What Does a Sports Psychologist
Do With an Athlete?
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The first task of a sports psychologist is to come to know you as an individual and to assess the kinds of problems that you have with your mental game. In the optimal configuration, this will involve three kinds of assessment. First will come an individual meeting with your psychologist so that he can get to know you and how you play your sport. Second, we like to do some psychological testing so that we can understand how your brain functions. From that, we can identify typical kinds of mental problems that you will have with your game. Finally, we like to do an on-site assessment while you are participating in your sport. As a result of these kinds of data collection, we will be able to understand the mental problems you are having with your game and devise an individualized treatment plan that will guide our work together.

Consulting a sports psychologist is not like seeing someone for psychotherapy. It is unlikely that you will spend much time talking about problems with your family of origin, although this is sometimes necessary. Rather, we will focus on your game and how your mental performance is adversely affecting your physical game. A sports psychologist acts as a coach for your mental game, just as a physical trainer coaches you to optimal physical capacity and your game coach prepares you with game strategy and direction.

Once we have identified the problems with your mental game, you will be given homework that will help you train yourself into new mental habits. We will show you how your brain is wired up for a particular kind of game, and how you can best cooperate with your own mental structure. We will show you how to compensate for your ‘brain wiring’ and how you can optimize your performance. Our task is to help you perform at the highest levels you are capable of.

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