Sport Psychology Coaching for Athletes
Sport psychology coaching is a way for athletes to improve their performance by developing stronger mental skills. It is also a way for them to overcome mental game challenges that are holding them back and keeping them from enjoying their sport.
Here at Success Starts Within, we offer one-on-one sport psychology coaching to athletes of all ages. I’ve worked with athletes as young as nine, all the way up to the professional level in a variety of sports.
What I want to do with this article is discuss the main things we work on in sport psychology coaching and how the coaching is set up so you can decide if it’s a good fit for you.
What is Worked on in Sport Psychology Coaching
It’s difficult to say exactly what will be worked on during mental coaching because of the individuality of the program. The coaching is tailored specifically to you as an athlete. But we’ll get more into that in the next section.
While the work is custom, there are general mental skills that will be worked on. These will include:
A key skill for all athletes is confidence. During sport psychology coaching, you will not only learn how to build confidence, but develop an understanding of where your confidence comes from.
This is important because if you keep looking for confidence in the wrong places, it will continue to be fragile.
For example, you will learn how to trust in yourself, rather than looking to people like your coaches and teammates to boost your confidence.
Developing Stronger Focus
There are many distractions present in sports. These distractions can not only cause drops in performance, but also many mental game challenges such as sports performance anxiety and fear of failure.
For that reason, it’s important for you to learn how to control your focus. Through the use of different sport psychology and mental training tools, you will develop stronger focus which you can apply to practices and games
Self-talk involves the thoughts you have and how you speak to yourself. These thoughts have a huge impact on the way that you feel during a game. But more than that, the thoughts you have on a daily basis shape the image you have of yourself.
As you continue to speak negatively or in an unhelpful way, this shapes your self-image into one of low confidence. Before a game or during a game, if you continue to speak in such a way, you will experience high levels of anxiety and fear.
It’s simple to understand that you should think more positively and productively. But simple doesn’t mean easy. A sport psychology consultant will teach you how to alter your natural thoughts patterns, making it easier to use more positive and productive self-talk.
Resilience comes in many forms within sports.
There is the resilience you need following a bad game to motivate yourself to perform well the next game. There is the resilience during a game to let go of a mistake. And there is the resilience you need if you don’t make a team, just to name a few.
By working with a sport psychology coach, you will develop an increased ability to be resilient. This is done by learning how to take these negative and frustrating situations and turning them into opportunities to grow as a player.
When you are wanting to improve anything about yourself, you first need awareness. You need the understanding of how your thoughts and emotions are formed and how they influence each other and your actions.
You will learn how to be more self-aware, which also helps you during games. For example, if you want to let go of mistakes better and not get so down on yourself, you first must recognize when this is happening.
Then, you must identify what thoughts are driving your feelings. Only then can you work to change your thoughts and alter your reaction.
As an athlete, do you want to be in control of your thoughts and feelings, or do you want them to be in control of you? Of course you want to be in control of what you think and how you feel. Unfortunately, that’s not the easiest thing to do.
Through the use of specific mental training techniques, you will develop a stronger ability to manage your thoughts and regulate your emotions.
This helps you let go of mistakes better, feel more confident as you begin a game, and reduce sports performance anxiety and fear.
Building Mental Toughness
The above mental skills, along with many others, combine to build a stronger mindset.
Within mental coaching, you will learn what it truly means for you to be mentally tough. In addition, you will make use of the tools that are necessary to build mental toughness.
As you progress with the coaching, each tool and new skill you adopt will be targeted towards the development of a stronger mind.
How Sport Psychology Coaching for Athletes Works
In the previous section I introduced some of the main mental skills worked on within sport psychology coaching. But what you may have noticed is that they were all positive skills. None of them included overcoming something negative such as fear or anxiety. Why is that?
Well, the reason is because of my philosophy when it comes to coaching. I believe that we need to understand what is currently holding you back, but then the solution to overcoming it is selecting the proper positive skills to build.
For instance, it is the development of confidence that works to reduce the fear of failure. It is the growth of self-management that helps to decrease the impact of perfectionism.
The work performed is very proactive. Meaning we look into the past to understand, but then our focus shifts onto the development of positive mental skills moving forward.
But as I said, we first must look into the past, which is where the coaching begins. Examining your current mindset through the use of an assessment.
Mental Game Assessment
The first phase of coaching is an assessment. At Success Starts Within, this assessment will take a few days to complete and is an in-depth examination of your current mindset. The questions aren’t difficult, but they do require you to think.
Two things happen which is why I like the assessment so much. Number one, I get a better understand of you and your mindset before our first session.
Number two, it provides you with an opportunity to perform some introspection, and so you enter the first session with more understanding of yourself.
Mental Coaching Plan
Using the information gathered from the assessment, I will create a custom mental coaching plan for you. This plan will be what is followed throughout the coaching to ensure we stay on the right path towards your goals.
The plan will include the top mental game challenges you’re facing and the main mental skills we will work on building that are aimed at overcoming those challenges.
Weekly Coaching Sessions
The sport psychology coaching we offer is performed virtually. This means that you can have access to mental skills training no matter where you are in the world.
Each week, we will have a 50-minute, one-on-one virtual coaching session. This is where we will dive into your mindset, implement the coaching plan, and begin developing stronger mental skills.
The coaching calls are important because that’s where we begin to work through some things, and you will learn the tools and techniques you need to build mental skills and make positive change happen during games.
But that’s only part of the process. The other part happens in the days between the calls through the use of action steps. These are exercises you will do to begin putting the tools you learn into practice.
Every four weeks we will have a check in to make sure we are still on the right track with the mental coaching plan.
During the check in, we will get an idea of how the coaching is going and make any tweaks to the program that you may need. This will be an opportunity to make sure our focus is flowing in the right direction.
How to Get Started?
If you’re ready to get started with sport psychology coaching, the next step is to schedule a call with me to learn more about the program and see if it’s the right fit for you.
To read more about sport psychology coaching and what athletes are saying about the coaching, please click here.
If you have any questions, there is an email form at the bottom of this page you can fill out and I will be happy to get back to you.
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of success in all that you do.
Contact Success Starts Within Today
Please contact us to learn more about mental coaching and to see how it can improve your mental game and increase your performance. Complete the form below or schedule an introductory coaching call here.
Master Your Mental Game With One-On-One Coaching
Get one-on-one mental performance coaching to help break through mental barriers and become the athlete you're meant to be!