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It’s All About The Mental Game: The What, Why and How of Sports Psychology

Since, the awakening of mankind into the era of technology and science, we have started assuming, observing and analysing more about the reason for our existence. Right from the early calculations and theories of physics about the cosmos, till the invention of artificial intelligence in this decade, the Man himself has played a pivotal role all along in building the world we are living in today.

How would have been this possible? The latest study shows that the universe is nothing but a depiction of our brain. The evidence also shows that we are capable of creating things, so we create our life the way we want in our mind.

Since I started working in the field of psychology. I have realized that psychology is a vital element of a healthy lifestyle and growth. Many people over the period of time understood the importance of MIND and worked towards it for excellence in life. There is no dearth of examples which testify that how they converted an idea into brilliant outcome just because of the MIND itself, example, Muhammad Ali, Micheal Phelps, Milkha Singh, PT Usha, Sachin Tendulkar. All these superstars had created their lives the way they imagined it.

Today, here in this article I am about to throw some light on the concept of Psychology in Sports and will explain the role and responsibilities of Sports Psychologists. I hope you will enjoy reading, so here I first start with:

What is Psychology?

Psychology is a scientific study of human behaviour and mental processes. Many carry this notion of psychology as philosophy, but it is not. However psychology primarily originated from philosophy itself but due to its scientific nature and the belief of early psychologists, it got separated into a different field of study.

What are the goals of Psychology?

There are four primary goals of Psychology:

  1. What is happening, To whom it is happening, Where and under What circumstances?
  2. Why it is happening?
  3. Will it happen again?
  4. How we can control it?

Sports Psychology

Image source: allaboutpsychology.com

The field of sports psychology is now a 100-year-old since the Norman Tripplet conducted a study on cyclists. Since then there has been tremendous growth and it has grown up into this very contemporary field with numerous studies proving Mental Training as a vital pillar behind the success of athletes. Sports psychology is an application of principles of psychology in the sports context. It is a blend of other sciences also like, biomechanics, exercise physiology and kinesiology.

It works toward these main aims:

  1. How does the personality and mindset of an athlete affect the performance like positive attitude vs negative attitude, the effect of anxiety, confidence and motivation.
  2. And, how do performance outcomes like success and failure is related to change in the behaviour of an athlete.

These are two important questions that sports psychologists work on.

Who are sports psychologists and what they do?

The sports psychologists are the one who has a higher degree in sports psychology (Masters or PhD). They have experience working with sportsmen. They are an expert of dealing with issues like lack of motivation, lack of confidence, negativity, anxiety, lack of concentration, injuries, burnout etc.

How do Sports Psychologists help athletes:

Image Source: youngerchiropractic.co.uk

  • They help to enhance performance with various mental skill strategies, like goal setting, relaxation, visualization, self-talk and can help athletes overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential.
  • They teach Coping strategies to athletes to deal with the pressure situation during competition. Sports psychologists help athletes at all level and age groups.
  • They help to improve confidence, commitment and control.
  • They teach how to set a goal based on psychological principles of goal setting and how to work on them.
  • They help to understand athlete about ‘Zone of optimal functioning” and how to get into the zone by using various psychological skills
  • They help athletes recover from injury and improve adherence to rehabilitation and also keep a close eye at a return to sport.
  • They help to overcome daily life hassles and stress.
  • They help to build team and coordination, how to act cohesively for shared goals to win matches.
  • They teach about sportsmanship and values in sports.

Why every coach and athlete should seek out the help of sports scientists?

The success at world level in sports isn’t easy or not a work of single man. However, the area is dominated by coaches but a smart coach will always exercise his resources and will cut out himself from the area where expertise is required. This is what we call holistic model of work. A smart coach would rather prefer scientific meetings and discussions about performance and will work toward the solution and sending players to high-performance experts for peak performance. So the athletes need to know that how does it works if they are intending to win at world level.

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