Performance Psychologists

Performance psychologists are highly qualified mental coaches who specialise in assisting performers with both their mental health and mental toughness.

Performance Psychologists
Performance Psychologists

For those of you who might have listened to the interview that I did with Dan last year, I am fairly confident that the term performance psychologist will shortly gobble up the term sport psychologist. 

In summary, the main reason boils down to the logic of the semantics. I am a sport psychologist and yet at least a third of my consulting is with non-sporting clients. These range from performing artists, politicians all the way through to medical and emergency performers. 

Sport is merely one of many kinds of performance. Performance is not a type of sport. 

Subcategories of Performance Psychology

To my understanding the umbrella terms performance has no agreed subcategories at this point in time. So below might one way to go about it.

  • Team Sports
  • Individual Sports
  • Music Performing
  • Acting
  • Circus Performing
  • Medical and Emergency
  • Military

(Am I missing any? Please add any subcategories of performance below and I will consider adding them).

Two Things In Common

My colleagues and I at Condor Performance all have two things in common. First, we are all registered psychologists in the place in which we live and work. Second, we all have a passion to work with and assist a wide range of performers. We literally want to help them perform better through a combination of mental toughness training and assisting them with their mental health and well-being.

Now don’t get me wrong many of these performers are athletes and sports coaches. And most of our psychologists have a love of sport or at least have a very healthy appreciation for many major sports. 

But if we were using the professional title that most accurately describes the work we do it would be ‘performance psychologist’. Hence why we’re called Condor Performance and not Condor Sports! Yet despite this, we collectively go by the name performance psychologists and sport psychologists (see our homepage for example).

Why?

The first reason is that it’s incredibly hard, at least in Australia, to earn the right to legitimately refer to yourself as a sport psychologist. Within a few months, five of our team will have this right. Therefore despite the fact that it is slightly deceiving in terms of what we actually do those with the right to use it understandably would like to do just that. The other reason boils down to pure marketing. Google searches for the term sport psychologists still outnumber searches for performance psychologists by a factor of three.

In other words, if we were only visible to those actively searching for a performance psychologist we would be a much smaller organisation than we are at the moment. 

Let’s Dive Into The Numbers!

The worldwide “peak” for search enquiries for ‘performance psychologist’ was in 2004. In fact, as can be seen by the below graph the 100 searches per day that was taking place around the world in January 2005 has never come close to being beaten. After this outlier month, the number of times that athletes, coaches, students, journalists and bored teenagers typed in the words ‘performance psychologist’ into Google took a sudden nosedive.

What might have caused both the spike and decline? It’s impossible to really know. But I would guess that maybe the 2004 Olympics Games in Athens had something to do with the spike. With such a massive international sporting event all that would have been required was a single story about the impact made by a performance psychologist and “boom”. But as The Games ended and these stories got lost in cyberspace then the normal amount of searches returned.

Interestingly it does appear that an ever so slow recovery is taking place. More encouraging than the sudden increase that took place 15 years ago, this increase is happening steadily.

Slow And Steady Is Better

In the work that my colleagues and I do with athletes and coaches, I am often quick to point out the advantages of slow improvement over sudden gains. Slow improvements always feel more sustainable compared with overnight success. Take, for example, a young golfer trying to lower her handicap. A massive drop in her handicap of 15 to 5 over par in a month might feel like it’s better than the same improvement (in golf, the lower the handicap the better) that takes place over a year but not for me – not for this performance psychologist.

I often use the reality show “The Biggest Loser” as an example when explaining this to my monthly clients. This show, in case you missed it, was above getting overweight contestants to try and lose as much weight as fast as possible with the winner being rewarded with a huge cash prize.

From a psychological point of view, there is a lot wrong with the entire premise of the show but one of the “biggest issues” with “The Biggest Loser” is the speed that the weight loss of all the contestants took place. In many cases, it was commonplace for individuals to drop 20+ kgs in a single week!

Fast Changes Are Often Unsustainable

Changes this fast are unsustainable so they really run the risk of having a negative impact on motivation in the future. For example, without some of the insights about the number of influence people have on various aspects of performance (e.g. body weight – which is a result) from programs such as Metuf then it would be easy for a “Biggest Loser” contestant to become dejected by only losing a kilogram after the show when comparing it with the 5+ kgs they lost a week whilst ‘competing’.

