SMP Resources

FAQ’s Regarding Sport Psychology

1. Definition of sport psychology:

“Exercise and sport psychology is the scientific study of the psychological factors that are associated with participation and performance in sport, exercise, and other types of physical activity”


2. Who consults with a sport psychologist?:

Sport psychologists work with all levels of sport and exercise participants; including but not limited to individuals sports, team sports, amateur, and professional levels.

3. What does a sport psychologist do?

Sport pyschology consultants may enhance performance by helping develop skill sets dealing with environmental, organizational, and systemic issues such as coaches, team dynamics, game preparataion, and injury rehabilitation. Ways they can assist are increasing motivation, self-confidence, controlling stress, and promoting relaxation techniques such as imagery.


4. Do sport psychologists deal with mental health disorders?

Frequently, a mental health issue may be what is causing a performance issue.  Many sport psychologist have a background in clinical psychology.  Common issues  dealt with include depression, anxiety, stress, obsessive compulsive disorder, and eating disorders. If the mental health issue can be resolved, performance may improve naturally on its own.


5. Who can I turn to for a referral to a sport psychologist?

In a collegiate setting an athletic trainer may be the best resource to assist in finding a sport psychologist. They will be able to direct an athlete to an individual involved with the university or to an outside resource.  

6. Is an athletic trainer a good enough resource for sport psychology?

Yes/No.  An athletic trainer is involved in many aspects of sport; pre-game rituals, injury rehabilitation, initial injury response, and provider of social support to an athlete are just a few. Although they are involved in all of this, athletic trainers are not nearly as qualified as a sport psychologist/consultant in dealing with mental or psych of sport issues.  It is always best to be referred out to a more qualified individual where the best care can be attained.

7. Does consulting with a sport psychologist mean I am weak?

Absolutely not. Sport psychologists work with a variety of issues to help enhance performance, relieve stress, and improve ability to cope with all that comes along with sport participation. Many professional athletes have sought out sport psychologist; Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Reggie Jackson are just a few who publicly acknowledge receiving benefit from consultation.

8. Sport psychology consultants located in the Twin Cities/Metro area:

 9. How do I know which sport psychology consultant is right for me?

The first item to look for when searching for a consultant are their credentials.  Clinical sport psychologists are certifed to address issues such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Sport psychology consultants will help with psychological factors in sport, exercise adherence, teamwork, program development, education on mental, behavioral, psychosocial and emotional control of sport. Both are recognized by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.

Look into the background of a consultant, find things in common, such as previous sport experience or techniques they specialize in that interest you. Being open to the treatment and believing in who you consult with may be a huge advantage in regards to results.

If in doubt, or you feel like a crises situation is going to arise, do not hesitate to call 911 or consult with a physician regarding issues. A physician can always refer out to a proper consultation source as needed.

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