The importance of sports psychology: This is how it helps you reach your goal
The sports psychology is a branch of psychology that is gaining increasing importance for their great contribution when athletes reach their goals. Having a psychologist to help from your field can often mean the difference between reaching a goal or staying on the road.
Patricia Ramírez is a sports psychologist and explains: “If you do not train, if you do not work or if you do not have talent, that’s the main thing, without that you will not get it, but if you do all that, sports psychology is a plusthat it can help you achieve the goal you want and that only with work you do not get “.
“Sports psychologists help athletes to manage and control the psychological variables that intervene in the practice of their respective disciplines”
Sports psychology is another branch of psychology, such as clinical psychology or forensic psychology, which studies ” how, why and in what conditions athletes, coaches and spectators behave the way they do as well as investigate the mutual influence between physical activity and participation in sports and psychophysical well-being, health and personal development “according to the manual of Introduction to Sports Psychology.
In the most pragmatic aspect, Ramírez explains that sports psychologists help athletes to manage and control the psychological variables that intervene in the practice of their respective disciplines and that can affect their performance and results.
What are those variables?
Some of these variables are the following:
1. The concentration
The ability to focus on a task or exercise without anything or anyone from outside to distract us in order to get the best possible performance and not miss the opportunities.
This, which is important for any task, is especially in sports competitions where the environment can be full of stimuli , and also when a race or game is your great opportunity to demonstrate your performance and deconcentration can ruin everything your work.
2. The attention
Closely related to the above: athletes need to be absolutely attentive to their activity , especially those of elite and high performance. Distractions can take their toll at the worst moment.
3. The motivation
It is the central axis of the work of any person, and even more so of any athlete. Participation in the effort depends on properly oriented goals and objectives well defined and delimited.
Again, an important factor for anyone who is crucial to athletic performance. It is a reasonable belief that we are capable of achieving our goals successfully.
5. Cope with the pressure
The pressure of doing a good performance, winning, demonstrating one’s own abilities can negatively influence the above factors. That’s why part of a sports psychologist’s job is to help manage pressure and expectations so that they do not become a problem .
How does a sports psychologist work?
Each person is different and therefore it is difficult to establish a single method of action, but there are some procedures and tools that may be common.
To begin with, an evaluation and diagnosis is made to determine in which areas the athlete needs to work with the help of the psychologist. They can include any of the aforementioned variables or any other.
From here, a planning of the intervention to be carried out is established and the tools to be used are considered . These are some of them:
It seems very simple, but it is not. It consists in learning about oneself , how it reacts to certain situations and why, in what moments it feels safer and in which less, what it is that leads to deconcentration and what strategies can be put in place to solve it …
Just as it is important to maintain attention and not deconcentrate at crucial moments, it is important that athletes learn to relax both physically and psychologically so that pressure does not build up and end up causing problems such as injury, insomnia or deconcentration.
It is a technique that helps to visualize the goals and objectives and the way to go to achieve them . Thanks to it, motivation, concentration and confidence are exercised so that all the psychological variables are aligned with the objective to be achieved and the steps that must be taken to achieve them.
Is it common to turn to a sports psychologist?
Patricia Jiménez explains that there are different reasons why athletes come to your practice:
“Many times it’s a matter of lack of confidence : they’ve suffered an injury and it’s hard for them to recover mentally afterwards, other times it’s because they’ve been training for a long time, and training well, and they want to get that extra that your head can give you .”
According to Jiménez, although the figure of the sports psychologist is becoming more common, it is not yet present in a generalized way in the field of elite athletes because many times the coaches do not fully understand their role and see them as a challenge to his authority.
Among recreational athletes, about whom there is less pressure when practicing sports, therapy with sports psychologists is much less common because in general it is not necessary.
If you still believe that there is some psychological aspect that is limiting your performance, and it is something you want to overcome, go to a specialist’s office, make sure that you are adequately trained and qualified and let yourself be helped.