What is Sport Psychology?

What is sport psychology?

Good question! In a nutshell, psychology is the study of what goes on ‘from the neck up’. It’s a science that links what people think and feel with their actions and behaviour. Sport psychologists apply this science to athletes and sport settings. They look at how athletes’ thoughts, feelings, and emotional state affect their overall wellbeing and their sporting fulfilment and performance.

Many athletes will be able to recall a time when their self-belief has taken a nose-dive. Others will remember times when they have lost focus under pressure, or when emotions have clouded their judgement. Suffice to say that meeting only the physical, technical, and tactical demands of sport is not adequate for optimal performance. Athletes must also prepare for and manage the mental demands of their sport and sporting environment; from maintaining motivation and self-belief, or positively communicating with their team around them; to nurturing their well-being and self-care within and around sport.

What does a sport psychologist do?

Some athletes seek out sport psychology input to pro-actively enhance their sporting performance or build resilience to the mental pressures of their sporting environment. Others may have a specific issue in mind that they would like to address. Essentially, no two athletes are the same and Jo will work with you to identify areas for personal and sporting growth and plan strategies to help you achieve your goals.

Ultimately, Jo looks to help athletes thrive within their personal and sporting environment, on both a well-being and a performance level. One-on-one consultations commonly involve discussion and reflection to help you develop your self-awareness, and learn psychological approaches to build into your life, training, and competition. Sessions should feel like team-work, with Jo acting as both a sounding board and offering evidence-based guidance. It will often benefit both parties for Jo to observe clients training or competitive performances (in person or via video footage) and this is something that Jo would discuss with you.

How can it help me?

Common areas where Jo offers support are:

Sport Performance:

  • Self-esteem, Confidence, and Self-belief
  • Focus, Concentration, and Mindfulness
  • Motivation and values
  • Managing mood and emotions
  • Managing anxiety, worries, and over-thinking
  • Managing perfectionism and the ‘inner critic’ voice
  • Positive communication with key team members
  • Thriving in high-pressure environments

Sport Wellbeing areas

  • Dealing with injury and other setbacks
  • Sport and Career decisions and transitions
  • Balancing sport with other demands (e.g., education; work; family; life)
  • Managing professional and social relationships
  • Self-care strategies
  • Personal development