Sport psychology is a direction of social and general psychology. She appeared relatively recently. Before, the role of a sports psychologist, like many others, was played by a coach.
Sports psychologists do not specialize in specific sports. One specialist can successfully work with athletes of different categories. There is also no division into team specialists and individual athletes. Although it is believed that working with a team is more difficult.
Today, a sports psychologist is a popular profession. But only in Europe and America. The sports psychologist has a very diverse work. But in it two directions can be singled out, which are the main ones in his work: educational and advisory.
What is a sports psychologist needed for?
The training direction is the teaching of techniques and methods from psychology to improve physical performance. As a rule, this is studied by everyone coaches, individual sportsmen, teams as a whole. And the trainers are also trained in knowledge from the field of psychology, which can help influence the players of his team.
The advisory direction is to help the athlete overcome his personal problems. But according to statistics, a small part of sports psychologists are engaged in this. Because for this it is necessary to have experience in clinical psychology and appropriate specialization.
A sports psychologist helps to avoid the emotional burnout of an athlete, coach and team players. And if it has already appeared, a sports psychologist will be able to diagnose it in time. To do this, he uses special psychological techniques. After that, he quickly brings a person back to normal, increasing professional results.
The goals of a sports psychologist:
- Selection of a sport for a beginner that suits him.
- Elimination of anxiety and motivation before the competition.
- Creating a strategy for the competition.
- Resolution of crisis situations.
- Help new players adapt in the team.
- Helps to achieve goals and desired results in sports.
- Recovery from games from a psychological point of view.
How a sports psychologist works
At the beginning of the work, a sports psychologist finds out who his client is and what features he has. At the same time, the goal is set and discussed. This is the time of approaching a team or a specific athlete. Some psychologists argue that in order for the information received about athletes to be reliable, a psychologist must be included in the coaching staff. This approach is important for the high efficiency of changes in the activities of the entire team and the individual athlete in particular. Since the trust of athletes is earned only over time.
Study the problem
Then the sports psychologist begins to study the problem. Testing helps to identify insufficiently strong and poorly developed sides of a person. This helps not only the psychologist understand the athlete, but also the athlete better understand himself.
Plan and action
Next, a program is drawn up for the athlete to overcome the identified difficulties. It is based on the information received. The program should indicate goals and indicators that will demonstrate their achievement in the process of adjustments. So a sports psychologist will be able to track and evaluate the effectiveness of the work done.
During the program, a sports psychologist helps to achieve changes with minimal psychological discomfort and unpleasant experiences. He comes up with and proposes solutions to emerging problems.
Trainer and sports psychologist
It is no secret that in many teams, especially in countries where sports psychology is unpopular, the coach performs the functions of a psychologist in addition to coaching itself. There is no doubt that an experienced trainer is familiar with the basics of psychology, but his main concern is sports achievements. While the sports psychologist makes sure that the athletes during the training and during the competition are not subjected to too much stress.
Only an experienced psychologist can notice in time bad changes in the psychological state of the athlete and immediately begin the correction.
Also, the psychologist softens the tension created by the coach. At the same time, without affecting the results.
In most cases, teams treat sports psychologists incredulously. So it may make sense to introduce the psychologist as an assistant coach.
It is known that in many teams a coach is forced to perform not only coaching functions, but also administrative, financial and psychological ones. However, this is a necessary measure, rather, associated with a lack of qualified personnel. Only the trained eye of an experienced psychologist can notice changes in the athlete’s state in time and immediately begin to correct them so that there is no “burnout” or overtraining. It happens that an athlete stops communicating, goes into his thoughts, is close to depression. Again, you need the help of a professional. Another role of the psychologist is to serve as a kind of “buffer” between the coach and the player. If a trainer “pumps up” an athlete to win by developing sports anger and other stressful behaviors, then the psychologist, having modern techniques in his arsenal, mitigates the tension without affecting the achievement of a good result.
Children’s sports psychologists
Having brought a child to a sports club or section, almost every parent has the hope that their son or daughter will become champions. Or at least titled athletes. This is where the first consultation of a psychologist is needed, which will help you choose a sport based on the temperament of the baby. Suppose a sport is already selected, the child is happily engaged in it and suddenly declares that he will not go there for anything. It’s boring, complicated. And a lot of money was invested, time and effort too, so parents immediately take this decision with hostility. However, a few conversations with a psychologist are enough to overcome the crisis or completely change the type of physical activity. Another case is when an outwardly calm and motivated child throws tantrums before the competition, sleeps poorly and is quickly overexcited. A psychologist can easily cope with this task if he is a specialist in the field of sports.
Parents need to know that conflicts arising from sports and not resolved in childhood with the help of a qualified sports psychologist can “shoot” in an unpleasant way in adulthood. And all because the child did not learn how to get out of the conflict correctly. Psychologists study a special subject conflictology, thanks to which they can teach their young wards to cope with life’s difficulties even at the stage of personality formation. But even if everything goes smoothly, it’s better to show a sports child to a psychologist who can help: correctly motivate a small person; teach him to control his own psychological state; teach the baby to manage his attention; cope with fears of competition; set clear goals (close and long-term).
Not everyone becomes champions, and of those children who aspired to this from a very young age, defeat becomes a tragedy. If this upsets the parents, then the family has a clearly unhealthy atmosphere, and here you can not do without a sports psychologist.
We can’t avoid such a sad topic as injuries in sports. Sometimes an athlete’s career breaks off suddenly precisely because of an injury, and in order to understand that life consists not only of training and competition, you need the experience of a sports psychologist who will outline the prospects of other, possibly near-sports, professions and restore a person’s self-confidence.