How Sports Psychology Works

psychologyFor many people, participating in any sporting activity is a fun way to stay fit and active. A select few people may have a decent living by playing sports professionally. We cannot all be the same, as I find my pleasure serving client at Abingdon Tow Truck. One interesting sector of sports is sports psychology.

When we talk about sports psychology, it is a branch of psychology which places its focus on how individuals are affected by playing sports. It also deals with ways of improving the mindset of an athlete in order to perform to their level best in their specific sports. A sports psychologist has a good understanding of a person who participates in sports and working on improving their mental preparedness to excel.

 

Importance of sports psychology

Sports psychology is very important as it helps in understanding what motivates an athlete and what makes them perform to their level best. Professionals in the field of sports psychology are very knowledgeable and compassionate on matters that determine the challenges and pressures that many athletes face today. Athletes who take advantage of the advice and counseling that they get from a sports psychologist tend to perform better and have more fulfilling careers.

 

Starting a sports psychology career

To start a sports psychology career, it is important to combine physical education and psychology. There are many colleges and universities that offer certification in this career. Their programs are based on a blend of psychology courses and physical education ones.

 

Working as a sports psychologist

stressAthletes seek help and advice from a sports psychologist to boost their performance. This normally happens when an athlete starts to lose focus on their performance or feels that they have a potential to perform better. An athlete may become overly anxious or lose focus during a competition, prompting the need to seek help from a sports psychologist.

An athlete might also have some problems communicating with teammates, or even controlling their temper. They might also be looking for ways to motivate themselves to reach optimal performance. When a sports psychologist comes along, they may help in many ways including;

Enhancing performance – This happens through various mental strategies. These strategies may include self-talk, relaxation techniques, and self-talk. All these techniques can help an athlete overcome various obstacles and perform to their best.

Another way of helping athletes is in the sector of coping with the pressures associated with competition. These psychologists help athletes to deal with all levels of pressure from their coaches, parents, fans and other expectations.

Sports psychologists help athletes on matters of keeping up with an exercise program. Even the most motivated athletes who would want to work out every day may find themselves unable to keep up with their goals. Sports psychologists come in to help athletes on matters motivation and other related concerns.

Sports psychologists also help athletes recover from injuries. After an injury, an athlete may need assistance in tolerating the pain and adhering to all aspects of physical therapy. Sports psychologists also help athletes to enjoy their sports by promoting healthy self-esteem

Guide to Eating for Sports

nutritionThere are a number of factors that contribute to success in sports and one of them is diet. The diet of an athlete depends on a number of factors including the athlete’s goal, the environment he operates in and other practical issues. Research shows that proper nutrition is key to minimizing injury and optimizing performance for athletes.

When it comes to nutrition, there are three mains issues that must be considered. These include;

 

Carbohydrates

Athletes need glycogen that comes from carbohydrates. Glycogen is a form of energy that is stored in the liver and muscles. It is readily available and highly needed during strenuous activity. When you maximize glycogen prior to exercising helps an athlete to last longer. It also helps in delaying onset fatigue and increasing performance. The recommended dosage should be about 10-12 grams per kg of body weight. It should also be taken about 36 to 48 hours as pre-workout. When you are participating in low-intensity exercises, you do not need a lot of carbs.

 

Hydration

Hydration plays a very vital role when it comes to determining the overall performance of an athlete. When you experience fluid loss that is greater than 2 percent of body weight, it can have a significant impact on your performance. It can lead to impaired neuromuscular control, reduced cognition and pain in muscle joints all this increases your chances of injury. To minimize these risks, you need proper hydration prior to performing in an intense exercise. The normal recommended levels are one ounce of water per pound of body weight.

 

Electrolytes

As an athlete, you need an electrolyte supplement such as Gatorade which are taken along with carbohydrates. It helps in providing a very significant increase in resistance training such as sprint training and bench pressing. It is very important to maintain a balance between the electrolyte and water intake.

Other Considerations

There are other considerations that come into play when it comes to delivering an optimal performance by an athlete. One of these issues is rest time. Rest is very important to ensure an athlete gets enough time for muscles to recover. Most coaches push an athlete to rigorous training so that during the actual sport, it can be easy for them. Training methods and tactics also impact the way an athlete will perform. Ensure that you switch training patterns to be all round and perform to your best during most the challenging times.