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What Does A Sport Psychology Consultant Do? Do You Need This Specialized Mental Advisor?    This article gives you a broad overview of the world of sport psychology consultants. You will learn who uses sport psychology consultants, how they operate, and what they can do for you. A sport psychology consultant addresses critical sport learning and performance areas such as mental readiness, concentration, motivation, teamwork, communication, the zone and managing a sport career. Discover the many ways a sport psychology consultant can help you as an athlete, as a parent of an athlete, or as a coach.    1672 words.
The Mental Game Coach, Peak Performance Playbook

What Does A Sport Psychology Consultant Do?

Do You Need This Specialized Mental Advisor?

Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California

Sport psychology consultants are fast becoming far more accepted and utilized as a valuable competitive edge among athletes and coaches. A sport psychology consultant can be your secret weapon in your mental training arsenal. They can help you dramatically improve your learning, training and performance.

This article gives you a broad overview of the world of sport psychology consultants. You will learn who uses sport psychology consultants, how they operate, and what they can do for you.

I was fortunate to be the first person in the world to earn an undergraduate degree in sport psychology. I did this in 1978 at the State University of New York at Buffalo. I later earned two graduate degrees in related areas, and I have been working in the field as a sport psychology consultant for over 30 years, in over 55 sports. I have coached thousands of elite performers, seven national champions, and world champions. Recently, one of my clients, Miriam Nakamoto, won her fourth world kickboxing championship, and became the first U.S. woman in history to hold the WBC Muay Thai World title.

Who Uses Sport Psychology Consultants?

Sport psychology is no longer a well-kept secret. It seems everyone in sports uses this mind coach, at the very minimum, to avoid falling behind their competitors. Indeed, working with a sport psychology consultant can give you the winning edge. Virtually every college, university, national team, Olympic team, and pro team has a sport psychology consultant on staff. Look at the representation of sport psychology consultants being utilized across the entire range of sport:

  • Major league professional sport teams.
  • Minor league professional sport teams.
  • Individual professional athletes in every sport.
  • Olympic teams in every sport.
  • National coaching associations.
  • National teams in every sport.
  • University and college athletic departments.
  • University and college athletic teams.
  • Individual college athletes in every sport.
  • Coaches in every sport.
  • Parents in every sport.
  • Individual recreational athletes in every sport.

High Profile Championship Teams Who Use Sport Psychology Consultants

The top teams in sport regularly use sport psychology consultants to maintain the sharp edge of focus, determination and a winning mind set. Here are five well-known superstar teams that have sport psychology consultants on their coaching staffs:

  • Baseball World Series Champions New York Yankees
  • Basketball NBA World Champions San Antonio Spurs
  • NFL Football Superbowl Champions Dallas Cowboys
  • NCAA National Football Champions University of Nebraska
  • Baseball College World Series Champions Stanford University.

Which Sports Most Often Use Sport Psychology Consultants?

This is difficult to determine exactly, but based on the sport psychology literature, and other evidence, it is probably safe to say that golf is #1 and tennis is #2. There are no other sports that come close to these two in the volume of books and articles that are written on the mental game each year. Indeed, top pro golf stars like Ernie Els, Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, Mark O'Meara, Greg Norman, David Duval, Vijay Singh and Jack Nicklaus all have used, or are currently using, sport psychology consultants on their coaching teams.

Look at some of the big names in pro golf who have used sport psychology consultants. It's estimated that well over 300 of the pro game's players regularly use sport psychology consultants:

Steve Elkington
Denis Watson
Kirk Triplett
Dave Stockton
Lee Janzen
Cameron Beckman
Brandie Burton
Stephen Ames
Chip Beck
Davis Love III
Nick Price
Brad Faxon
John Daly
Brian Barnes

Christian Cevaer
Hollis Stacy
Beth Daniel
Woody Austin
Retief Goosen
Padraig Harrington
Michael Campbell
Frank Lickliter II
Fred Funk
E.J. Pfister
Kirk Triplett
Scott McCarron
Payne Stewart
Corey Pavin

Ben Crenshaw
Bob Estes
Donna Andrews
Justin Leonard
Hank Kuehne
Michelle McCann
Brandi Burton
Mark McCumber
Rachael Teske
Ju-Yun Kim
Nancy Scranton
Bill Glasson
Brian Gay
Charles Howell III

Ty Tryon
Luke Donald
Jim Carter
Frank Nobilo
David Morland IV
John Cook
David Frost
Mike Grob
David Ogrin
Matt Weibring
Gary Nicklaus
Billy Andrade
Stewart Cink

Do these 55 golf pros convince you that sport psychology is a must to get the mental edge? They play golf for a living and want every edge possible. They are already strong mentally, but want to continue to improve and so they seek the services of sport psychology consultants.

Let's take a look at how a sport psychology consultant can help you as an athlete, as a parent of an athlete, or as a coach. Here are seven areas in which a sport psychology consultant works, and how they apply this knowledge to sport learning and performance.

