The unsung wing.

When we think of sports, the first thing that hits us is a huge ground, players, tracks and courts. Rarely do we think of the referee and the coach. Hardly do we probe into the strategies behind it. Now, there is nil possibility about the psychological back bone of those strategies. How many of us know that sports psychology even exists?  Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers once claimed psychological help benefitting his career. Majority of people considered him crazy. But would such a successful sports person rely upon a “crazy thing” blindly? No. Sports psychology just has proved his efficiency. Sports psychology is the study of how psychology affects a sportsman’s achievement, develop strategic plans and enhance physical and mental activity. It is a relatively young branch of psychology but fast developing. While coaches’ paramount task is to focus on the physical part, sports psychology concentrates on the mental cognitive aspects to achieve goals.

A set of statistics says that players who get psychological assistance have predominantly struck a chord in the sports field. They have a higher scope for coping with stress, competitions and anxiety. This field emphasises basically on goal setting, stress and anxiety management, enhance performance, establishing exercise programs and recover from injuries. A lot of mental strategies does it instil in the sportsman to enjoy the sport and always drive forwards towards victory. Team building, problem solving, etc., are the major concepts of sports psychology. They also play a major role in maintaining the required diet, building self confidence, discovering the optimum stress level and so on.

The contemporary sports psychology is a diverse field. From planning how to play wise on the court to encourage non-athletes to get into this field, this stream has been an essentiality.  The wide range of techniques include Imagery, involves visualisation, concentration and goal setting; Motivation, speeding the efficiency of the players and increasing their spirits; Attention focus, to eliminate distractions by the hooting fan population during the game.

The 4 C’s have been the primary issues that need to be accomplished by the sportsperson with psychological help. The 4 C’s being:

Concentration, Confidence, Control and Commitment.

How do we find a sport psychologist? It is better to talk to other athletes and coaches who can provide better guidance and also probe into the history of these cases and then evaluate the best psychologist. Before agreeing to cooperate and benefit from the psychologist, make sure that he/she is well qualified and is professional, experienced and has a benefitted clientele. His/her membership with professional organisations like American Psychological Association is also important.

So, if you are one of those aspiring and successful sportsperson it is high time that you approach a sports psychologist. For betterment and victory!

Poornima Balasubramanian

I am a happy go person. Basically, love making friends. I spend my leisure by writing, reading, watching movies or sketching abstracts. I am a civil services apirant too!

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