How Does Psychology Affect Sports Performance?

By: Jennifer Heinemann, PhD

Whether you’re serving for “game, set, match” or preparing for tomorrow’s big presentation, optimal health and peak performance, in sports as well as life, integrates mind and body.

Athletic performance enhancement strategies help this process by reducing negative thinking and increasing positive thinking to:

  • Improve focus when faced with distraction
  • Increase relaxation under pressure
  • Build self-confidence
  • Encourage positive self-talk
  • And more.

Unwanted behaviors are eliminated and effective behaviors are strengthened.

Sports psychology, or performance coaching, helps teach and apply these strategies. These doctors of human behavior and the mind help clients recognize strengths, identify and reduce or eliminate the mental obstacles that impact sports performance and physical healing.

For athletes who want to take their sports performance to the next level, every possible advantage is needed. The power of the mind gives champions the extra edge they need to win and reach those rewards.

When an athlete’s performance is limited by mental blocks, self-doubt, stress, negativity or fears, mastering mind over matter is a necessity.

These obstacles can all get in the way of ultimate success and even enjoyment in participating in one’s chosen sport. They may be even more crippling to an athlete who is struggling with coming back after an injury.

Getting past the mental obstacles is essential to get back to “fighting form.” It also helps push through the barriers that exist between the injury and getting back to competition and full ability. For any and all athletes, performance can be improved by improving the mind.

Through peak performance coaching, positive mental and behavioral interventions can help increase focus and grow strengths in any given sport. The sports psychologist works with athlete clients to optimize goal setting, mental imagery, team building, performance enhancement, and stress and time management.

To optimize your performance on the court, track, field or pool, consider connecting with a sports psychologist. You’ll find the mind over matter DOES matter, and it can be all yours.

Learn more about sports medicine.