We had our first online “Ask a Sport Psychology Consultant” session in June.
Here is one of the questions submitted, and how Brian answered it:
Question: Do SPINW psychologists accompany athletes to watch their performances in a real-world setting? If not, how can they possibly get a complete assessment of the athlete’s mental weaknesses and required remedies?
Brian’s answer: While it is not a normal part of our consulting, we do offer observation as part of our services in different packages. Most athletes/teams rarely ask for it though. I agree with you that observation could be beneficial, however, in my experience, I have found that a majority of my athletes have had a high success rate without observation. Similarly, I don’t have to be familiar with the intricacies of specific sports to help athletes’ mental game. For instance, my main sports are soccer, basketball and football, but I have successfully helped athletes from sport such as moto-cross, competitive cheer, distance running, and horse-back riding.
Sometimes I request athletes bring video of themselves so that I can see their body language, or have them explain a specific technique to me.
In my opinion, the reason observation is not 100% necessary is that most athletes who are determined to improve and get past mental blocks are very open with their thought and emotional patterns in their performance. I ask athletes to commit to at least 6 sessions – that way I can get to the heart of the issue through questions and counseling, and determine which techniques to teach and help ingrain into the athletes’ second nature over time.
Do you have any questions you’d like to ask? email them to firstname.lastname@example.org