What is Sport and Exercise Psychology?

It's almost impossible to watch a sporting event these days without someone mentioning confidence or motivation or mindset! Sport Psychology is becoming more accepted in mainstream sport, let's find out why...

Who is it for?

Sport and Exercise Psychology can be beneficial to athletes at any level.  Working with a psychologist can lead to profound improvements in a number of areas including confidence, better decision making, mindset, managing emotions, anxiety, expectations, effective communication, working with aggression, reactions after mistakes, pre-performance routines, improving motivation and so much more.

What is it?

Sport Psychology is the study of people's behaviour, thoughts, emotions and experiences in a sport or exercise environment. It focuses on 2 distinct areas depending on the needs of the individual concerned: improving performance and improving well being.  Generally we focus on one or the other with clients but there are occasions where the two crossover eg; managing one's emotions can potentially lead to better decision making in competition or better reactions to mistakes = improvement in performance.  This can also help to alleviate feelings of disappointment, frustration or anger at a performance which may cross over into life away from sport = improved well being.

How can Sport Psychology help me?

Sport psychology is an individual process and every person's needs differ.  There is always development and improvement which can be made at any level of sport, whether amateur or professional.  Sport psychology can help to see your sport and your performance from an objective and sometimes alternative perspective.  It can challenge you to ask questions about things in your sport and performance that you take for granted.  For example: How do you practice? Is it as close to competition as possible? Can you make it closer to competition? Have you tried practising challenging situations? If not, how will you react if you meet these situations in competition

What happens during a one-to-one Sport Psychology session?

A one-to-one session could be in person or over Skype and can be in an office, at the practice ground or any venue of your choice. Typically, the first session is an assessment of whether any challenge you are facing can be tackled using Sport Psychology techniques. This depends on the challenges in question and the expertise of the psychologist.   Similarly, it is important that you feel comfortable, confident and happy working with the psychologist.  This provides an opportunity for you to assess whether a long term working relationship would be possible with this person.  Every psychologist works differently but generally there will be a few sessions dedicated to case formulation and this often starts in session 1.  When sufficient information has been gathered, the psychologist will present you with options of how to proceed and suggest some possible solutions to address the challenges discussed. Empowering the athlete is a key feature of sport psychology, change and development is a collaborative process between the athlete and the psychologist.