Some performance coaches focus solely on the factors existing on the field that may be impacting performance. Their belief is that the obstacles that occur on the field exist only on the field- there is separation between personal and athletic realms. However, I disagree. I have seen athletes whose personal struggles have crossed the sidelines and impacted their athletic performance. Some athletes don’t even recognize that the root of the problem exists outside of the athletic arena- it is only through exploration that the realization occurs.
Although I do not make personal exploration the primary focus of treatment, some exploration is conducted into the personal factors that may be causing distress for the athlete. Financial, marital, health, and familial stressors, among others, can be so burdensome for some athletes that despite the fact that their attention needs to be present focused during athletic performance, they are unable to push the distressing thoughts out of their mind long enough to play. If the personal issues go unresolved, the problem will not only continue to exist, but will likely continue to deteriorate as the stress increases. As a clinical psychologist, I have been trained to help individuals deal with a variety of issues that may be causing significant impairment in their lives. Even though it can be difficult for some athletes to discuss personal matters, it is important for them to recognize that the end goal remains the same as when they first walked through the doors of my office: Improving Athletic Performance to Optimal Levels!!
Dealing with personal issues begins with the exploration of the root of the, including when the problems began. The difficulty maintaining focus may not be an attention issue, even if it presents that way initially, but instead is the result of larger personal issues that need to be addressed. As the personal stressors become resolved, the on field issues will typically dissipate.
This does not mean that the root of every athlete’s difficulty lies in their personal life, but for some it does. Be open and honest with yourself and your sports psychologist so that you are making the most of your sessions, and doing everything that you can to improve your performance. Personal issues do not make you weak, but ignoring them can be detrimental to your game.
MVP Mentality Sports Psychology serves athletes of all ages and levels across Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Wellington, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Hollywood and the surrounding communities. Call us today at 954-317-0551 or contact us online to learn how MVP Mentality Sports Psychology can give you the techniques you need to overcome mental blocks.