Psychological Problems &
Psychological Problems and Solutions in
How can an athlete tell when
a problem is
psychological? Robert Nideffer (1992), a professor at San Diego State
University and President of Enhanced Performance Systems, offered a
simple guideline. If an athlete is satisfied with his or her
performance on good days
but unable to reach that level of excellence during competition, there
might be a psychological problem. If the athlete is not satisfied with
his or her performance on good days, then the problem is one of skill
or training, not psychology.
A Client Centered Approach
Before any advise is given to the athlete, a few questions should be
asked to 1) gain further information and 2) build a rapport with the
athlete. These questions would inquire of their athletic history,
goals, past experiences with sport psychology techniques, past
experiences regarding refocusing, what do they mean when they mean by
"zone", insights to what they think the problem is, what they've tried
to do remedy the problem.
After listening to these concerns, the
sports psychologist may ask the athlete to describe the feeling they
had when they were in their "zone". The sports psychologist could
reflect on what the athlete has said or ask the athlete to clarify
certain details of what they have described so the sports psychologist
can 1) gain understanding to the athlete's problem 2) have the athlete
review this feeling 3) assure the athlete the sports psychologists has
understand what was expressed.
Next, the sports psychologist could ask
the athlete to explain what they feel is the problem. The sports
psychologist may ask the athlete how they feel when performing. Again
the sports psychologist can reflect and comment so the sports
psychologist may have a better understanding of their problem. At this
point sports psychologist would ask the athlete specifically if they
feel their problem may be "such and such", depending on the information
the athlete has shared. After the sports psychologist and the athlete
have discussed the possible causes of the problem, the sports
psychologist should follow up by asking the athlete what they think the
appropriate steps are in combating their problem. This may be
facilitated by asking the athlete to recall what steps had or had not
worked in the past in similar circumstances.
It is best if the athlete could
formulate an opinion of his own. As a consultant, the sports
psychologist would attempt to guide the athlete to plausible and
practical solutions. These solutions may incorporate mental exercises
or certain rituals depending on the suspected problem. The athlete may
have to learn how to refocus in doing their job, the process of
performing. The athlete must be encouraged shift the focus away from
winning and toward doing there best.
The athlete must learn to deal with
expectations from themselves and others. Perhaps the athlete has
demands placed on him from coach, family, teammates, friends, or fans.
Perhaps the athlete will benefit from visualization of successful
performances, arousal control through relaxation, self talk, or further
counseling. The possibilities are numerous. It is important to leave
many of the decisions up to the athlete.
The sports psychologist can act as a
- Encouraging the athlete in becoming their best;
- Reflecting issues, concerns, and possible solutions
of the athlete;
- Teaching the athlete what specific methods are
Student-Athletes' Mental Health Issues
A student-athlete’s “mental
health” might be viewed as secondary to physical health; however, it is
every bit as important. It makes little sense to try to separate the
“mind” and “body.” One affects the other. Medical problems often have
psychological or emotional consequences. Psychological problems (e.g.,
substance related problems, etc.) typically have medical consequences.
Some signs and symptoms of possible mental health problems.
sport psychology and sports counseling
Up to 15 percent of American
athletes suffer from psychosocial problems. Clinicians are searching
for solutions to problems - sport psychologists concentrate on
and mental skills training. Sports counselors focus on
the athlete's psycho emotional difficulties and development as an
Although the disciplines of sport psychology and sports counseling have
traditionally been distinct, the integration of these areas is
necessary for the effective integrated sport psychology/sports
skills training myths
psychological needs can be addressed by educational sport psychology
... Myth 3: PST Provides “Quick Fix” Solutions. Many people mistakenly
think that sport psychology offers a quick fix to psychological
The rules in
sport can be changed to suit the participants and environment to ensure
everyone can 'play' and that no one is excluded.
Corner: Making Youth Sports Safe and Enjoyable Many youngsters enter organized sports
programs before age 6, and ... playing techniques can only be learned
in a supervised sports environment, ... Competitive sports may increase
the potential for psychological harm to certain youngsters.
- Anxiety In Sports
May 6, 2010 ... Anxiety in sport is most common in competitive
sports environments and could also be termed competitive stress.
- PDF Youth
Sports: Innocence Lost In a competitive sport environment the
are guarded by officials and the important decisions are made by the
The following internet
links have been
gleaned from personal communications
and combined with
public institutions, plus athletic
organizations/ associations that have a web presence
with concerning team
materials are copy protected.
The limited use of the
materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given
for the source of the materials.