What is Sports Psychology?
Since the time of Aristotle, we have divided the mind from the body. On the surface this seems logical enough - our thinking, after all, seems altogether different from our muscle movements. But this seemingly logical division is a huge mistake and nowhere is that mistake more evident than in the realm of athletic performance. Every athlete knows, from bitter experience, that if his or her mental game is off, then performance decreases dramatically. There is no real dividing line between your body and your mind. In fact, there is a seamless unity between the two. Sports psychology focuses on the integration of mind and body in the realm of sports and athletic performance.

Sports psychology is a relatively new application of the psychological sciences. Practitioners of sports psychology apply what we know about the inner life to the domain of sports and athletic performance. Anyone who plays sports or who is involved in athletic performance at any level is likely to benefit from the help of a sports psychologist.

There are many areas where mental performance is just as important to athletic performance as the capability of the physical body. Here are just a few examples:

  • The mental side of athletic performance begins with desire and motivation. If you do not have the inner desire to win, you will not be able to sustain the motivation to practice until you reach your optimum performance levels.
  • Performance anxiety is a factor for almost every athlete at some time or another. While some anxiety can enhance performance, too much anxiety can cripple and destroy an athlete.
  • In many sports, visualization - which is a special kind of mental rehearsal - is important to achieving peak performance.
  • Self-talk, that flow of inner chatter, is critical to optimal performance. If you ignore this, you will compromise yourself in crucial situations.

The bottom line is this - training for your mental game is just as important as your physical training. Dr. Kaisch, due to his research into the mental game of golf, is prepared to help athletes of all kinds, and of all levels of playing ability, optimize their mental game.

How can a psychologist help an athlete
reach peak performance levels?

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