Does A Sport Psychology Consultant Do? Do You Need This Specialized
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.
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
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:
Davis Love III
Frank Lickliter II
Charles Howell III
David Morland IV
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Discuss any performance issues that trouble you or concern you.
- Talk about any emotional obstacles holding you back.
- Explore any technical issues that affect your mental game.
- Engage in creative exploration of how to resolve these issues.
- Understand the mind-body connection and how to make it work
- Gain additional perspectives on your sport experiences and
- Feel deeply listened to and respected as you discuss your problems.
- Assess your mental strengths and weaknesses.
- Devise a mental training plan to help you overcome mental weaknesses.
- Discover learning experiences and exercises to help you become
- Share the kind of things and ask the kind of questions you
would normally not be able to share with your friends, parents
- Grow from being assigned mental training homework.
- Be assessed on a variety of mental measures to increase your
- Receive assistance in making better decisions about your issues.
- Benefit from a viewpoint other than your own.
- Make action plans to bring your goals to reality.
- Learn a wide variety of mental skills.
- See charts and illustrations to help you understand key concepts.
- Learn self-regulation skills for emotional, mental and physical
- Ask any questions you may have about your sport experiences.
- Discuss sensitive issues in a safe, confidential environment.
- Gain the perspective from someone who has been a successful
athlete, coach and mental trainer.
- Set up weekly and monthly structures that help you stay accountable
to your goals and dreams.
- Replace negative thought patterns with positive ones.
- Help you realize higher levels of confidence.
- Set goals that help you learn faster, perform better and enjoy
- Familiarize yourself with the zone and be able to enter it
- Navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of change.
- Experience high quality communication skills.
- Rehearse mental skills.
- Have a dialogue that helps you think and solve your own problems.
- Hear advice, suggestions and counsel.
- 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
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 © 2011-
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.
Free Re-Publishing Rights For This Article
You have our advance permission to republish this article,
as long as you do not sell it. The author's name, web address (MentalGameCoach.com)
and copyright notice (Copyright © Bill Cole, MS, MA) must appear
in all reprinted articles. If the article appears on a website or
in an e-zine, the article must include a link to a page in the MentalGameCoach
website. We would also appreciate your including the author's bio
and full contact information in your article, although this is not
a requirement. For additional information, see our full article
re-publishing permission guidelines.