What Do Sports Psychologists Do?
A psychologist analyses human behaviour by keenly observing a person’s relationship with other fellow being and his environment. A sports psychologist is a type of psychologist who helps athletes to improve their performances through mental training. A sports psychologist is more of a friend or a companion rather than a mentor, who inspires and motivates athletes to build self confidence and perseverance. Athletes face several fears and anxieties during the match or before the match like fear of failure, lack of concentration etc. Only a sports psychologist is able to console athletes during their hard times and encourage them for a better performance. The role of the sports psychologist has increased progressively for the past 10 years. A sports psychologist is also known as a mental game coacher because he motivates athletes by observing their mental operations. He is capable of identifying the weak points of athletes and helping them to figure out perfectly. Given below are some duties and responsibilities of a sports psychologist.
To overcome fears
Fear is a common problem faced by almost all the athletes. Fear arises from the thought process of a person, which adversely affects the overall performance. Some athletes are very dedicated and they wish for perfection in everything they do. They are very much concerned about their performances and worry about what others think. A sports psychologist should help athletes to overcome these fears of embarrassment and anxiety. Some others lack self confidence and they fear failure before the match. Such athletes are to be motivated and encouraged by a sports psychologist. All the fears of an athlete before and after the match are to be driven out by a sports psychologist.
To develop mental skills
Mental skill of a person is closely associated with his performances and actions. An improvement in mental skills helps to perform well in the match as well as attaining success in the personal life. Mental skills include confidence, perseverance, focus, composure, intensity and trust. Only a sports psychologist can teach athletes with such skills to improve athletic performances.
For mental preparations
Sports psychologist makes a person mentally and emotionally strong for the performance irrespective of all other fears. He demonstrates how the above mentioned mental skills can be applied in the athletic field. The practical lessons of handling certain situations through mental abilities are taught by a sports psychologist.
To heal mental scars
Physical injuries can be healed with the help of a physician, but the mental scars created due to physical injuries are cured by a sports psychologist. Many athletes found it difficult to return back to the game after an injury. A sports psychologist gives strength and mental support to injured athletes to come back with a bang.
To develop pregame routines
Pregame routines and preparations are very important for an athlete. A sports psychologist gives motivations, self-assurance and confidence to the athletes before the game. This mental preparation helps them to learn to focus and concentrate more on the process instead of results.
To develop pre shot routines
A sports psychologist teaches athletes how to use their mental skills in pre shot routines. They are trained in such a way that, they know how to prepare for a particular motor skill, for example, golf shot, free throw or field gold kick.
To improve practice quality
Efficient practice is necessary for success. Many athletes have limited time for practice due to their hectic schedules. A sports psychologist teaches athletes how to use time efficiently for the practice, so that they can improve their practice quality rather than quantity. A quality rich practice within short period of time is possible with the principles of motor learning and performance.