One of the most common questions we get is ‘exactly what do sport psychologists do?’.
A simple way of answering that particular question is to look at the people who we work. Also, what kinds of areas we assist them with.
As the name would suggest, we typically work with those who are involved in some kind of ongoing competitive situations.
It’s very common for those to be athletes. However, it can be sporting coaches, sporting officials and what we like to describe as “non-sporting performers”.
Non-sporting performers are not necessarily just everybody else in the world. It would really include groups of people who have to endure the same kind of mental challenges that elite athletes might but in a non-sporting context.
Performing artists who have to perform in front of other people, medics, paramedics, ambulance drivers, those in the military, for example.
Our expertise really comes to the forefront when we’re assisting people who are normally preparing for some kind of upcoming assessment or competitive situation as opposed to just everyday situations.
The next question is ‘what do we assist them with’?
And a nice way of understanding that is basically to split the mental side into the clinical and the performance aspects.
In other words, with many of our clients, we assist them only with the mental aspects of their performance.
For example, people who are mentally very fine (they don’t have any clinical issues) but they are struggling a little bit with aspects such as managing their emotions [pre competition nerves, anxiety for example – which is a very normal, non-clinical aspect of performance].
Maybe there’s been a dip in motivation. Maybe they’ve become aware of the fact that their thought processes are not ideal for their particular circumstances. Obviously, team chemistry for those involved in teams and groups, and finally, the ability to focus and concentrate.
athletes are humans before they are athletes and therefore, it is not uncommon for us to also assist our clients with their mental health and wellbeing.
One of the advantages about the fact that our work is almost always one-on-one is that we can really help those who we work with to find the right balance between working on mental health as well as working on the mental aspects of performance.
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