Sports psychology consultants are fast becoming
far more accepted and utilized as a valuable competitive edge among
athletes and coaches. A sports psychology consultant can be your
secret weapon in your mental training arsenal. They can help you
dramatically improve your learning, training and performance.
This article gives you a broad overview of the world of sports psychology
consultants. You will learn who uses sports psychology consultants,
how they operate, and what they can do for you.
I was fortunate to be the first person in the world to earn an undergraduate
degree in sports psychology. I did this in 1978 at the State University
of New York at Buffalo. I later earned two graduate degrees in related
areas, and I have been working in the field as a sports psychology
consultant for over 30 years, in over 55 sports. I have coached
thousands of elite performers, seven national champions, and world
champions. Recently, one of my clients, Miriam Nakamoto, won her
fourth world kickboxing championship, and became the first U.S.
woman in history to hold the WBC Muay Thai World title.
Who Uses Sports Psychology Consultants?
Sports psychology is no longer a well-kept secret.
It seems everyone in sports uses this mind coach, at the very minimum,
to not fall behind their competitors. Indeed, working with a sports
psychology consultant can give you the winning edge. Virtually every
college, university, national team, Olympic team, and pro team has
a sports psychology consultant on staff. Look at the representation
of sports psychology consultants being utilized across the entire
range of sports:
- Major league professional sports teams.
- Minor league professional sports teams.
- Individual professional athletes in every sport.
- Olympic teams in every sport.
- National coaching associations.
- National teams in every sport.
- University and college athletic departments.
- University and college athletic teams.
- Individual college athletes in every sport.
- Coaches in every sport.
- Parents in every sport.
- Individual recreational athletes in every sport.
High Profile Championship Teams Who Use Sports Psychology Consultants
The top teams in sports regularly use sports
psychology consultants to maintain the sharp edge of focus, determination
and a winning mind set. Here are five well-known superstar teams
that have sports psychology consultants on their coaching staffs:
- Baseball World Series Champions New York Yankees
- Basketball NBA World Champions San Antonio Spurs
- NFL Football Superbowl Champions Dallas Cowboys
- NCAA National Football Champions University of Nebraska
- Baseball College World Series Champions Stanford University.
Which Sports Most Often Use Sports Psychology Consultants?
This is difficult to determine exactly, but based
on the sports psychology literature, and other evidence, it is probably
safe to say that golf is #1 and tennis is #2. There are no other
sports that come close to these two in the volume of books and articles
that are written on the mental game each year. Indeed, top pro golf
stars like Ernie Els, Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, Mark O'Meara,
Greg Norman, David Duval, Vijay Singh and Jack Nicklaus all have
used, or are currently using sports psychology consultants on their
Look at some of the big names in pro golf who have used sports psychology
consultants. It's estimated that well over 300 of the pro game's
players regularly use sports psychology consultants:
Davis Love III
Frank Lickliter II
Charles Howell III
David Morland IV
Do these 55 golf pros convince you that sports
psychology is a must to get the mental edge? They play golf for
a living and want every edge possible. They are already strong mentally,
but want to continue to improve and so they seek the services of
sports psychology consultants.
Let's take a look at how a sports psychology consultant can help
you as an athlete, as a parent of an athlete, or as a coach. Here
are seven areas in which a sports psychology consultant works, and
how they apply this knowledge to sports learning and performance.
1. A Sports Psychology Consultant Helps You Assess Your Mental
Strengths And Weaknesses As An Athlete: You need to know where
you stand, and what you need to do to improve your mental approach
to your sports.
2. A Sports Psychology Consultant Helps You Work Better With
Your Support Staff: You need solid working relationships with
the key people who support you in your sports. That would be your
parents, coaches, trainers, teammates and anyone else who can help
you. A sports psychology consultant helps you forge these important
3. A Sports Psychology Consultant Helps You Learn More From Your
Coaches: You need to know your learning style and needs, and
how to communicate that to your coach, so you can work better as
4. A Sports Psychology Consultant Helps Guide You In Your Career:
There are many challenges and potential wrong turns in a sports
career. Your sports psychology consultant helps you create a vision
for success, and to execute that master plan.
5. A Sports Psychology Consultant Helps You Learn Mental Readiness:
You must know how to prepare mentally and emotionally in your sports.
A sports psychology consultant helps you devise a customized mental
readiness plan for lessons, practices and competitions.
