Some people have attached a stigma to sports psychologists. They label athletes who use them as mentally weak, not having what it takes to make it on their own. Making use of the services of a sports psychologist is definitely not a sign of weakness.
Succeeding in a chosen sport indeed requires:
- A strong, fit and healthy body,
- Prowess on the field, and
- A strong mind that will push an athlete even when their bodies give up.
The first two are ably handled by the personal trainer and sports coach. However, the last one is something that only a sports psychologist can handle.
Still not convinced of the value of a psychologist in the sporting arena?
Reasons why athletes need a sports psychologist
Some of the reasons why athletes need sports psychologists are:
To identify and operate in their ‘sweet spot’ more often
Through developing foundational mental skills, sports psychologists help athletes create an environment where it’s easy to step into their ‘sweet spot’ or the ‘zone’, as many athletes call it. In this mental space, the athlete is able to block out all distractions and to ensure that he is focused on winning.
To strategise and plan
Although coaches mostly help athletes with their strategies and game plans, sports psychologists can help athletes with the mental strategies and plans in terms of how the athlete will ensure that they can meet the plans developed with the sports coach.
To develop confidence
Whether it is after an injury or particularly bad loss, all athletes struggle with their confidence levels at some point. Sports psychologists can help reduce doubt during a competition, increase focus and deal with fears.
To find the right motivators
Just as in life, certain things motivate us better, and for longer, than others. Sports psychologists help find athletes the optimal level of motivation as well as specific motivators to push them further.
To help athletes cope with the pressure of competition
Sometimes, all you need is someone who will believe in you and give you the tools to deal with pressure, stress and anxiety. And that’s exactly why sports psychologists are so important. Not only do they help athletes deal with pressure, they help them find enjoyment in their sport once again.
As can be seen from the above, sports psychology is a field that is always evolving and consists of different parts.
The syllabus of Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Sports Psychology Course takes this into account. And, as such, we teach students a wide variety of aspects so that they are well poised to take up a career as a sports psychologist.
Course modules include:
- How to train your athlete mentally to cope with the rigours of sport. As you read in this article, mental skills are required for successful sports performance.
- What is the sports coach’s role in mental skills training?
- What is the role of a sports psychologist?
- How must you work with groups, teams and individuals in a sporting environment?
- How does one design mental skill programmes?
- How would you deal with an athlete who sustains a sports injury?
- How would a sports psychologist deal with discrimination in sports?
- How to get sports people to develop personal motivation.
- What are the benefits of recreation and leisure activities