How can a psychologist help
an athlete reach peak
performance levels?
 Click image to return to Sports Psychology Topics.
For brief moments, every athlete has experienced ‘the Zone’, that state of mind where athletic performance is effortless, and where mistakes are impossible. For most, the Zone seems to come and go on its own -- like a kind of mystical state that you have no control over. A sports psychologist can show you how to figure out what your personal Zone is, and what to do to reach that Zone more frequently.

There are many other areas where a sports psychologist can help. For example, each game has an optimal level of emotional arousal. Golf is a game that is best played at relatively low levels of intensity or emotional arousal. It is not a game that you can get ‘fired-up’ about, like football. If you get too fired-up, you will overshoot your target. Football, on the other hand, is a sport where high levels of intensity are a must. A sports psychologist can help you recognize what level of arousal is best for your game, and how to maintain yourself at that level of intensity.

Every sport demands single-pointed, highly focused concentration. If you are thinking about several things during your competition, you are likely to reduce your chances of success. How do you learn to ‘clear your mind’ though? How do you stop that endless stream of mental chatter so that you can really concentrate? Sports psychologists have the answers for these questions.

Every player makes mistakes. What you do after you make a mistake will be critical to the rest of your play. Many athletes mentally beat themselves up when they make a mistake. This mental beating never increases their performance, and usually decreases it. How can you get your emotions under control and how can you keep them under control when you make a mistake? These are issues that a sports psychologist will help you deal with.

Many athletes have found that visualizing an action helps them perform at a higher levels. Visualization is a slowed-down kind of mental rehearsal that actually involves the nerves firing the different muscle groups in sequence so that you can practice your peak performance. But how do you visualize for optimal results? These are the skills that a sports psychologist can teach you.

Every athlete knows that optimal performance is affected by the lack of rest, the lack of proper nutrition, and other critical variables. But how can you get yourself to really commit to going to bed before your favorite TV program is over? How do you motivate yourself to achieve? Once again, these are questions that a sports psychologist can help you answer.

The bottom line is this: sports psychology can help you optimize your performance, no matter what level you might be playing or what sport you are playing. Sports psychology can show you how your mind affects your body, and how to coordinate the two so they are both pulling in the same direction. If athletic performance is important to you, then you can’t afford to omit this important training area.

For which sports is psychological
help most effective?

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