No one really talked about applied sport psychology until recently, but it has been known in one form or another for almost as long as people have played professional sports. It used to be called gamesmanship. Basically, in its most basic form, it is about psyching out your opponents while building yourself up. Sports psychologists talk about the importance of being in the zone and of creating an intimidating presence on the field. Once you have the momentum, as long as you can stay with it you can usually win. Although there are games that are a tossup until the very last moment, many games are decided within the first few minutes of play. What decides these games?
The psychology of sports is interesting not only to professional athletes, but to anyone with an interest in the mind, especially if they are into the psychology of peak performance. You see, it involves many elements. Part of it is about competitive thinking, but it starts way before the teams get to the field. In essence, sports psychology is about winning, and winning requires dedication at every stage of the game.
If you wait until you play a match to apply the principles of sports psychology, you probably won’t do really well. Before that point, you need to have a winning attitude or else you will not be prepared. Training is one of the most important and difficult areas to apply to it. You have to keep your energy up each and every moment of each and every practice, or you will not be able to win. This requires all kinds of mental tricks. Sports training methods, in fact, involve many psychological techniques such as visualization, the chanting of positive phrases to create a positive attitude, and even meditation to enhance focus.
Although it is a new field, the opportunities for people with sports psychology degrees are growing every day. Many of the most successful teams in professional sports employ sports psychologists, and although they get very little of the glory, they are instrumental behind the scenes. Sports psychology is no longer a set of folksy tricks used by athletes to intimidate each other. Instead, it is an essential component of athletic training, athletic matches, and an athletic lifestyle. The psychology of sport and exercise is even used in gyms to help normal everyday people with their workout routines. Once you become aware of psychology sports, you can see it everywhere.
By: Ian Botham