Sports psychology is usually important for elite and professional athletes. For these athletes, the primary objective is to perform at an optimal level.
A contrast between recreational athletes and pro athletes:
Recreational Athletes – Their primary objective is to have fun, socialize, and get some exercise. Even serious recreational athletes will practice some level of sports psychology.
Professional or Elite Athletes – Their primary objective is to perform at an optimal level.
What about young athletes? Before they are funnelled into “Elite” programs, young athletes are simply driven by the thrill of the game.
This is a beautiful mindset. Full of discovery, adventure, hope and fun. They concentrate on practicing physical skills, hoping they can apply them in game time situations. The more serious young athletes may also work on: strength, endurance, agility, and speed.
However, little to no effort is spent on the mental game. Unless the athletes parents are well trained athletes themselves, it’s rare to see young elite athletes with a solid well developed sports psychology. Somehow we expect some magical force will guide our youth as they develop good “sportsmanship”. Yet, the mental game is the key to continuous progress and athletic fulfillment. Without a strong mental game, an athlete’s career can be short lived – filled with regrets, avoidable injuries, a sense of failure, and only sporadic moments of success.
Long ago, in Rome, gladiators would perform in the Colosseum for survival or glory. Training was a singular matter of life or death. In Medieval times, knights would joust for honour, prestige and chivalry. Even as recently as the late 1800’s, men would dual for honour. These athletes had a common connection to military or combative violence. Sports psychology was simple… don’t die.
In some ways, humanity has not progressed much over the years. The powerful patrons of sport see athletes as units of entertainment with monetary value. Their spectacular physical abilities are exploited for other peoples benefit. Some are compensated well for their sacrifices. Many are not.
At the end of an athletic career, money aside, we hope the elite athlete has grown as an individual. We hope they overcame a reliance on external validation based on some outdated sense of inadequacy. We hope that all their training and competition translated into a sustainable fulfilling new purpose. But this is not always the case. So many ex-elite athletes struggle to reintegrate back into civilian life.
With proper sports psychology, an athlete can have it all. Regardless of the financial rewards, they can also have fun, glory, success, compassion, joy and healthy relationships – well beyond their peak competitive career is over.
TOP WAYS TO USE HYPNOTHERAPY FOR SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY
Hypnotherapy and Therapeutic Counselling combined with progressive Sport Psychology has many applications in athletics such as:
- Building mental toughness. Performing well under competitive pressure.
- Performance visualization. Rehearsing successful athletic routines using imagination and mental visualization.
- Relaxation and mindfulness exercises to reduce stress.
- Trauma therapy for issues related to injuries, retirement, failure, rejection, loss, and any devastating emotional events
- Adopting a sustainable commitment to a sport while balancing other life issues such as finances, relationships, education, business, family.
- Creating a healthy sense of self while appreciating one’s role as an entertainer to a fan base.
- Learning to experience internal self value and worth without having to perform for external validation.
- For team sports: learning to function as an individual while sacrificing and contributing to the greater whole.
- For individual sports: learning to build a support team focused on the athlete yet respectful of one another.