This question comes up alot in our practice, we also get what does a sport psychologist even do? How can sport psychology help me? So let's break it down a little bit and share some answers to those questions.
Sport is predominantly seen as a physical activity i.e. we use our body to complete a task. Within each sport there are generally different physical requirements. For example, in boxing individuals have to be a certain weight to compete in certain divisions. In soccer, individuals need to be quite physically fit and quick with their feet. Each sport and even different positions in each sport require different physical attributes to compete and perform at a high level. What often goes unnoticed is the mental skills needed to help the body perform all of the tasks needed within sport.
Let's look at soccer more closely. During a game an individual could physically participate in running, kicking, dribbling, tackling, and shooting for goal. Mentally the same individual could be trying to make quick decisions, focus, recover from mistakes, regulate their emotions, and remember feedback or plays. Then on a broader level there are also the team dynamics to consider. Playing a sport like soccer requires the ability to communicate, listen, respond, resolve conflict, leadership, trust, and the ability to work as a team. We haven't even talked about the mental skills required when we go to a penalty shoot out like managing pressure, concentration, self-talk, and imagery. Within each sport there are different physical and mental skills required. Over time, we are realising the importance of mental skills and ways of improving them to then improve performance outcomes.
Sport psychologists help athletes develop their mental skills to improve performances. Just like practicing any physical skill for sport, sport psychologists look at ways of practicing mental skills for individuals and teams. Mental skills needed for your sport can be quite specific for example the mental skills needed for gymnastics are probably going to be a little different to rugby. If you are interested in sport psychology and want to learn more please reach out, at Surge we are always willing to share knowledge and connect with different people. If you are looking for specific mental skill development to improve your performance and/or wellbeing get in touch! There is so much to learn and develop in this space so make sure to follow this blog or connect on social media for more sport psychology tips and tricks!