What Constitutes A Successful Athlete? The Answer Lies In Psychotherapy


Importance of mental training for athletes

It’s hard enough trying to complete your studies and train on a daily basis without mental health tripping you up. Psychology is inexorably linked to physical health — when your mental health is suffering, every other element in your life stands to follow suit. The important of mental training for athletes cannot be understated, with psychotherapy becoming more and more a common resource for those attempting to balance school, training and a social life. Just like your body, your mind can be trained to be more focused, more balanced and, overall, more happy.

What Is Sports Psychology?

While psychology has similarities across multiple different fields, what differentiates sports psychology from the rest is its unique discipline in helping athletes achieve the best possible physical and mental balance possible. Sports psychology emphasizes a psychological skill known as ‘mental imagery’, containing five general categories to help people find more concrete methods of tackling mental wellness — cognitive-specific, motivational-specific, cognitive-general, motivational-general mastery and motivational-general arousal.

How Does Mental Wellness Affect Athletes?

Due to the rigorous discipline that athletes need to undertake in order to compete, mental wellness, or a lack thereof, can make or break even the best training regimen. A survey saw 80% of coaches rating mental toughness as the most important set of psychological characteristics an athlete can have to achieve competitive success, with elite athletes themselves reporting that 50% of their superior athletic performance is the result of either mental or psychological factors. From basic mental wellness to severe mental illness, psychology is the underpinning of everything we do in the day-to-day.

What Are Important Athletic Qualities?

Being physically fit and flexible is important, but it’s far from the only element that determines a capable athlete. Developing mental toughness through psychotherapy methods has been proven to greatly influence an athlete’s finishing time — among the variables that determine a good performance (from weather to nutrition), mental toughness and wellness accounts for nearly 15% of the outcome. An NCAA study on the experiences of college athletes saw 60% of student athletes viewing themselves as more athletes than students most of the time, to boot.

What Is Anxiety?

It helps to know some of the more common mental illnesses so you can know how to approach them. Anxiety is a well-known spectrum of disorders, ranging from social anxiety to panic disorder, and one that can greatly interfere with everyday tasks — difficulty socializing, panic attacks, nervous breakdowns, shaking, nausea, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping and irrational fears are but a few of the symptoms of any anxiety disorder. However, progress can be made with the aid of psychotherapy. Studies have shown 60% of anxiety prone people showed notable improvements in their daily anxiety levels after six to nine months of meditation, for example.

how Can Sports Psychology Techniques Help?

Whether you’re an athlete looking to improve your performance or a coach that wants to bring out the best in their students, it’s important to contact a licensed clinical psychologist to learn more about mental training for athletes. Mental wellness is being focused, invested and emotionally open at all times, while mental illness should be properly diagnosed and examined in order to be better understood — while mental illness never truly goes away, its symptoms can be managed and reduced in the day-to-day to encourage better performance records. Psychology is more than just some numbers on a paper. It’s who we are.

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