(See the non-sport areas I can help with too below).
Clients often ask if I am an expert in their sport. This is an understandable question. I answer honestly, that almost inevitably, I'm not. However, I am an expert in sports psychology - on assessing the situation brought to me to identify when a difficulty occurs, and when it doesn't - though we might expect it to, look at what happens (the good and bad), understand the impact it has on the person, what the person has already tried or thought would help. I do much more, but this should give you an idea of what happens before any suggestions are made. It's not as simple as problem 'A' means that the solution is always 'X' - whatever the situation or person.
Despite not being an expert in most sports, I always meet with one - YOU! You bring the problem and together we discuss the situation.
In fact, clients (individuals and groups) have commented that it is refreshing to get a perspective outside their own sport because they get suggestions other than those that are popular within that particular sport.
If you want to get more of a flavour of how I've worked with people from a range of sports, please take a look at my testimonials page.
Non-sport areas that I can help with
The expertise I have with clinical and sports psychology can help you even if you aren't an athlete or involved in sport. Some activities that can be helped are performances areas where confidence, stress management, focus and team work (amongst other areas) are important. For example I have helped people within:
- Dance and ballet
- Professional singing (e.g., opera)
- Making presentations or pitches in the business world
- Mainstream art (e.g., painting)
10 ways Sports Psychology can help your performance
- Manage pre-event tension and worry so you arrive at the venue fresh and ready.
- Focus on the elements that are key for your optimum performance, without getting distracted by the minutiae of your performance or what others are doing.
- Develop routines for pre- and post-performance execution so you exert more control and consistency over your game.
- Manage the emotions (stress, frustration...) associated with competition.
- Maintain confidence in your ability to hold your performance or bounce back.
- Set goals for the year, month and next session to shape what you do, focus your efforts and ensure that you improve more quickly.
- Re-visit why you are in sport, what motivates you, and set-up training so you increase motivation.
- Develop images and visualise your performance - this speeds up learning and increases confidence.
- Process the experiences that hold you back so you can get back to performing well.
- Manage poor performances so they don't cause your round or year to self-destruct.
Performance problems and solutions
As you can see there are many ways that sports psychology help. To give you a further idea of what sports psychology can do I’ve listed some common problems below along with some of the ways (but by no means all the ways) I try to solve them. Perhaps you will spot your difficulties in some of the descriptions.
Problem: You get yourself worked up into such a state before even minor competitions (or performance tests) that you feel extremely nervous, you want to leave, and sometimes you even vomit.
Solution: After a full assessment of the difficult situation and your response we can apply a tailored stress management programme to reduce your physical and mental stress. (Alternatively, you can order my Stress Management CD - pay via PayPal).
Problem: In your last competition you performed so badly that your confidence has taken a big fall.
Solution: We can look at that competition in detail to understand what sense you’ve made of why it happened, and at the impact it has had on you since. We then produce a stepped plan for you to get back on track, increase your confidence to its previous level (or above) and overcome the setback.
Problem:Your performance has reached a plateau and hasn’t improved for a while. You set goals but don’t reach them.
Solution: Effective goal setting isn’t simple or a once a year activity. But with help you can learn to set appropriate and achievable goals, set up training or practice so you are likely to reach them and to conduct appropriate reviews of progress so goals can be lowered or raised over time. You will then be much more likely to achieve more than before.
Problem: You get distracted at key times of your event. At times you suddenly become aware that you are behind in a head-to-head, when it is too late to bounce back, or focus on the scoreline, or what others may be thinking about you..
Solution: We can work on techniques to improve concentration skills, identify the types of factors that distract you. We also identify the times when you don't need to concentrate fully or you can think of other things so you don't use up all your concentration energy early-on.
Problem: You’ve been training and competing for a number of years now and it has become repetitive, boring and mundane. Your motivation has gone. You wonder if there is any point of doing this for another year.
Solution: We can review why you are in your sport, why you got into it in the first place, then plan your year so it is more focused, fun and interesting. These and other techniques can help you to boost motivation and enjoy your sport again.
Go to the free psychological tips page which will help you to:
- Boost motivation
- Increase confidence
- Manage nerves
- Develop powerful imagery and visualisation skills
- Develop better concentration
- Set better goals
Go to the books and links page where you'll find my review of some books, if you want to follow the do-it-yourself approach.
Read about the different help I offer:
Effective · Tailor-made · Professional
Dr Victor Thompson