Sports psychology is a relatively new branch of study, in which specific psychological methods and techniques are applied to the fields of sport and general exercising. It has become especially important after World War II when professional sport became more than just fun and entertainment. Today, when sports results are crucial and when we have a stiff competition in every sports activity you can imagine, it became clear that only physical improvement is not enough. Today, it is more than obvious that stability, motivation, concentration and mental training in sports are also required for the best results and high sports achievements.
However, cooperation with sports psychologists is not needed only for the professional athletes that perform in the “big scene”, but also for all people who want to learn how to enjoy their sport and improve their general health. Sports psychologists provide support, developing our “inner side”, which is equally important as the body itself.
Here are some major tasks that every psychologist involved in sport should provide to their “clients”:
- Setting up major goals and milestones for every individual person or team
- Improving the concentration and mental stability
- Exercises of proper breathing techniques and relaxing the whole body
- Education of all people involved in sports activity (team members, coaches, family members)
It is very important that we understand that the job of sports psychologists doesn’t start with problems and that it is not reserved for something that we like to call “crisis situations”. This is probably the biggest misconception about the role of these people. So, if you really want to improve your performance, you should cooperate with sports psychologists all the time, not only before a big competition or when you think you need help.
Just look at the best athletes of our time. They all have the perfect physique and stamina. It is, however, more important that they are mentally stronger than their rivals. This is the key to their success and domination. Just look at Novak Djokovic, currently one of the best tennis players. His main weapon is not his backhand, forehand or serves. No. His main advantage is his mental stability and strength. Just watch some of his interviews. He talks about the motivation, desire, goals and focuses all the time. He also admits that sports psychology and understanding its methods and techniques helped him to become what he is now- the best tennis player on the planet.
This is why the assistance of a sports psychologist is extremely important. Every athlete, if he wants to be successful, must work on his mental stability and mental preparation. And this is not something that can be done over the night. It is the process that must be performed during the whole career. In this way, we can freely say that psychological preparation is the essence of integration all other “parts” that make one sports activity. This is also the reason why sports psychologists have to be understood as team members and active participants in the life of every sportsman.