Professional sports psychologists often help athletes cope with the intense pressure that comes from competition and overcome problems with focus and motivation. They also work with athletes to improve performance and recover from injuries. But sports psychologists do not just work with elite and professional athletes. They also help regular people learn how to enjoy sports and learn to stick to an exercise program.
If coaching fails to cure a problem in six months, it can become very expensive indeed. Take the case of Tom Davis, the coach who worked with Rob Bernstein, the executive VP of sales at an automotive parts distributor. Let’s assume Davis charged a relatively low per diem of $1,500. Over the four years of his engagement—which ultimately did not solve Bernstein’s problems—he would have picked up at least $45,000 in fees. That sum would have purchased 450 hours with a competent therapist—about ten years’ worth of weekly sessions.
Sometimes I think of a story for a teaching example later, and I’m unable to contact the client for permission. In these situations, I change identifying details. This can be tricky, because simply omitting the name, time, and place of the event you’re describing is not enough to ensure that someone who knows the client well would not recognize the story. Certain details, like a unique physical trait combined with a sport or interest could be enough to identify the client. Therefore, I change those types of details as well.
I chose the University of Ottawa in Canada for my Master’s in Sport Psychology for 2 main reasons. One of the most experienced, forerunners of Sport Psychology, Dr. Terry Orlick, is a professor at U of O. I had a conversation with him prior to applying, and he offered to be my thesis advisor, so at that point the program at University of Ottawa became the only choice for me.
Sports psychology is a hybrid field in which scientific theories about human perception, memory and motivation are applied in physiological contexts including biomechanics and kinesiology. As with other psychological fields of study, extensive education and training is required, usually including a doctoral degree and several years of postgraduate training.
"As a licensed psychologist, I offer counseling services for children, adolescents, and adults. Specializing in Sport Psychology, I am a Certified Mental Performance Consultant by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and a registered Sport Psychologist with the U.S. Olympic Committee. My passion is helping children, adolescents and adults achieve well-being, balance, and peak performance by empowering them with skills to handle stressors in life and pressures of competition. I provide traditional counseling and sport psychology services to youth athletes, adolescents, and adults. I offer appointments in my office or by video conference online."
It’s a really tough time for athletes. They would go through a period where they are questioning themselves, their work, and their skills. As a psychologist, I’d like to give them time to digest what’s happened, especially at the Olympic games for which they’ve been training for four or eight years. Then they can come to me and reflect on what’s happened. I’d like to be a mirror so that they can talk and open up. To be a sounding board for the athlete, and to start rebuilding if they are ready to do so.
Dr. Banks teaches Bush how to calm his anxiety and stress before a game with deep breathing exercises and meditation. He even gives Bush a CD with a guided imagery exercise on it that will take him to his 'happy place' (his cabin in the mountains) for 10 minutes to get into a relaxed mindset. These techniques also help Bush cope with the pressures from family, friends, coaches, and the sports organization of which he is a part.
Imagery (or motor imagery) can be defined as using multiple senses to create or recreate experiences in one's mind. Additionally, the more vivid images are, the more likely they are to be interpreted by the brain as identical to the actual event, which increases the effectiveness of mental practice with imagery. Good imagery, therefore, attempts to create as lifelike an image as possible through the use of multiple senses (e.g., sight, smell, kinesthetic), proper timing, perspective, and accurate portrayal of the task. Both anecdotal evidence from athletes and research findings suggest imagery is an effective tool to enhance performance and psychological states relevant to performance (e.g., confidence). This is a concept commonly used by coaches and athletes the day before an event.
In 1974, Theodore X. Barber and his colleagues published a review of the research which argued, following the earlier social psychology of Theodore R. Sarbin, that hypnotism was better understood not as a "special state" but as the result of normal psychological variables, such as active imagination, expectation, appropriate attitudes, and motivation. Barber introduced the term "cognitive-behavioral" to describe the nonstate theory of hypnotism, and discussed its application to behavior therapy.