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10 reasons to put a sports psychologist in your life

10 reasons to put a sports psychologist in your life

September 18, 2023

Not everything is divanes and analysis of statistical data in the world of psychology. Sports psychologists have been able to gain ground to consolidate a branch of the discipline that is causing talk.

The figure of the sports psychologist

Although the role of sports psychologist is unknown by many people, few doubt the importance of psychological factors in sports performance. More and more are the teams and athletes who hire the services of the sports psychologist aware of the benefits it brings in different aspects of competition, training or interpersonal relationships .

The specialized knowledge of human behavior that Psychology provides and its specific methodology to evaluate, study, understand and modify can be very useful for both athletes and coaches.

The contribution of the sports psychologist

The contribution of the sports psychologist is not limited to the use of standardized questionnaires (which in many cases are ineffective and, at times, harmful) and training for athletes to master relaxation or imagination techniques, but rather his contribution is essential in sports performance , as it is, for example, the contribution of the physical trainer in the facet of physical conditioning.

In other words, the psychological functioning of athletes is just as important for athletes as the physical, technical and tactical / strategic functioning . In addition, regarding the latter, psychological functioning can influence positively or negatively in its operation, so it is very important to control the mental aspect in the right direction. Therefore, it is necessary that the psychological preparation is integrated into the overall preparation of the athlete, as a further element, which will interact correctly with the physical, technical and tactical / strategic plots.

Athletes can benefit from the work of the sports psychologist, and each sports specialty will require some specific psychological skills , that will allow the athlete to compete more efficiently. For example, a footballer who has a correct control of his attention, it is possible that he makes better decisions and finishes the moves in a more productive way. On the other hand, a marathon runner who controls his thoughts and feelings of fatigue, will be able to continue performing at an optimum level during critical moments of the race.

The work of the sports psychologist: benefits in athletes and coaches

In addition to these examples, the work of the sports psychologist will focus on the manipulation of psychological variables that are also relevant in the sport context, such as motivation, psychosocial stress, self-confidence, self-esteem, moods, level of activation, attention, decision making, aggressiveness, perseverance or persistence, interpersonal relationships and team cohesion, taking into account the environmental and personal conditions that affect these variables and the strategies that can control them in the direction adequate

But the sports psychologist will not only act directly on the athlete, but will work with the coach so that it also improves both individually and for the benefit of the athlete or team he trains. The role of the sports psychologist in this regard, will influence certain aspects, such as the sports planning , the adherence to the training of the athletes, the leadership skills, the improvement of the communication, or the evaluation of their work as trainer.

10 reasons to hire a sports psychologist

The benefits of having a psychologist are many as we have already seen. Here are the 10 reasons why a sports psychologist will positively influence athletic performance:

1. Ideal mental state

It is evident that it is necessary to have a great physical preparation or to eat well to perform at the maximum, but it is also necessary be well prepared mentally for the moment of competition . In sports psychology the ideal state is known to reach the maximum level of each one as the "Optimal Level of Functioning".

2. The reinforcement

Reinforce the players at opportune moments is really important to improve your self-esteem , and is one of the basic principles of learning psychological, technical or tactical skills.

3. The objectives

The sports psychologist will help both the player and the coach to benefit from proper planning. The realistic objectives, and the smart steps to get them , can reinforce the level of self-confidence of the players, keep their motivation high and avoid self-esteem problems.

We leave here a specific article on the influence of sports psychologist in drawing effective objectives:

"The importance of setting goals in Sports Psychology"

4. Group cohesion

The knowledge of the psychologist in aspects of group psychology, can play in favor of the team working as a whole . A united team is much more beneficial for good sports performance than a team with internal problems.

5. Self-instructions

Self-instructions can be used in sport to acquire new skills, so that motivation increases, to eliminate negative habits, for the initiation of action or for the maintenance of effort in extreme situations or when the focus of attention has to be maintained for a while. dragged on. In addition, positive self-instructions serve to boost self-esteem, motivation, attention, performance and help endure fatigue better by causing the subject to focus more on the task.

6. Training in Imagination

In our article "Mental Training through Imagination: Sports Psychology" we talked about the benefits of this type of training in athletes. It is useful, among other reasons, to reduce anxiety or to acquire new skills.

7. Stress control

Although we need a certain level of stress in the competition, stress can be a negative factor for performance. The sports psychologist can improve stress control of the athlete , for example, contributing to make the lifestyle of this one as stress-free as possible, and making it easier for you to make all your daily obligations compatible. In addition, it can also reduce the "pressure" of the athlete, influencing their performance expectations and focusing their attention on achievable objectives.

8. The attention

The attentional techniques are very useful for good performance during sports practice. Some of the benefits are: improvement of emotional control, an improvement in concentration, a better learning of skills, more ability to withstand the difficult moments of competition, and so on.

9. Productive emotions

There are emotions that facilitate performance: the emotional state of the athlete directly determines their performance in the competition. Generating facilitating emotions is a key element in the good sporting performance of each person. In addition, the sports psychologist can help athletes to use negative emotions such as anger, fear or disappointment, to their benefit.

10. Support in the recovery of injuries

Injuring yourself is one of the hardest moments in the life of an athlete. Psychological support can be useful to accept an injury and overcome bad times . The psychologist can provide tools to gradually return to training and maintain motivation during rehabilitation.

Sport psychology - inside the mind of champion athletes: Martin Hagger at TEDxPerth (September 2023).

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