Sports psychology is one of the areas of both social and general psychology. It has appeared recently. Before this, the role of psychologist had been done by a coach, who also played almost all the other roles in a team or individual training.
Sports psychologists do not specialize in a particular kind of sport. One specialist can successfully work with wrestlers, gymnasts, shooters and football players. There is also no dividing on team and individual. Though it is considered that it is more difficult to work with a team.
Nowadays sports psychologist is one of the most popular professions in the industry of personal and team sports in Europe and America. The work of a sports psychologist is very multifaceted, but in general there are two main directions in his work: educational and advisory functions.
Aims and directions of a sports psychologist
Educational direction is sportsmen and coaches studying about psychological methods and techniques of performance quality improvement and wins. And it is about coaches studying in the field of psychological knowledge that can help to affect his team players.
Advisory direction is first of all about helping sportsman to overcome their personal problems. But according to statistics, a small part of sports psychologists is engaged in this practice, because it is necessary to have a specialization and experience in clinical psychology.
A sports psychologist helps to avoid emotional burnout of a sportsman, coach and team players. And in case it has already appear, a sports psychologist is always on time can diagnose it with special psychological techniques. And then he quickly brings the person to the norm, increasing professional results.
A sports psychologist’s aims:
Sports career guidance (determination of the most suitable sport for a child)
Preparation for competitions (elimination of anxiety, motivation)
Strategy development in the competition time
Definition and resolution crisis states
Help a sportsman to improve the results, increase the responsibility and effectiveness of the team
Helps to adapt new players in a team
Helps to achieve the desired results in sports
Develop relaxation techniques to restore mental and physical norm after games (performances)
How does sports psychologist work
At the very beginning a sports psychologist should understand who is the client of his work and what is the aim.This is the time of drawing closer to a sportsman or a team. There is an opinion that in order to obtain reliable information about sportsmen and to get a possibility of effective changes in their activities, a sports psychologist should not be a short-term visitor, but a full member of the coaching staff. As the trust of the athletes is earned only with time.
Studying the problem
Then a sports psychologist begins to study the problem. Testing helps to identify insufficiently strong and well-developed sides of a person. This can help not only the psychologist to understand the sportsman, but also the sportsman to understand himself.
Plan and action
The programaimed to correcting the difficulties is made for the sportsman. It is based on obtained information. In the program there must be marked the goals and indicators that demonstrate their achievement. Therefore, during the program sports psychologist has an opportunity to assess the result of their activities.
During the program a sports psychologist helps to achieve results with minimal mental trauma and bad experiences. He makes and offers original solutions to individual problems.
Coach VS sports psychologist
It is known that in many teams the coach does administrative, financial and psychological functions as well as coaching. But it is a necessary measure due to the lack of qualified stuff. And however, there is no doubt that a good coach is familiar with the basics of psychology, his main task is still sports achievements. While sports psychologist should ensure that in the process of training and competitions athletes are not affected by stress too much.
Only the experienced psychologist can notice bad changes in the state of a sportsman in time and immediately start the correction.
Another role of the psychologist is to be a kind of “buffer” between a coach and a player. If the coach develops sports anger and other stressful behaviors in players in order to win, the psychologist softens the tension, without affecting the achievement of a good result.
In most cases, the attitude to a sports psychologist by a team is suspiciously. So, maybe it makes sense to perform the psychologist as a coach assistant.