Mental Toughness. Grit. Resilience. We have been hearing these buzz words a lot recently! Athletes and coaches have been trying to find ways to increase their mindset when it comes to their sport or performance, yet either don’t commit or can’t find anyone to work with them.
This leads to many people believing that Sport Psychology and Mental Performance are new topics when it comes to Sport Performance. However, the industry of Sport Psychology has been around since the mid 1920s!
To put it short, Sport Psychology is the scientific study of how psychological factors affect an individual’s physical performance, and conversely how participation in sport and performance affect the psychological development, health, and well-being of an individual.
You are not just a mind or a body; you are always both, they are inseparable, and they work together and impact one another. The goals of sport psychology are to understand those relationships.
We all know that the mental part of sport and performance is very important, but why do so many still ignore this fundamental factor despite knowing this?
I have heard many different myths when it comes to the mental part of sport and performance which often holds many players and coaches from maximizing their potential.
4 Sport Psychology Myths Debunked
Sport Psychology is for “Weak" or "Problem" Athletes
There has been a stigma with Sport Psychology that has haunted the industry for quite some time. When people can look at themselves and continually want to improve themselves, I believe it is a sign of strength and character.
Most Olympians, elite/professional teams, athletes, and even US Military work with Mental Performance Consultants. Those people are not mentally weak, yet they hire Mental Performance Consultants because they want to improve their mindset and make a
difference in their performance.
Cognitive Restructuring provides you with strategies and techniques to make you stronger and better than you were yesterday.
Provides a Quick Fix
Unlike other realms of Sport Performance like Strength and Conditioning, Injury Prevention, and typical coaches; the return of investment is usually not as direct or immediate. A strength coach can provide direct feedback how to fix proper lifting technique; however, mental performance can take a little time to see the results you want.
Although some benefits and results can be seen after only a single session with a Mental Performance Consultant, more powerful and consistent benefits can happen with dedicated study and application of the strategies and techniques learned.
Sport Psychology is only for “Elite”
Although some practitioners and consultants do have a specialty with working with elite athletes, Sport Psychology is not just for those populations. In fact, most athletes, parents, coaches, of any age, level, or gender can benefit from working with a Mental Performance Consultant. (click links for articles, I do not own them just simply providing ways to find complete articles via Google Scholar!).
It helps performers deal with a wide range of things such as performing under pressure, handling performance anxiety or stress, increasing confidence, managing thoughts or emotions, overcoming setbacks such as injuries, staying focused and motivated, and many more.
Sport Psychology is not Useful
Many performers get frustrated when they simply read about Sport Psychology and expect their mindset to reach new levels. Understanding Sport Psychology concepts is important, but this alone is not sufficient to help a performer consistently perform under pressure.
Some people even call Sport Psychology a soft-science and that it has nothing to offer. However, there has been substantial clinically proven strategies from scholarly research that indicate Sport Psychology techniques do enhance performance.
At the same token, strategies and techniques must be carried out in a systematic and individualized fashion to gain the most benefit. There’s a reason why its Mental Conditioning and not Mental Magic.
Hopefully, debunking these Sport Psychology Myths have helped you understand a bit more of the importance of your mindset and why the mental part of sport and performance is a fundamental aspect to maximizing your potential.
The best is ahead,