All is not couches and analyzes of statistical data in the world of psychology. Sports psychologists are gaining ground to consolidate a branch of the discipline that gives voice.
The figure of the sports psychologist
Although the role of sports psychologist it is unknown to many people, few people doubt the importance of psychological factors in sports performance. More and more teams and athletes are calling on the services of the sports psychologist aware of the benefits that this brings aspects of competition, training or interpersonal relationships.
The specialized knowledge of human behavior that psychology provides and its specific methodology to assess, study, understand and modify it can be of great benefit to 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 sometimes harmful) and to the training of athletes in the mastery of relaxation or imagination techniques, but their contribution is essential in sports performanceAs is, for example, the contribution of the physical trainer in the field of fitness.
In other words, the psychological functioning of the athletes is just as transcendental for the athletes as the physical, technical and tactical / strategic operation. Moreover, with regard to the latter, the psychological functioning it can influence positively or negatively in its functioning, therefore, it is very important to control the mental aspect in the right direction. Therefore, psychological preparation must be integrated into the overall preparation of the athlete, as another element, which will properly interact with the physical, technical and tactical / strategic plots.
Athletes can benefit from the work of the sports psychologist, and each sports specialty will require a few specific psychological skills, Which will allow the athlete to compete more effectively. For example, a footballer who properly controls his attention can make better decisions and end games more productively. On the other hand, a marathon runner who controls his thoughts and feelings of fatigue, was able to continue to perform at an optimal level in the critical moments of the race.
The work of the sports psychologist: benefits for 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 sports context, such as motivation, psychosocial stress, self-confidence, self-esteem, moods, the level of activation, attention, decision-making, aggressiveness, perseverance or perseverance, interpersonal relationships and team cohesion, taking into account the environmental and personal conditions affecting these variables and the strategies that can control them in the right direction.
But the sports psychologist will not only act directly on the athlete, but will work with the coach so that he also improves both individually and for the benefit of the athlete or team he is doing. form. The task of the sports psychologist in this sense will influence certain aspects, such as the sports planningAdherence to athlete coaching, leadership skills, improving communication or evaluating their work as a coach.
10 reasons to hire a sports psychologist
The benefits of having a psychologist are many, as we have seen. Here are 10 reasons why a sports psychologist will positively influence athletic performance:
1. Ideal mental state
Obviously, you need to have good physical preparation or eat well to be at your peak, but you also need to be well prepared mentally for the moment of the competition. In sports psychology, the ideal state is known to reach the maximum level of everyone as the “optimal level of functioning”.
Reinforcing players at the right time is really important for improving your self-esteem, And is one of the basic principles of learning psychological, technical or tactical skills.
3. The objectives
The sports psychologist helped both the player and the coach to benefit from good planning. Realistic goals, and the smart steps to get themThey can boost the self-confidence level of players, keep motivation high, and avoid self-esteem issues.
Here we leave a specific article on the influence of the sports psychologist in setting effective goals:
“The importance of setting goals in sports psychology”
4. Group cohesion
Knowledge of the psychologist in aspects of group psychology, he can play in favor of the team working as a whole. A united team is much more beneficial for good athletic performance than a team with internal problems.
Self-study can be used in sport to learn new skills, to increase motivation, to eliminate negative habits, to initiate action or to maintain effort in extreme situations or when attentional focus needs to be maintained for an extended period of time. In addition, positive self-instructions are used to boost self-esteem, motivation, attention, performance and help a better resist fatigue by getting the subject to focus more on the task.
6. Imagination training
In our article “Mental Training through the Imagination: The Psychology of Sport” we have already discussed the benefits of this type of training for athletes. It is useful, among other things, to reduce anxiety or to learn new skills.
7. Stress control
Although we need some level of stress in competition, stress can be a negative factor in performance. The sports psychologist can improve athlete stress control, For example, helping you make your lifestyle as stress free as possible and allowing you to better reconcile all your daily obligations. In addition, it can also reduce the athlete’s “pressure”, influence their performance expectations and focus their attention on achievable goals.
Careful techniques are very useful for good performance when practicing sports. Some of the benefits are: better emotional control, better focus, better skill learning, greater ability to withstand tough times of competition, etc.
9. Productive emotions
Emotions facilitating performance: the emotional state of the athlete directly determines his performance in competition. Generating facilitating emotions is a key element in the good athletic performance of each. In addition, the sports psychologist can help athletes use negative emotions such as anger, fear or disappointment to their advantage.
10. Aid in injury recovery
Injury is one of the most difficult times in an athlete’s life. Psychological support can be helpful in coming to terms with an injury and overcoming bad times. The psychologist can provide tools to gradually resume training and maintain motivation during rehabilitation.