I have been involved in a wide variety of sporting settings that have helped me develop my skills and experience in the sport psychology field. I have been involved in Netball training camps where I worked with young female athletes as well as their coaches. I have been involved with the University of Johannesburg’s men’s and lady’s hockey sides. I have also seen a wide variety of individual athletes ranging from gymnastics, to golf, to running and cricket. As you can see, I have experience in both team and individual events, working with youth and adult, male and female athletes.
What is Sport Psychology?
Sport psychology is a field that incorporates the use of psychological knowledge and mental skills to help athletes achieve optimal performance and well-being. Furthermore, athletes will be assisted in the developmental and social aspects of sport participation.
Sport specific psychological interventions are designed to provide assistance to athletes and other sporting individuals such as coaches, administrators and parents. Athletes from a wide variety of settings, any level of participation, all ages, ranging from recreational junior athletes to professional master level athletes can benefit from the services that sport psychology provides.
Skills and Procedures Utilised
There are many procedures and approaches that are used to address the problems that athletes and other sporting participants face. Some of the main strategies that are used include the following:
- Cognitive and behavioural skills training to enhance sporting performance: Goal setting, imagery, attention control strategies, developing self-confidence and competence in sport, the utilisation of cognitive-behavioural emotion-regulation techniques, self-regulation management, sportsmanship and leadership skills.
- Counselling and clinical interventions: Sporting motivation; weight management and eating disorders; substance abuse; adjustment, grief, depression, loss and suicide; burnout and overtraining; sexual identity issues and aggression and disciplinary difficulties; performance injuries and rehabilitation and career transitions.
- Consultation and training: Team-building, systemic interventions with parents and families that are involved in youth sport participation; educating coaches with regards to motivation, communication, leadership skills and the development of talent; and the psychoeducation of coaches and other administrators in the early detection and prevention of psychological difficulties in the sporting context.