologist works with athletes at all levels to improve their performance, help them manage stress and anxiety as well as any challenges associated with injuries or challenges. Most importantly, they encourage and motivate athletes to enjoy what they do.
A sports psychologist also goes beyond what a coach does in that they get to an athlete’s underlying core beliefs. They mainly use relaxation techniques, visualisation and self-talk to create healthy self-esteem in athletes. This ensures they reach the level of excellence they strive for.
There are a number of tips that these professionals give their athletes to help them with their performance. You can use these too in order to improve your performance on the sports field and in the gym. For example:
- When you’re working out, use positive mental imagery to keep you focused on achieving and surpassing your fitness goals.
- Always engage in positive self-talk. This will help you get to go that extra mile when all you want to do is give up.
- Break your training goals down. Don’t think about the 100km race that is in in front of you. Focus on getting to the next lamppost. Once you’ve gotten there, focus on reaching the finish line.
Some of the benefits of using a sports psychologist include:
- Dealing with negativity such as stress, anxiety, and pressure
- Dealing with frustration and depression after injuries
- Increased motivation and focus
- Increased confidence
- Better control of temper and outbursts
- Better communication with teammates
- Enhanced performance and overall quality of life
Still sceptical about what sports psychology can do for you? Have a look at these famous athletes who benefitted from using sports psychologists.
David James, a former English soccer player, said, “Of course a sports psychologist can help – it’s certainly helped me. People think you must be crackers if you’ve got a psychologist, but psychology is part of the building bricks to make a top athlete.”
Andy Murray went on to become the ATP world number 1 after he found the right sports psychologist. People have commented on his improved emotional control, increased positivity and less on-court meltdowns.
Seeing a sports psychologist should not be seen as the world looking at you and thinking that you’re not able to copy with your chosen sport. Look at it as someone who is helping you prepare mentally for the game just as a sports coach helps you to improve your technique on the sporting field.
Sports psychology is an interesting field that is always evolving. If you are interested in becoming a sports psychologist, you need to choose a course that is accredited and is at the forefront of the field.
Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Sports Psychology Course is a 29-credit course that is fully accredited with the:
- Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality, and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) in addition to
- South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) for unit standards: 1446, 14458 and 254236.
The backing of these heavy-weight bodies means that this course meets the highest industry standards and will allow you to become the best sports psychologist you can be. Contact a representative from the Trifocus Fitness Academy today if you want to help athletes improve their performance and excel in their sport.