The job of sport psychologist

Speaking to young sport psychologists often I say that beyond the content they want to develop, the objective of the consultant process in sports is that our business must be perceived by coaches and athletes as useful. Years ago Autogenic Training was very popular and was often taught to athletes, who learned to relax but often not perceived usefulness in relation to their performances. Sometimes athletes who met told me: “A colleague learned me to relax, but then I stopped because I did not understand what it needed.”
Athletes are people oriented to practice, evaluating the effectiveness of training depending on the results that can be achieved. The psychologists are too often geared to demonstrate their competences and sometimes they are rigid in the application of the techniques. So, for example,it  is expected to reduce the competitive stress through relaxation  or to improve the concentration only through mental rehearsal.
They should instead develop a program of mental training based on the needs of the athlete and in relation to sport practiced. In addition, the athletes are pragmatic people, who appreciate those who provide them tasks to practice, being able to test their utility during training. Task of the psychologists must be to propose activities that they consider to be perceived as useful, for the reason they are intended to improve at least one aspect of the sport performances. Anything that does not produce this effect will be stored by the athlete as an interesting experience but useless. Then:
  • Listen to the athlete and / or coach
  • Understand their needs
  • Understanding these requirements to which behaviors are
  • Assume in what way and with what techniques these behaviors can be learned / improved
  • Determine which are the parameters for which you can say that this has been achieved
  • Share this journey with the athlete training
  • Put in place and whether and how to correct
  • Evaluate their own work (during and after)

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