Obviously athletes. But only athletes?
There are far more sport psychology students graduating from MSc courses than are needed to work with athletes – but the skills we can teach and the approaches we use work with a huge group of people – so here are 11 other groups of people sport psychs can work with.
- Other psychologists. If an athlete is seeing a clinical or counselling psychologist for a mental health issue it can be beneficial for their psych to better understand the sporting mindset & stressors of high level sport – sport psychs can advise on these.
- People who are injured can really benefit. Injury brings with it frustration and uncertainty – something we all dislike. A sport psych can offer great techniques for helping you recover quicker, use the time off your feet effectively and overcome the fear of reinjury.
- Teenagers can benefit from sport psychology to handle all the pressures of school; passing exams, dealing with friendships, finding their own tribe, figuring out what they want in the future. If I was PM I would mandate performance psychology in schools.
- Physios can spend much more time with athletes than we do as sport psychs. When an athlete is injured they may see them most days – working together – or teaching some techniques to physios can help them support athletes even better.
- Team managers can create a great environment to thrive and a positive approach to get the best out of athletes. Working with them on how to create that great culture, and individual conditions of excellence, improves team performance and enjoyment.
- Parents usually know their children best – so teaching them the skills and approaches to get the best performances from their kids can be really effective – especially for children who are still primary school age.
- Business people (particularly entrepreneurs, sales execs & traders) can do really well when they learn mental skills, approaches and strategies that come from sport psychology. They help you set goals, manage stress, keep your eye on what matters and develop coping mechanisms.
- Stage performers – singers, musicians and actors need performance psychology more than most. In sport we have a lot more control over our results than stage performers do (especially in auditions) so learning about mastery & process over outcome is essential.
- Coaches can really benefit from understanding evidence-based tools for enhancing motivation and performance and techniques for calming down athletes with performance anxiety. We can work with them to teach these.
- Anyone with a one-off scary thing. I have worked with those taking professional exams, driving tests, giving wedding speeches or going for promotion. If there is a mental block to success we can help people accept the fear, and achieve their goal anyway.
- Referees, judges, umpires and sports officials are all making big decisions under pressure in short amounts of time. There are lots of great sport psych approaches to support this decision making.