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 link to a sport setting. They look at how athletes’ thoughts and feelings affect their sporting performance and enjoyment.
Many athletes will be able to recall a time when their self-belief has taken a nose-dive alongside their performance. Others will remember times when they have lost focus under pressure, or when emotions have clouded their judgement, from nerves to frustration to disappointment. Suffice to say that meeting only the physical and technical demands of sport is not adequate for optimal performance. Athletes must also prepare for and overcome the mental demands of their sport, from motivation and concentration to confidence and emotional control. This mental element of performance is where psychology plays a part in sporting success.
What does a sport psychologist do?
Some athletes seek out sport psychology input to pro-actively enhance their general performance or build resilience to the mental pressures of sport. 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 ways to achieve your goals.
Ultimately, Jo looks to enhance athletes’ performance and well-being. One-on-one consultations commonly involve discussion and reflection to help you develop a self-awareness around your optimal performance state, for example where your focus is directed, your level of arousal/relaxation, how confident you feel. Crucially, Jo will also help you to create (or re-create) that optimal performance state. This process may involve developing your mental skills, whereby you will learn about and put into practice tools such as imagery or self-talk or create goal plans or pre-performance routines. It will often benefit both parties for Jo to observe clients training or performing and this is something that Jo would discuss with you.
Jo also works with sport teams, coaches, and support teams, via individual consultations and workshops. Please look at the services page to find out more.
How can it help me?
Sport psychology can improve performance, consistency, enjoyment, and bring a competitive edge to your game.
Examples of areas where psychology support can make a difference are:
- Building self-confidence
- Coping with pressure
- Controlling emotion
- Improving focus and concentration
- Dealing with stress and anxiety
- Understanding performance states – arousal and relaxation
- Increasing motivation and enjoyment
- Recovering from injury