Mental barriers are experienced by everyone in every profession. Then why is it that at times mental barriers in the world of sports are ignored? One of the possibilities of the same could be the myths that are attached to the field of sports psychology.
There is a reluctance towards the psychological element of performance and to commit time developing strong mental skills. In this article we’ll look over the common myths that may be holding you back from taking your performance to the next level.
Myth #1: Sports Psychology resembles counselling therapy.
There is half truth to this statement. There are some similarities that sports psychology shares with counselling, such as: ethics and the mental health issues addressed. But the process and the setting differ. The process resembles that of the coaching. Likewise, a sports psychologist will focus on your goals and help you achieve them. One great advantage of a sports psychologist is the flexibility in the approach, you can yourself choose what kind of approach you would like: a therapist or a coach.
Myth #2: Sports Psychology is for the mentally weak.
The term ‘mentally weak’ implies that one is inherently weak, which is wrong. There are many elite athletes who seek a sports psychologist on a regular basis. Kobe Bryant has worked with a ‘Mindfulness Meditation Coach’, now you won’t call him mentally weak, would you? To shatter this myth ask yourself, why do you work with a coach? Are you weak in your abilities to carry out a free kick or a backstroke? You work with your coach to improve yourself. This same logic goes towards sports psychologists; thus, sports psychology is for everyone.
Myth #3: Mental training ONLY focuses on the negatives.
Mental training in reality focuses on your strengths, it recognizes your abilities that you carry out naturally and then shifts your thinking to WHY you can achieve the goals you chart out for yourself instead of thinking that you are not good enough. A sport psychologist will work with you to teach different techniques on how you can stay focused in your game and on the positive elements of the same rather than getting distracted by things that you can’t control.
Myth #4: Sports psychology is only for the ELITE.
Sports psychology is for everyone. Everyone has the capacity to mental train. Players, parents, coaches everyone can benefit from the various techniques and mental tools addressed by a sports psychologist.
For young athletes who are performing well, it’s a good idea to consult a sports psychologist. When one consults a sport psychologist, they can become more mindful of the feelings and thoughts associated with performing well. You want them to recognize what they are doing well. This will help athletes keep their momentum and reach peak performance more often.