What Is Sport Psychology And How Can It Empower Me?

What is it?

Sport Psychology can be described as the study of how psychology influences sports performance. Our thoughts, feelings and behaviours can all have an impact upon the way we approach sport, but quite this area of sports performance can be left unchecked.

Traditionally, there is a focus on the technical, tactical and physical aspects of sport. For example, teams and individuals might spend hours improving fitness, technical ability and tactical aspect of performance. But…how much time do we allocate to improving our mental fitness to perform?


There’s an urban quote that suggests:

“Sport is 90% physical and 10% mental, but it’s the 10% mental that gives us 90% of the problems”

We could also flip this and suggest that actually;

“Sport is 90% mental and 10% physical”

In either case, the psychology of sport is an important aspect of performance that we shouldn’t leave unchecked. We should invest in improving our mental fitness to perform just as much as we invest in our commitment to improving our physical, technical and tactical prowess.

Is Sport Psychology new?

Sport psychology has been around for longer than you might think. Way back in 1898 a psychologist called Norman Triplett found that cyclists performed better when they were competing against others, as opposed to when they cycled alone.

From here on in, other psychologists began to study sports performance and the discipline grew in popularity and gained worldwide recognition. Many academic journals are now dedicated purely to the study of sport psychology. Today, many countries have their own recognised bodies specifically for sport psychology research and practice. Some of these include the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, the British Association for Sport and Exercise Science, the British Psychological Society and the Australian Psychological Society to name a few.

Who is Sport Psychology for?

Quite simply it’s for anyone. Any sport. Any level. No matter what your sport or level of ability, sport psychology can have a positive impact on how you perform.

In the past, sport psychology has had a bit of a stigma from the sports community, with some people thinking that it’s equivalent to seeing a ‘shrink’. Thankfully, attitudes are changing and the sports community is more understanding of the many benefits that come with embracing it.

What can it help with?

Sport psychology can help with addressing specific issues, but it can also help with maintaining your performance at a consistent level. Some examples are below, but there are many more ways that sport psychology can help you.

  • Improve confidence
  • Reduce fear of failure
  • Improve concentration
  • Improve motivation
  • Overcome mental barriers

Next Steps

I run a range of one to one Sport Psychology workshops which you might find of interest - check them out and see if there's something that interests you!

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