AN ATHLETE came to see me because he was struggling during competitions, despite having the skills in practice. After learning some new strategies in sports psychology, he was able to excel during games, and even ended up getting recruited to his first-choice college.
Sports psychology is the practice of using psychological principles to optimize sports performance. It is the secret ingredient to peak performance.
What you say to yourself, the thoughts and beliefs that race through your mind, impact not only how you feel but also how your body functions.
Consider this, have you ever been to the Skydeck in the Willis tower and stood on the glass floor 103 stories in the air? If so, you likely experienced a visceral reaction: increased heart rate, sweaty palms, perhaps even shaky hands.
If you are like most people, you were likely feeling anxious. Your mind was focused on ensuring you were safe. For many people, this is not a time when they can have a thoughtful conversation or even move their body with its usual sense of ease. Even though you know, rationally, that you are safe, for many, the subconscious has other thoughts. And they control your body’s reaction.
A similar reaction can occur in athletes. Despite rationally knowing, “this is just a game,” concerns such as “what if I mess up” or “I have to do well in this game or else I will never get into college” can take over on a deeper level. And such distress can interfere with optimal athletic performance.
Scientists estimate that we have about 60,000 thoughts every single day. And while we are not usually aware of most of those thoughts, they still impact how we feel and how we function.
When I work with athletes, we help them control their minds, so those thoughts work for and not against them. This is not about repeating superficial affirmations. That is often more like putting a small band aide on a deep wound. Instead, I use a process that I created called Neuro-Regenerative TrainingTM (NRT), where we rewire their brains.
Now, when I say rewire, I am not talking about shock therapy. You see, every thought we have are just nerves firing in a certain pattern within the brain. There is a saying in psychology, “Nerves that fire together, wire together.” That means, the more you have a thought, the more likely you are to have it again and again. This is usually an unconscious process.
Consider, if I said “ABC” to you, you might start singing the alphabet song, even without meaning to. Why? Because you heard the song over and over again as a child, and likely sang it repeatedly as a child and, if you are a parent, to your children. It has become hardwired in your brain.
NRT, which combines research-supported cognitive behavioral therapy, neuro-linguistic programing and skills training, allows athletes to take control of their mindset. This translates into optimal performance. And, the beauty is, once they learn these skills, they have them forever. That means your athlete can use them as they progress with their sport. And, because these skills are also effective at promoting perseverance, grit, emotional regulation, and healthy self-confidence, your child will benefit from acquiring these skills for the rest of their lives.
So, who would benefit from working with a sports psychologist? Here is just a sampling. Athletes who:
- Want to gain the mental edge
- Desire to get recruited for their sport (college or professional)
- Have trouble moving past mistakes/errors
- Are dealing with an injury and not wanting to lose their competitive edge
- Perform better in practice versus competition
- Have trouble getting along with coach or teammates
- Get stuck “in their head”
- Experience difficulty controlling emotions and stress
- Struggle with playing at their highest potential
Effective sports psychology can help your athlete take their game to an entire new level. And that is what we specialize in at EleVive. Our motto? Elevate your mindset; thrive in life.
If you want to help your athlete excel to their maximal potential, contact EleVive. Your athlete, and their team, will appreciate it. (Their competitors, however, will not!)
For more information about EleVive, visit elevive.com.