A sports psychologist is somebody who focuses on psychology and performance. They have a graduate level education in Psychology, and they understand the unique set of challenges that an athlete might face. People think that sports are just about playing the game, but there’s so much more to it. During a game, you’re performing in front of an audience. There’s anxiety behind being the best player that you can be both during practice and on game day. If a player feels that they’re not performing to the best of their ability, they might experience Depression. Many high school and college athletes struggle to balance academics and the demands of their sport. There are many reasons for an athlete to see a sports psychologist. In addition to the challenges of the sport itself, an individual on a team might have a mental illness, to begin with in some cases, and a sports psychologist will be able to help them thrive.
How sports psychologists help players
Sports psychologists understand the mindset of an athlete. In addition to studying extensively, they’ve had hands-on experience and training. They know that athletes are under a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed and perform and to please the audience as well as their coach and fellow players. Playing on a team is only part of being involved in team sports; it’s also about understanding that you’re not always going to win and coping with the emotions that come up after the fact. There’s an extreme amount of pressure to win the game for a multitude of reasons, and that pressure can cause a mental battle for athletes. Many athletes struggle with perfectionism and, to serve the team, they might try to “push through” or ignore both physical and mental pain or stress, which only makes things worse in the long run. When we try to hide our struggles, we can only do it for so long before it starts to have a severe adverse effect on our lives and our well-being, so it’s essential to seek help when you need it.
Why winning is important
Winning isn’t just about competition. It’s about performing, and pleasing people, and sometimes, a student-athletes scholarship depends on their ability to play. A sports psychologist can emphasize with the unique struggles of an athlete and let them know that they aren’t just a member of a team. They’re people who need and deserve to take care of themselves independently as well, and there’s a balance to strike between doing the best that you can for your sport, your teammates, and your coach while taking care of yourself, too. All that you can do is the best that you can; that’s true in any job, but everybody makes mistakes. There are times that we lose, and that’s okay. Self-care and rest are often overlooked for athletes, but it’s essential to prioritize these things, and a sports psychologist can help you learn how to set aside the time to take care of yourself.
Sports psychologists and where to find them
You can find a sports psychologist in your local area. Or, you might be an athlete that’s extremely busy and wants to work with a psychologist online, which is a viable option, too. Online therapy is an excellent place to find somebody who understands what you’re going through and who can help you with your athletic career. Mental health is just as important as physical health is for athletes, and it matters. If you’re an athlete, make sure that you don’t overlook your mental health needs. A sports psychologist can help you talk through life challenges as well as struggles you’re having on the field.
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