Sports psychology is a relatively new branch of psychology, which concerns athletes and their partners, at individual and team level. More specifically, sports psychology concerns:
- athletes at team and individual level
- the coaches
- the referees
- the administrative members of the teams that are directly related to the competitive part
- Athletes’ parents, if the athletes are minors.
The main concern of the sports psychologist is to deal with the problems that concern both the athlete and his psychology on a personal level, as well as the general smooth operation of the team. In order to achieve the above goal, the cooperation of the psychologist with the whole team is necessary for the better support of both the athletes and the coaches.
More specifically, the goal of a team session with a sports psychologist is:
- maximizing athlete performance
- managing defeat and victory
- Stress management inside and outside the sports arena
- assessing and maintaining the psychological state of athletes and coaches
- maintaining motivation
- Commitment to the goal
- consolidation of determination and militancy
- Learn how to resolve potential conflicts immediately
- team-based operation
- healthy energy release
- Learn management techniques for abrupt changes due to career termination or interruption due to injury.
Psychological Preparation Program
The Psychological Preparation Program is applied in a team context during the competition and preparation and aims to develop skills for managing dysfunctional emotions and situations that can negatively affect the athlete and consequently performance. The program consists of 4 stages which are directly connected to each other.
- The first stage concerns the taking of history and the evaluation of the psychological state of each athlete and coach using questionnaires as well as the evaluation of the cohesion and teamwork of the team. At this stage, in addition, goals are set which the athlete and the coach are committed to. Finally, an information is provided on the general principles and modalities of Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy.
- In the second stage, problem management techniques are taught according to the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. More specifically, the learning of techniques concerns the stress, the crises in the team, the athlete’s self-confidence, the difficulty of concentrating and anything that may concern the athlete and affect his performance.
- In the third stage, the application of the techniques of the second stage in daily conditions of competition and training is encouraged.
- In the fourth and final stage, the initial goals are evaluated and redefined after the end of the season, as well as preparation for a possible cessation or cessation of the sport.