What exactly is sports psychology?
Sports psychology is an integrative field that derives a significant degree of knowledge from many areas, including sports medicine, physiology, kinesiology and various disciplines in the world of psychology, also. Essentially, sports psychology centralizes the importance of psychological phenomena and how they interact with athletes and their overall performance.
Generally speaking, this discipline serves the purpose of educating athletes on various psychological skills that are applied to the realm of performance. However, sports psychology may even provide coaches and parents with various communicative, team building and career related techniques that channel psychology concepts. There are many areas of sports psychology, which you will learn about below.
The study of personality, and its vast implications to athletics and sports, is one of the many practical realms of sports psychology. This area centralizes its research on personality and how it ultimately translates to increases or decreases in athletic performance. Certain personality attributes may be more conducive to superior athletic performance than others.
One such example of a personality profile, in this field of study, is that which describes one’s level of mental toughness. Mental toughness may not translate to increased levels of athletic performance, in some cases. In fact, it often contravenes one’s desire to perform optimally. Mentally tough athletes generally embody a specific set of characteristics, including fortified self confidence, inherent motivational drive, an intent degree of focus, along with a sound mind during troubling circumstances.
One of the reasons why this may not guarantee a performance edge in the realm of sports is because the basis of high performance is not a generalized sense of confidence, but rather, self-efficacy. Self-efficacy refers to the belief that one can actualize goals for a specific task. The general belief in one’s abilities may not necessarily permit high performance in a particular sport overall. In the realm of sports psychology, this is sometimes referred to as sports confidence. Arousal is the notion of utilizing one’s psychological state to prompt action.
Another key element in the personality realm of sports psychology is the notion of motivation, which is the willingness to perform as specific endeavor or goal. It is possible for athletes to receive both external and internal sources of motivation.
Youth sports are another critical area of sports psychology. This realm of psychology is uniquely devoted to crafting sports programs designed for youth under the age of 18. Essentially, research in this discipline of sports psychology helps unearth any hindrances that may be impairing youth sports performance and participation, as well. This is critically important because the mainstream media and mainstream sports are now impacting youth athletes. They try to emulate what they see on television.
This discipline of psychology is also attuned the practical life skills required for youth to thrive in their sports performance. For example, this includes the behavioral, mental and emotional components needed for consistent sports performance and participation overall. The versatility of these concepts are clear, as they are widely applicable to a number of other areas of one’s life.
Another critical facet of this field of sports medicine is burnout, which is referred to depersonalization, a lack of will power to achieve a grand sense of accomplishment, and emotional deprivation. This can result from excessive training, injury and a number of other factors. And finally, the notion of parenting can play a consequential role in helping harness a child’s inner capacity and willingness to perform and achieve.
Coaching channels the motivational and empowerment elements of sports and training. For example, while a sports psychologist may very well focus on the personality aspects of an athlete, a coach can elicit positive, psychological patterns by utilizing coaching techniques. Moreover, coaches have been known to implement effective interventions for the sake of removing limitations and helping an athlete actuate their true potential.
Coaches recognize that athletes are impacted by both contextual factors, and environmental circumstances, as well. This is often termed the motivational climate. Coaches can actually synthesize different motivational climates in order to achieve the desired goal. For example, they can do so by imposing specific tasks, or implementing ego-based techniques.