6. A Sports Psychology Consultant Helps You Enter The Zone:
The zone is the master key to your performance success. A sports
psychology consultant shows you how to get there more often.
7. A Sports Psychology Consultant Helps You Learn How To Motivate
Yourself: You need a combination of intrinsic motivation and
extrinsic motivation. A sports psychology consultant helps you achieve
this delicate blend.
What Happens In A Sports Psychology Consulting Session?
Sports psychology consulting is a process, a
learning experience. It's an opportunity to grow as an athlete and
as a person. It's an enlightening growth process, and a very interesting
one. You will learn more about yourself as an athlete, and as a
It's a special time that is all yours, for you to use any way that
you see fit. It's your own personal mental training class and consulting
session. It's a chance to receive personalized teaching from an
expert in the mental game. It's a custom coaching class that focuses
on your mind.
Here is what takes place during a sports psychology consulting session.
This list demystifies the sports psychology coaching process and
gives you confidence that your sports psychology consultant has
your best interests and well-being in mind at all times. In the
sports psychology coaching session you will be able to:
1. Discuss any performance issues that trouble you or concern you.
2. Talk about any emotional obstacles holding you back.
3. Explore any technical issues that affect your mental game.
4. Engage in creative exploration of how to resolve these issues.
5. Understand the mind-body connection and how to make it work for
6. Gain additional perspectives on your sports experiences and challenges.
7. Feel deeply listened to and respected as you discuss your problems.
8. Assess your mental strengths and weaknesses.
9. Devise a mental training plan to help you overcome mental weaknesses.
10. Discover learning experiences and exercises to help you become
11. Share the kind of things and ask the kind of questions you would
normally not be able to share with your friends, parents or coaches.
12. Grow from being assigned mental training homework.
13. Be assessed on a variety of mental measures to increase your
14. Receive assistance in making better decisions about your issues.
15. Benefit from a viewpoint other than your own.
16. Make action plans to bring your goals to reality.
17. Learn a wide variety of mental skills.
18. See charts and illustrations to help you understand key concepts.
19. Learn self-regulation skills for emotional, mental and physical
20. Ask any questions you may have about your sports experiences.
21. Discuss sensitive issues in a safe, confidential environment.
22. Gain the perspective from someone who has been a successful
athlete, coach and mental trainer.
23. Set up weekly and monthly structures that help you stay accountable
to your goals and dreams.
24. Replace negative thought patterns with positive ones.
25. Help you realize higher levels of confidence.
26. Set goals that help you learn faster, perform better and enjoy
27. Familiarize yourself with the zone and be able to enter it more
28. Navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of change.
29. Experience high quality communication skills.
30. Rehearse mental skills.
31. Have a dialogue that helps you think and solve your own problems.
32. Hear advice, suggestions and counsel.
33. Receive ongoing support and feedback.
Now that you know more about how a sports psychology consultant
works, you may want to seek more information and perspective from
these helpful links in sports psychology:
Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)
The International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP)
The European Federation of Sport Psychology (FEPSAC)
The North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical
International Society for Sports Psychiatry (ISSP)
Directory of Graduate Programs in Applied Sport Psychology
If you are an athlete, coach or parent wishing to improve any
of the areas discussed in this article you need a comprehensive
overview of your mental abilities with an assessment instrument
that identifies your complete mental strengths and weaknesses. Here
is a free, easy-to-take 65-item sport
psychology assessment tool you can score right on the spot.
This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths and
weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide in creating
your own mental training program, or as the basis for a program
you undertake with Bill Cole, MS,
MA to improve your mental game. This assessment would be an
excellent first step to help you get the big picture about your
If you are a coach who desires training and certification as a mental
game coach, you may be interested in the training program offered
by the International Mental Game Coaching Association. The IMGCA
certifies qualified individuals at four levels as Certified
Mental Game Practitioners.
Sports psychology consultants can help coaches, athletes or parents
in improving learning, training and performance. In the competitive
arena of sports, you want every advantage you can get. The sports
psychology consultant can be one of your most trusted advisors,
and a key member of your success team.
Copyright © 2010 Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on sports psychology, peak performance,
mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William
B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps sports teams and individuals
achieve more success. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association, an organization dedicated to advancing
the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching
worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published author of books and articles,
and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports and big-time
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