Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Roles of a Sport Psychologist

There are several roles of a sports psychologist. Each role can help an athlete or team enhance their practice and provide information to improve the technique or performance.

Educator

Some sport psychologists can fill an educational role in a educational establishment, teach other coaches or producing educational information. Many of the psychologists work in the education sector teaching pupils in Universities and Colleges and teaching courses such as Sport Psychology or Sport & Exercise Science. Some work with clubs or athletes to educate them on the effects and how sport psychology can help improve their performance. 

Not only do they teach about the benefits psychologists can do, they can help the athletes not develop addictions to alcohol and smoking for example which can lead to a worsened performance. To do this they firstly they remove any stigma against seeing a sport psychologist as the athlete may think they are there for a negative reason, They then work with the athlete for any improvement they may need. Other qualified psychologists can work with the NHS to produce educational information to patients or to the general public.


Researcher

This role is where the psychologist is also active in developing the industry further as they can contribute their own knowledge and techniques. Sports psychology research is vital as it can be used to tell how an athlete will respond to a certain injury or which methods can improve the athletes technique the most to improve performance in a certain situation. Without people researching more/further into sports psychology there will be nothing new to apply and go forward, using advanced techniques that could work better.


Consultancy

This role involves working with athletes or a sports team in the hope to develop a players psychological skills that may help in many aspects of life. The psychologist will work on many aspects such as performance enhancement, injury rehabilitation and team building exercises. This is often done through many workshops and clinics where the psychologist and performer(s) are involved in activities. This can be done in groups or on a 1 on 1 basis so athletes can allow the psychologist to have as much information to help advise the athlete better.


Performance enhancement

In this role the sports psychologist will help the athletes develop skills to help deal with the stressful situations they face each time they perform. Techniques such as imagery, controlled breathing and relaxation can be taught to control their situation and stay controlled so they perform to their maximum potential. This will enhance performance because if a Golf player is on the last hole he needs to maintain focus so by doing the techniques it reduces the fear of doing the shot badly. Doing these techniques successfully will make it likely that he will achieve his goal of potting the golf ball in less amount of shots, enhancing performance.


Lifestyle management

As the athlete develops into a professional figure they must adjust to a lifestyle that allows them to meet their personal and professional commitments. Many athletes often make positive lifestyle choices which include good nutrition, plenty of rest or down time, watching the TV or even playing video games and maybe even leisurely play other relaxing sports such as Golf to relax further on days off of training. (B. Tulloh 2014)

However athletes can make bad lifestyle choices and may develop addictions to gambling, alcohol and other recreational drugs, as well as smoking and antisocial/ unruly behaviour. All of which can really affect their performance negatively. Not only is it bad for performance, their public image will be under scrutiny as if they are successful athletes they will be bad role models to the younger generation. Sport psychologists can also help in getting specialist people to help help athletes with their life choices by introducing them to smoking specialists, nutritionists and personal trainers if they are needed.


Injury Rehabilitation

When anyone is injured they feel frustrated at not being able to do every day things like before. If the athlete has a serious injury and needs assistance a lot of activities they will feel embarrassed and sorry because they will think they are a burden on the person they are receiving help from (L.Crust 2015).For a few athletes if an injury is so bad or the frequency of them is, they may be forced to retire because they cannot rebuild their psychological state after each injury. This is where  Petitpas and Danish (1995) developed a new four stage method when working with athletes between their injury period and their return to competition. It is made up of the following areas;

Rapport - This is the beginning of the injury where the psychologist will ask the injured athlete for their thought and feelings that they have do they can build a relationship whilst letting the athlete know that the psychologist is there if needed.
Education stage - This is where the sport psychologist consults other people such as therapists or surgeons on advice of what the next cause of action needs to be taken, they need to consult others because sports psychologists are not registered as specialists.
Skill development - This is where they teach the injured athlete new psychological skills to help aid when injured and whilst playing regularly later down the line.
Practice and evaluation - This is when the athletes practice the skills from the previous stage and develop them further so they can be ready for being implemented back to full time sport again.

Team building

Team building activities are vital in sports teams as you need to get on well with your team-mates and have a good morale to work together and achieve the best they possibly can for the club. If you have fractions in the relationships of the team, everyone can suffer as the fluidity of communication and teamwork can be broken. This would negatively affect performance. 
  Team building is an important role of a sport psychologist because high levels of team cohesion lead to higher levels of performance. This role involves the sport and exercise psychologist helping each team member to understand how they can best benefit the team and where they fit in with the team, and helping people overcome barriers to team cohesion such as injuries, players being transferred and disagreements.

References
B, Tulloh (2014) Stress management in sport [Online] Available from http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/sports-psychology-stress-management-in-sport-358 (Accessed 27th Septmeber)

L.Crust (2015) Psychological rehabilitation techniques [Online] Available from: http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/archive/psychological-rehab.html (Accessed 27th September)

4 comments:

  1. Marcus,

    You have produced a good but basic blog which would have potentially benefitted from some pictures or videos, making it more interactive. However, the content is all there. You have spoken about/explained the 7 key roles of a sport and exercise psychologist, from researcher to consultant etc. You have used a couple of references also, just remember it's Surname then initial on your reference page.

    Merit.

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