I often get asked by clients and people I meet “what is Sport Psychology?” and following that “What is the point?”
My answer to this is simple: many athletes excel at the physical aspect of their sport, but still struggle when it comes to competition, adversity, injury and adjusting to a new team or changes within their team or sport. Sport Psychology is aimed at teaching athletes how to overcome these issues and excel throughout their career! The cornerstone of Sport Psychology is mental toughness!
Mental toughness is is a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult training or difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence. The attributes of mental toughness are the skills I teach as a sport psychology consultant! Here are the most important attributes:
Why are you in your sport? What drives you every day in practice and competition? Identifying these factors will help you when you feel like you are losing sight of where you are going in your sport!
What do you want to accomplish? At the beginning of each season, write down large goals and smaller goals that will lead to your bigger goals.
One of the most important skills is self-talk. We often undermine our talent with negative thoughts and beliefs about our selves without even realizing it. Recognizing negative self-talk and stopping it will build confidence and mood!
Take time to breathe, and calm your self . Start by taking 5 deep breaths in through your nose and our through your mouth. While doing this allow yourself to focus only on the sensation of breathing, how it feels to expand your lungs, and feeling the relief that comes with each exhale. This is a simple practice that you can do virtually anywhere when you are feeling that you are just go through the motions, feeling at a dead end, or losing sight of your goals
Spending 5-10 minutes each day with quiet diaphragm breathing will allow you to calm anxiety and anger.
All of these skills will help you to build mental toughness and persevere through whatever life throws your way!