In June of 2010, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics in the NBA finals. In a post-game interview with ABC, LA Lakers' player Ron Artest attributed some of success to his sports psychologist Dr. Nicole Miller. Artest had a history of getting so angry that he had previously gotten into a fight with fans in the arena. The psychologist had helped Artest control his anger and manage stress more effectively.

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.


Executive coaching is hot. What was stigma ("You're so broken you need a coach?") has become status symbol ("You're so valuable you get a coach?"). Tiger Woods and Michael Phelps have coaches. Even President Barack Obama has a coach, if you count David Axelrod. Microsoft 's young high-potential leaders get coaches. If elite athletes and organizations think they need coaches, shouldn't you have one too? Shouldn't we all?
“A fun, motivational and totally unique style of fast-track leadership development that has delivered far more than I thought possible. At the start of the executive coaching I had a goal to become a Director in 18 months to 2 years time. Through the coaching, I was offered a Directorship after 6 months. As a manager and individual I feel totally revived and have gained instant benefit allowing me to achieve and surpass my desired objectives. If I had known the impact it had, I would have paid for it myself and done it ages ago!”
There is also a range of options available, from one-on-one meetings to phone sessions to CDs and tapes. McGrail and Grossman agree that while potentially useful, recordings are not usually as effective as personal sessions. And there’s no shortage of opinions on the best ways to quit smoking; the gamut runs from hypnotherapy to Zyban and Nicotine Anonymous.
The most common educational path starts with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. From there, students move on to a master’s degree, then finish with either a PsyD or a PhD at the doctoral level. Some schools offer joint degree programs, allowing students to get a master’s and doctorate degree at the same time. After graduating, students are eligible to test for licensure and may pursue real-world experiences.
A sport psychologist might use a number of different methods to help athletes who need to overcome certain problems. For instance, they will often lend a non-judgmental ear to frustrated and overwhelmed athletes; sometimes, just the act of talking about certain negative situations can be all that's necessary to overcome them. Most times, however, a sport psychologist will offer advice and guidance on how to overcome these problems. He may recommend a little rest and relaxation for the burnt out athlete, or he might teach an overly anxious athlete several different relaxation exercises to perform before each game or match. He might teach an athlete visualization techniques or how to tune out distractions.
Had Mirabella’s coach been less sports driven—or better versed in interpersonal psychology—he could have anticipated that all the learned bravado in the world could never prepare Mirabella for the role he was assigned to fill. Mirabella needed someone who would listen to his fears and analyze their origins. In the end, Mirabella could function effectively only if his advancement was predicated on his own desires and leadership style—not on someone else’s. Once he was able to deal with his inner conflicts related to those issues, Mirabella’s career proceeded without incident.
There is also a range of options available, from one-on-one meetings to phone sessions to CDs and tapes. McGrail and Grossman agree that while potentially useful, recordings are not usually as effective as personal sessions. And there’s no shortage of opinions on the best ways to quit smoking; the gamut runs from hypnotherapy to Zyban and Nicotine Anonymous.

How about taking out a pen and paper and making a list of all of the benefits you will enjoy as a non-smoker? Picture yourself in the future, say six months or a year from now. How great is it knowing that when someone offers you a cigarette you find yourself saying ‘no thanks’? Perhaps you can imagine how proud and happy you are going to feel and how proud you will be of yourself. If you’re not sure if you are ready to quit smoking but you would like to consider the possibility, we can take a closer look at your particular situation and likely help you come to a clearer understanding. The initial screening and consultation is free.
Although hypnotherapy can seem strange, perhaps even implausible, it is regarded as potentially effective in treating a variety of ailments, particularly phobias, addictions, and problematic habits. Hypnosis may also be used to help patients cope with stress, smoking cessation, and chronic pain, and some women even opt to use hypnosis to manage the pain of childbirth. In patients with trauma-related conditions such as posttraumatic stress (PTSD), therapists may attempt to talk to clients about their traumatic memories under hypnosis.
A lot has been written about how the future of work will focus on artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, etc. Some describe a future where most of the work still done by human beings will require strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. Since organizations will be placing a premium on those skills, it's very likely that executive coaching will be in high demand and focus even more on those types of skills than today. - Kathy Bernhard, KFB Leadership Solutions
There are different approaches that a sports psychologist can use while working with his clients. For example, the social-psychological approach focuses on the social environment and the individual's personality, and on how complex interactions between the two influence behavior. The psycho-physiological approach focuses on the processes of the brain and their influence on physical activity, and the cognitive-behavioral approach analyzes the ways in which individual thoughts determine behavior. Generally, there are two different types of sport psychologists: educational and clinical.
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.

So long as the therapist is trained and follows basic ethical norms, hypnotherapy is safe. Some people may feel dizzy or nauseous during or after being hypnotized. People who discuss traumatic memories may be subject to feelings of panic, flashbacks, or general feelings of anxiety, and the clinician or client may elect to discontinue treatment when symptoms are severe.
Specialists in this area commonly work alongside other professionals who make up the team support system, such as coaches, trainers, physical therapists and game strategists. In a corporate setting, sports psychologists may be called upon by HR managers or department heads to develop team-building strategies for colleagues of a particular business or organization.
Consider Jim Mirabella, an executive earmarked for leadership at an electronic games manufacturer. Ever since the CEO had promoted him to head of marketing, Mirabella had become impossible to work with. Colleagues complained that he hoarded information about company strategy, market indicators, sales forecasts, and the like. The theory circulating through the grapevine was that Mirabella’s aim was to weaken junior executives’ ability to make informed contributions during inter-divisional strategic-planning sessions. He was assigned an executive coach.

This is the process of helping the members of a group enhance their ability to work cohesively through the improvement of communication, group objectives, trust, and respect. Team building strategies are often used at the beginning of a season to help group members become more familiar and trusting of each other. Common techniques include group introductions of each other, ropes courses, and individual and team goal setting.
Australian hypnotism/hypnotherapy organizations (including the Australian Hypnotherapists Association) are seeking government regulation similar to other mental health professions. However, the various tiers of Australian government have shown consistently over the last two decades that they are opposed to government legislation and in favour of self-regulation by industry groups.[51]
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