Athlete Issues

Self Confidence
In order to reach the highest level of sport one must have belief in one’s abilities. For some athletes it is their participation in sport and the acknowledgement of this by others which defines them as an athlete in their own mind. For others it is the setting and achieving of specific goals which drives them forward and boosts their self confidence. Body language can tell us a lot about a person’s state of mind. It can also have an effect on how others behave towards them. Think about it…The athlete who walks on to the pitch as though they own it is a lot more intimidating than the athlete who walks on to the same pitch with their eyes lowered and shoulders hunched over. Psychologically the self confident athlete as portrayed even by their body language has an edge over their opponent….
Sport Psychology can help you to build self confidence and a self belief which will enable you to reach your full potential.

Eliminate Fear
Many athletes experience a fear of sorts whether they are changing teams, moving to a higher league or simply filled with self doubt about their ability to continue playing their sport and worrying about letting their team mates down. Other athletes have a fear of dealing with the media or a fear of their coaches/management. There are lots of reasons athletes feel fear and yes it can affect the ability to play well. There are many tools used by sport psychologists to tackle this fear and they will show you how to remove the fear and how to rebuild that feeling of ease and self assurance.

Do Justice To Your Skills
Have you ever felt as though you are a much better athlete than is coming across to those who are watching you play or those who are playing with you? Have you noticed a sudden drop in your performance and are at a loss to explain exactly why? Sport Pyschology can help you to identify the reasons for the drop in performance and give you solutions as to how you can play at the level you are really capable of.

Improve Motivation
Achievement motivation refers to an athlete’s tendency to move towards or avoid competitive situations. Two individuals may have the same physical characteristics but they may not have the same ‘drive’ to win in an athletic situation. Even this motivation can wane from time to time for athletes – often in athletes who are overtraining or who have increased external demands outside of sport. Motivation can be extrinsic or intrinsic. If you feel that your motivation to compete has subsided and it is something that is affecting your competitive nature in an adverse manner then sport psychology can identify ways which will help you recapture that motivation again so you continue to enjoy your sport.

Overcome Burnout
Burnout is a familiar term bandied around athletic circles. It refers to the comprehensive, wide-ranging psychophysiological responses which result from multiple failed efforts to meet the demands of training. Burnout, if not dealt with can lead to reduced satisfaction with sport and an eventual withdrawl from sport if it is not dealt with adequately. Sport Psychology can accurately identify burnout and indicate ways in which to overcome the negative feelings which accompany burnout. Once dealt with most athletes resume their sport and learn to enjoy the sport once again with all the positive benefits which come with participation in sport.

Delete negative criticisim
Whatever level of sport you participate at negative criticism can have an adverse effect on your performance – if you don’t know how to deal with it. There are lots of simple and effective ways to deal with negative criticism so that it does not have a negative impact on your sports performance. Learn to constructive advice on board and know how to move forward with well intentioned guidance and at the same time learn how to brush off negative comments which are ill intentioned. Sport psychology can help you distinguish between well intentioned counsel and ill informed comments so you can take on board that which is positive and play your sport with a learned optimism.

Reduce Anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension, often unfounded and is frequently accompanied by physiological arousal. Behavioural checklists and electophysiological measurements provide assessments of anxiety. Sport psychologists will often refer to trait and state anxiety. Trait anxiety is a tendency in ones personality to perceive a situation as threatening and to always elicit symptoms of state anxiety when confronted with such a situation. State anxiety on the other hand is an instant emotional response to a given situation. The athlete might feel afraid or apprehensive given a certain situation but it may not necessarily be a feature of their personality. Ten athletes playing the same game are likely to perceive the game differently in many ways. The key to reducing anxiety is to identify situations which are threatening and then learn and apply the skills which your sport psychologist will explain to you. You may find it useful to compare your measure of anxiety before and after intervention to see how far you have come in reducing your anxiety levels.

Remove psychological blocks
Roger Bannister’s four minute mile is probably the best known example of a psychological ‘block’. Before Roger Bannister ran the mile in less than 4 minutes most runners ran average times of 4:02, 4:01 and in the first year and a half after Roger Bannister’s achievement 16 more athletes had also broken the elusive 4 minute barrier. These 16 athletes did not suddenly train differently. They, like most others never really believed that it was possible to run the mile in less than four minutes. Once one person achieved it, that psychological block was removed and these athletes and many more after were no longer limiting their performance with limiting beliefs.
You can work with your sport psychologist to explore any mental ‘blocks’ you may have and break down barriers so that you reach your target goals and maybe even set more ambitious ones!

Stop ‘choking’
‘Choking’ refers to a failure to perform to one’s usual level. It is usually caused by a high level of anxiety which adversely affects one’s performance. Realistic goals, high self esteem and imagery can be used to prevent this from happening. Sport psychology can offer you an array of techniques to prevent ‘choking’ from occurring. It is also possible to identify and eliminate pychosomatic feelings of sickness/nausea.