Not too many people know this but shortly after Condor Performance was started in 2005 one of the main service offerings were group workshops for those struggling with their weight run by yours truly. These group interventions took place at the height of “The Biggest Loser” TV shows so even though the attendees were not taking part (thank goodness) I recall there were a lot of questions about “why are they losing weight so fast and I am not”?

The answer I gave to those questions is the same as the one I give to anyone frustrated when their progress is slow and steady.

Do It Once, Do It Properly And Make It Last

Sport Psychology or Sports Psychology?

Correct Spelling – You Decide, Vote Now and Share

Sport Psychology or Sports Psychology – You Decide

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Sport Psychology or Sports Psychology
Sport Psychology or Sports Psychology

Sport Psychology for Soccer

Sport Psychology for Soccer (Association Football) is an insightful blog post by sport psychologist Gareth J. Mole from Condor Performance

Sport Psychology for Soccer
Sport Psychology for Soccer

Before jumping head first into some of the many aspects that could come under the banner ‘Sport Psychology for Soccer‘ let’s first establish some facts. First of all soccer is also known as football, the preferred term outside of the USA. This paragraph from Quora explains it best:

The correct full name of the sport still is Association FootballSoccer is a nickname and is seldom used outside of the US. Neither is wrong, but Football (or Fútbol, or Futebol, or all the other forms of the word) is the world-wide popular name of the sport.

Actually, as a former goalkeeper, I prefer the term Soccer. In my playing days, the “ball” rarely came into contact with my “foot”. To pass the ball to my teammates I would almost always throw the ball out.

The term soccer, therefore, doesn’t discriminate against goalies in the same way that the name football does. It also makes a lot of sense to have a label that can’t be confused with other sports. Here in Australia, for example, the term football can refer to one of four totally different team sports. But if you tell someone you’re a, say, soccer referee, there is no chance they’ll think you officiate rugby league games.

The second fact is how dominate soccer is as the world’s most popular sport. At last count, there were 265 million registered players worldwide. No other sport comes close to this, see PDF below by Fifa.

Sport Psychology is Not Mental Health For Sport

As current and past clients of ours will know when we use the term sport psychology we really mean it. By this I mean we are referring to the psychology of sports. The mental aspects involved in both training for that sport and competing as well. So in simple terms sport psychology for soccer (or soccer psychology) is mainly about the psychological aspects of training for and the competing in competitive soccer matches.

This is not to imply that mental health is not linked with optimal performance in soccer or any other sport for that matter. Quite the opposite in fact. As sport psychologists and performance psychologists we do a lot of work assisting our sporting clients with their mental health. We do this because a) we can as registered psychologists and b) we know that it assists with both off-field and field areas. But when we’re assisting a soccer player with clinical depression (for example) this is more counseling that pure sport psychology.

Sport Psychology for Soccer – Training

As is very clearly explained in our online, self guided Mental Toughness Training course (Metuf) we want to have contrasting mindset for soccer practice versus actual matches. For training, we want our minds to be on the concept of constant improvement through high-quality effort. Actually, through the right amount of high-quality effort to be more precise. Furthermore, we want our training to be spread across four different areas – two below the neck and two above the neck.

Sport Psychology for Soccer – Match Day

Unlike in training when it’s normal to be trying our hardest, for matches we are better off just being as relaxed as possible. Having a Relaxed Competition Mindset is one of the key aspects of match day mental toughness. One of the best ways to actually develop a Relaxed Competition Mindset is by targeting the hour or three before you start the whistle. This blog post from 2019 goes into a lot more detail about how you can develop a Pre Game Routine.


If you’d like our help with any mental aspects of what you do then below are few ways to contact us:


VIDEO: About ‘Condor Performance’ – International Sport Psychologists

This very short YouTube video sums up what the sports psychologists from Condor Performance do and how they could help you with your sporting goals.

This video is the same as the one on our Homepage – we’ve added it here via YouTube in case you are having trouble watching is through Vimeo.

Transcription Below

The final frontier in the pursuit of sporting excellence is how to improve mental toughness; how to improve the mind as well as the body.

But of course, you already know that.

You’re just looking for the right way to go about it.

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

We work with a wide range of people from sporting to non-sporting performance, from amateurs to high performers, and professionals.

And our fastest growing group of clients; coaches themselves looking to improve the way they coach the mental side of their particular sport. 

We use Skype and FaceTime for most consultations which enables us to have sessions at much more meaningful times such as before or after training, or in the moments prior to a crucial competition or performance. 

Get in touch by completing one of the Mental Toughness Questionnaires on the MTQ page of our website, and we’ll try to get back to you within 24 hours.