Psychology is the study of human behaviour. Sport psychology then helps us use our knowledge of behaviour in a sporting environment to reduce unhelpful behaviours, build positive ones and maximise success. That success might be focused on enjoyment, getting healthier, mastering new skills or seeing how good we can be. Sport Psychology can be use used by athletes of any level, in any sport, whatever their goals. In developing, learning and utilizing sport psychology skills and strategies an athlete can work more effectively, helping them develop into the best they can be.

There are 13 key areas where a sport psychologist might be able to help an athlete.

  1. In designing the environment around an athlete so they can thrive.
  2. Improving performance (master new skills quicker and deeper, improve concentration, develop focus, pushing harder when needed, reducing perception of effort).
  3. In learning how to cope with performance anxiety, pressure or expectations.
  4. Increasing confidence
  5. To manage big emotions during competition.
  6. To handle setbacks or injury effectively.
  7. In communicating well with others (like teammates, coaches, or officials)
  8. In learning basic mental skills (setting goals, imagery, relaxation techniques, self-talk)
  9. Becoming a rounded person as well as an athlete so they can live their values and purpose through their sport.
  10. Allowing the athlete to have someone on their side, who doesn’t judge, and listens to their worries.
  11. To ensure you’re as systematic in your pursuit of fulfilling mental potential as you are in physical, technical and tactical elements of performance (borrowed from Sport Psych Chris Shambrook)
  12. To work through other life stressors so their sport can continue to flourish and be enjoyed (borrowed from Sport Psych Dr Elanor Cormack).
  13. To help you transition out of your sport and into something else.

When an athlete has worked with a sport psychologist over a period of time they should be able to develop a toolkit of mental tactics, technique and strategies that will allow them to perform confidently under pressure and enjoy taking part in their sport more.