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Understanding Sports Psychology Services

This blog entry was written to help address the questions that are most often asked about treatment.

Can Sports Psychology Help My Child?

Many times I receive phone calls from parents describing the trouble that their child is experiencing in their sport. After the description of the problem, the parent always asks, “Is this something that you can help with?” Sports psychology focuses on helping an athlete at any age in any sport overcome mental obstacles that are interfering with optimal performance. Obstacles can range from internal struggles to external factors.

Internal Factors

  • Anxiety

  • Lack of Confidence

  • Fear

  • Attention and Focus Deficits

  • Trouble Managing Pressure

  • Motivation Difficulty

  • Trouble Managing Their Emotions

External Factors

  • Conflict with Teammates/Coaches

  • Factors at School

  • Trouble at Home

  • Injury Rehabilitation

  • Communication Trouble

These various factors can translate to the field in many ways; an athlete who becomes visibly upset/angry over a mistake: an athlete who is an amazing practice player, but falls apart during a game: an athlete who loses focus and/or can’t remember the plays: an athlete who no longer has fun in a sport that he/she used to be so passionate about: an athlete who doesn’t believe that they are good enough.

Why Would Trouble at School/Home Cause Trouble on the Field?

Although we often think that one aspect of our lives can be separated from another, it often doesn’t work that way. Stressors, if not managed properly, can and will cross the sidelines and join you or your child out on the field. The more one tries to push these stressors outside of their mind, the stronger the stressors push back and interfere with athletic performance. As a result, MVP Mentality takes a holistic approach to treating athletes; it doesn’t mean that the doctor will probe into various areas of your life looking for problems, but will assess the factors that come up in treatment to ensure the best possible outcome.

Does My Child Need to Be Dealing with Trouble to Receive Services?

Often times in psychology there is an emphasis placed on helping someone to deal with problems they are experiencing. However, you or your child does not need to be experiencing struggles in order to seek out services. Sports Psychology can also help optimize sports performance. Through an in depth diagnostic interview a specific and detailed treatment plan can be developed to meet your specific needs. Identifying the specific skills needed to excel in your sport is essential to enhancing performance. Techniques to help you or your child perform better can include: Neurofeedback, Self-Talk Training, Relaxation, Creating Pre-Performance Routines, and Visualization

How Long Will I or My Child Need Treatment?

Unfortunately, there is no way to say how long treatment would be necessary. Due to the fact that everyone’s situation is different and treatment is tailored to each athlete, length of treatment varies. The athlete’s level of participation is also a factor in treatment success; the more motivated an athlete, the quicker results may be noticeable.

Who is Qualified to Help Me or My Child?

Wherever you seek services, be sure to ask about the qualifications of the person providing the treatment for you or your child. Be sure to look for education and experience when choosing a provider. At the minimum, you would like for your provider to have a Masters Degree if not a Doctoral Degree. If a provider calls him/herself a “Psychologist” be sure that they have both a Doctoral Degree and are licensed to practice in the state you reside in; psychologist is a protected term in the state of Florida so a provider must satisfy both of the above requirements to utilize that term. Given that athletes are a unique population, you also want to be sure that the treatment provider has experience working with athletes. Some offices may have a doctor overseeing treatment, but a technician or psychology student providing the services. It may not necessarily mean that the people are not qualified for the services they are providing, but be sure to ask enough questions so you can feel comfortable with your treatment provider.

Whether you or your child needs help overcoming a problem, wants to enhance their athletic performance, and/or bring back the joy of the game, sports psychology can help! Feel free to contact MVP Mentality to discuss services that can be tailored to your specific needs.

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