Recently, I read this article about how sport psychology can help coaches and I thought that it would be nice to share with the blog readers what the authors found. Many coaches think of sport psychology as something for their athletes and do not realize that it can help them perform better as coaches as well. Dr. Sheehy and her colleagues interviewed eight high-performance international coaches and here are the main findings (filtered by me):

  • Working with a sport psychology consultant helped them manage better the pressure that is part of the coaching profession.
  • Sport psychology consultants helped the coaches develop their self-awareness. This self-awareness helped them reflect about their behaviors, how they interacted with athletes and staff, and even how they interacted with their families.
  • Sport psychology consultants also helped coaches improve their performance by:
    • Learning how to better control their emotions when things are not going well.
    • Improving decision-making (and being more confident on own decisions)
  • Coaches also said that the sport psychology consultant work helped them interact better with athletes by helping them understand better their own and their athletes’ behaviors. Besides, working with a sport psychology consultant seemed to help them be more mindful during their interactions.

The article goes on to discuss barriers such as stigma towards psychology (e.g., being weak-minded for using a sport psychology consultant) and limited financial resources to afford the services. They also mentioned that because it was not expected that they would have the help of a sport psychology consultant, it was not always a priority in the budget and time from the organization’s standpoint.

These are of course great improvements that the sport psychology consultant can help the coach to achieve. I would also add that sport psychology consultants can help coaches improve their communication as well by helping them think of: how to adapt their leadership to the team, how to communicate to their athletes in an effective way, and how to best use breaks and timeouts. This was implied in the interactions portion, but it’s one of the things that I think that are most helpful when I’m working with teams.

Does your message align with your behaviors? Are your athletes understanding you? If no, a sport psychology consultant may be able to help you. Want to know more? Contact us for more information.

Coaches: Sport Psychology Can Help You Too

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