Both sport psychology (focusing on the dynamic interplay between psychological factors and athletic performance) and sport and exercise psychology (focusing on using psychological insight to increase exercise and activity levels) are essential components in empowering performance. Whether that be for professional athletes or the general population, an understanding of how the mind works can have a huge impact.
Performance profiling can provide a rigorous evaluation of psychological characteristics and can be used in conjunction with existing measures of physical ability to provide great insight for players, athletes and coaches. Psychometric assessments can help athletes explore their own unique characteristics, such as self-confidence, motivation, resilience and mental toughness. This greater self-awareness can help athletes to shape their development and can encourage them to take ownership of their performance with a significant impact on focus, drive and achievement.
When we came out of the session, he asked us how we each had felt. Some reported feeling a sense of heaviness, others said they felt as if they were floating away. One woman couldn't remember a word he had said the entire time. An older man in a Red Sox jersey said he could hear him but couldn't make out the words. “Me relaxing to that degree made me realize how much my body is fighting to breathe cleanly,” the elderly man said. Another woman said she felt as if she wanted to cry. I shared her emotion. It felt as if something was being taken from me.
Life skills refer to the mental, emotional, behavioral, and social skills and resources developed through sport participation. Research in this area focuses on how life skills are developed and transferred from sports to other areas in life (e.g., from tennis to school) and on program development and implementation. Burnout in sport is typically characterized as having three dimensions: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a reduced sense of accomplishment. Athletes who experience burnout may have different contributing factors, but the more frequent reasons include perfectionism, boredom, injuries, excessive pressure, and overtraining. Burnout is studied in many different athletic populations (e.g., coaches), but it is a major problem in youth sports and contributes to withdrawal from sport. Parenting in youth sport is necessary and critical for young athletes. Research on parenting explores behaviors that contribute to or hinder children’s participation. For example, research suggests children want their parents to provide support and become involved, but not give technical advice unless they are well-versed in the sport. Excessive demands from parents may also contribute to burnout.
Unintentional weight loss may result from loss of body fats, loss of body fluids, muscle atrophy, or even a combination of these. It is generally regarded as a medical problem when at least 10% of a person's body weight has been lost in six months or 5% in the last month. Another criterion used for assessing weight that is too low is the body mass index (BMI). However, even lesser amounts of weight loss can be a cause for serious concern in a frail elderly person.
What can organizations expect when their employees receive coaching? Clark, a certified coach herself, said the area that receives the biggest impact from coaching is self-awareness. “Any opportunity for people to understand themselves better is a good thing,” she said. “Our job is to make sure people continue to develop personally as they hone their technical skills. Managers need to understand how they come across to others. Not only do they learn how to become more effective, they discover the negative impact of not changing.”
The first step for me was not a healthy one. Toward the end of 2015, I had my gallbladder removed and I was battling kidney stones as well as ruptured ovarian cysts. I was in so much pain that I physically could not bring myself to eat or I would get sick. I spent two weeks in the hospital because I had dropped 60 pounds in two months. They wanted to put a feeding tube in me, but I had to fight it and essentially relearn to eat as well as exercise to regain all the muscle I had lost from being sick.
Even though you appear to be in a trance during hypnosis, you are not unconscious. You are still aware of your surroundings, and -- despite what many stage performers may claim during an entertaining show -- you cannot be made do to anything against your will. In fact, brain tests performed on patients during hypnotism sessions have shown a high level of neurological activity.
Applied sport and exercise psychology involves extending theory and research into the field to educate coaches, athletes, parents, exercisers, fitness professionals, and athletic trainers about the psychological aspects of their sport or activity. A primary goal of professionals in applied sport and exercise psychology is to facilitate optimal involvement, performance, and enjoyment in sport and exercise.
Social conditions such as poverty, social isolation and inability to get or prepare preferred foods can cause unintentional weight loss, and this may be particularly common in older people. Nutrient intake can also be affected by culture, family and belief systems. Ill-fitting dentures and other dental or oral health problems can also affect adequacy of nutrition.
Make it specific rather than general. Saying, “You have been passive-aggressive lately” is not as helpful as saying, “You agreed to take responsibility for completing the customer survey, but didn’t return any of my phone calls regarding this project and didn’t hand in the report.” The former statement leaves much room for interpretation and can cause confusion about what behaviors are actually expected.
Food journaling may not sound sexy, but time and time again research proves that it works. In fact, according to a study from Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research, keeping a food diary can double a person's weight loss. “Without this tool, many people forget the snacks and bites taken while standing, preparing food for others or munching in the car. Over time these unrecognized snacks can lead to several extra pounds gained per year,” says Gueron. If you’re not the pad and paper type, Ansel recommends keeping a running journal on your smartphone or trying an app like MyFitness Pal or Lose It.
As with other treatment providers, recommendations from family or friends are a great place to start. You can also check with a therapist, naturopath, or acupuncturist for recommendations. There are several databases of certified hypnotherapists online too. Try checking the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis’s database, or the General Hypnotherapy Register. You’ll want to check the therapist’s website before you choose, making sure to look for credentials and testimony from previous patients if available.
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.
Careers in sports psychology typically begin with graduate study through the doctoral level, as many states require a doctoral degree in order to become licensed as a sports psychologist. Even if being licensed isn’t required for a particular job, a doctoral degree is a de facto standard for those who want to be psychologists, including those with an eye toward sports psychology.
"An Spanish speaking Counselor. Licensed Clinical Hypnotherapist with more than 18 years of experience in the Mental Health and Substance Abuse field. I have passion for helping those who are struggling with real life issues thru empowering their personal strengths. I worked with people from different cultures and ages, children, adolescents and adults. Before starting my Private Practice I worked as a Psychologist in Argentina and as Counselor in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities in Texas."
According to Dr. Ken Grossman, a clinical hypnotherapist in Sacramento, “The only quality that makes someone a good candidate for hypnosis is that they want to stop. What makes someone a poor candidate is that they have no desire to stop.” McGrail agrees, adding, “There are very few people that will not allow themselves to be led into a hypnotic state.” While this may sound far-fetched to skeptics, think of it as the sort of state you’re in when you’re driving and miss your exit — that’s a mild form of hypnosis in and of itself. What these therapists do is just deepen the experience, using our natural capacity for dropping into trance-like states.
Careers in sports psychology cover a range of areas. Sports psychologists may practice in a hospital, clinic, gym, physical rehabilitation center, high school or university. Some may work in private practice or provide contracted consulting services to clients in other settings. Professionals in this area are often employed as part of a team of specialists, assembled from a variety of disciplines to maximize health and wellness among athletes, coaches, teams, parents of athletes, fitness professionals and more. Whatever the nature of their practice, sports psychologists should possess the following skills and competencies:
Look for a hypnotherapist who is a member of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) or the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. To be a member of either of these organizations, a hypnotherapist must have a doctorate level degree in medicine, dentistry, or psychology, or a master’s degree in nursing, social work, psychology, or marital/family therapy plus a specific number of hours of approved training in hypnotherapy. In some cases, accredited, doctoral-level practitioners of alternative health care, such traditional Chinese medicine, may also be approved for membership. Of course, in addition to looking at qualifications, you should also find a hypnotherapist with whom you feel confident and comfortable in a therapeutic relationship.