What is it?
If you’re wondering what Sport Psychology is, well it can be simply described as the study of how psychology influences sports performance. If you think about it, our thoughts, feelings and behaviours can all have an impact upon the way we approach sport, but quite often we leave this area of sports performance unchecked in favour of other areas that we’re perhaps more knowledgeable about.
Take a look at this image below. As sports people we tend to traditionally focus on the technical, tactical and physical aspects of our sport. For example, we spend hours improving our fitness, hours improving our technical ability and hours on the tactical aspect of our 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 it new?
You might think that it’s a fairly new discipline of Sport Science, given that media coverage of sports people seeking sport psychology support has only made headlines in recent years. However, 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.
Reduce fear of failure
Overcome mental barriers
Where do I start?
Well our website is a great place to begin. Here you will find lots of useful blog posts and links to online courses so that you can select the topics that interest you the most. We provide courses for individuals, and also for groups. If there’s anything specific that you’d like further support with then say hello via our contact form.