  1. A Sport Psychology Consultant Helps You Assess Your Mental Strengths And Weaknesses As An Athlete: You need to know where you stand, and what you need to do to improve your mental approach to your sport.

  2. A Sport Psychology Consultant Helps You Work Better With Your Support Staff: You need solid working relationships with the key people who support you in your sport. That would be your parents, coaches, trainers, teammates and anyone else who can help you. A sport psychology consultant helps you forge these important relationships.

  3. A Sport Psychology Consultant Helps You Learn More From Your Coaches: You need to know your learning style and needs, and how to communicate that to your coach, so you can work better as a team.

  4. A Sport Psychology Consultant Helps Guide You In Your Career: There are many challenges and potential wrong turns in a sport career. Your sport psychology consultant helps you create a vision for success, and to execute that master plan.

  5. A Sport Psychology Consultant Helps You Learn Mental Readiness: You must know how to prepare mentally and emotionally in your sport. A sport psychology consultant helps you devise a customized mental readiness plan for lessons, practices and competitions.

  6. A Sport Psychology Consultant Helps You Enter The Zone: The zone is the master key to your performance success. A sport psychology consultant shows you how to get there more often.

  7. A Sport Psychology Consultant Helps You Learn How To Motivate Yourself: You need a combination of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. A sport psychology consultant helps you achieve this delicate blend.

What Happens In A Sport Psychology Consulting Session?

Sport psychology consulting is a process, a learning experience. It's an opportunity to grow as an athlete and as a person. It's an enlightening growth process, and a very interesting one. You will learn more about yourself as an athlete, and as a person.

It's a special time that is all yours, for you to use any way that you see fit. It's your own personal mental training class and consulting session. It's a chance to receive personalized teaching from an expert in the mental game. It's a custom coaching class that focuses on your mind.

Here is what takes place during a sport psychology consulting session. This list demystifies the sport psychology coaching process and gives you confidence that your sport psychology consultant has your best interests and well-being in mind at all times. In the sport psychology coaching session you will be able to:

  1. Discuss any performance issues that trouble you or concern you.
  2. Talk about any emotional obstacles holding you back.
  3. Explore any technical issues that affect your mental game.
  4. Engage in creative exploration of how to resolve these issues.
  5. Understand the mind-body connection and how to make it work for you.
  6. Gain additional perspectives on your sport experiences and challenges.
  7. Feel deeply listened to and respected as you discuss your problems.
  8. Assess your mental strengths and weaknesses.
  9. Devise a mental training plan to help you overcome mental weaknesses.
  10. Discover learning experiences and exercises to help you become self aware.
  11. Share the kind of things and ask the kind of questions you would normally not be able to share with your friends, parents or coaches.
  12. Grow from being assigned mental training homework.
  13. Be assessed on a variety of mental measures to increase your awareness.
  14. Receive assistance in making better decisions about your issues.
  15. Benefit from a viewpoint other than your own.
  16. Make action plans to bring your goals to reality.
  17. Learn a wide variety of mental skills.
  18. See charts and illustrations to help you understand key concepts.
  19. Learn self-regulation skills for emotional, mental and physical control.
  20. Ask any questions you may have about your sport experiences.
  21. Discuss sensitive issues in a safe, confidential environment.
  22. Gain the perspective from someone who has been a successful athlete, coach and mental trainer.
  23. Set up weekly and monthly structures that help you stay accountable to your goals and dreams.
  24. Replace negative thought patterns with positive ones.
  25. Help you realize higher levels of confidence.
  26. Set goals that help you learn faster, perform better and enjoy yourself more.
  27. Familiarize yourself with the zone and be able to enter it more often.
  28. Navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of change.
  29. Experience high quality communication skills.
  30. Rehearse mental skills.
  31. Have a dialogue that helps you think and solve your own problems.
  32. Hear advice, suggestions and counsel.
  33. Receive ongoing support and feedback.

Now that you know more about how a sport psychology consultant works, you may want to seek more information and perspective from these helpful links in the field of sport psychology:

Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)

The International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP)

The European Federation of Sport Psychology (FEPSAC)

The North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity

International Society for Sports Psychiatry (ISSP)

Directory of Graduate Programs in Applied Sport Psychology

If you are an athlete, coach or parent wishing to improve any of the areas discussed in this article you need a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities with an assessment instrument that identifies your complete mental strengths and weaknesses. Here is a free, easy-to-take 65-item sport psychology assessment tool you can score right on the spot This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths and weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide in creating your own mental training program, or as the basis for a program you undertake with Bill Cole, MS, MA to improve your mental game. This assessment would be an excellent first step to help you get the big picture about your mental game.

If you are a coach who desires training and certification in sport psychology consulting as a mental game coach, you may be interested in the training program offered by the International Mental Game Coaching Association. The IMGCA certifies qualified individuals at four levels as Certified Mental Game Practitioners.

Sport psychology consultants can help coaches, athletes or parents in improving learning, training and performance. In the competitive arena of sport, you want every advantage you can get. The sport psychology consultant can be one of your most trusted advisors, and a key member of your success team.

Copyright © Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.

Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com), an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.

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