Sport Psychology and Performance Stress
Should I feel like a failure if I need to see a sport psychologist?
Last week I choked on a key play in a hockey game and ever since then I keep trying to push the memory out of my mind. Practices have been stressful and my coach just says to move on and practice, practice, practice. I know my coach is trying to help me but I feel even more stressed out about being in the situation again-the one in which I choked. My heart rate goes up when we do one on one breakaways and I just seem to lose all my skills in that moment. These are skills that I have worked on all my life! I just don’t know what to do and I don’t understand why this is so difficult. My captain recommended I see a sport psychologist, but I feel like a loser for not being able to handle this on my own.
Sport Psychologist and Performance
This is a common and very normal thought process for athletes of all levels. A sport psychologist is akin to a coach for your thoughts. Look at it this way-thoughts lead to actions, actions lead to outcomes. If that process is not efficient then an athlete will have mental stumbling blocks. A sport psychologist wants to work with your thoughts directly and provide mental tools for you to access at the right moment in order to work through mental blocks.
Recently, Minnesota State University opened the Center for Sport and Performance Psychology and the interim football coach, Aaron Keen, attributes some of his team’s success to the work they did with Cindra Kamphoff, a sport psychologist at the new Center. Keen began work with Kamphoff not knowing what to expect in regards to sport psychology, but Kamphoff showed him and his players new ways to think about performance. The biggest challenge, he said, was getting his athletes to stay in the moment. For example, many players were focused on the record or on being champions, but Kamphoff taught them ways to focus on getting better at completing the immediate task at hand or staying in the present moment. Keen was clear that the skills his players learned through Sport Psychology helped them to reach other goals, too. Click here for the link to the article about Minnesota State University.