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Practise what you preach!

Oh yes! As a sport psychologist my mind loves giving me nuggets of advice like this. Sometimes I act on them and other times I view them for what they are - simply thoughts. I shall now recount a recent experience where following my mind's nugget of 'practise what you preach' was helpful to my performance. I have been a type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic for nearly 30 years and have played lots of sports over that time. Tennis, Golf, Swimming and Beach Volleyball predominate. Each one provides its own very unique challenges both within the techniques needed to play well but also for my diabetes management (explosive action compared to steady exercise; immediate uncontrolled hormonal and glucose release vs no glucose release; need to reduce insulin vs need to increase insulin). Read more: Practise what you preach!

The Essence of Sport Psychology

Danger, panic, fear, error, uncertainty, yes uncertainty. Trying to understand the mechanisms by which a sport psychologist helps people improve their performance is no easy task. But one thing common across all sport performance related activities I have noticed is the unending presence of uncertainty. Emotions and thoughts enter and exit with their associated impacts, but the puppet master at the heart of our performance maelstroms is uncertainty. It is this that creates the turmoil we often feel. Read more: The Essence of Sport Psychology

What does a sport psychologist do?

This is a modern day age old question on which I hope to shine a little light. There is no trickery or magic applied by sport psychologists when working with sports people. As with all skill development, hard work and commitment are key to progression. Essentially, sport psychologists remove barriers that prevent a sports person's development and progress within their sport - irrespective of skill level. The means by which they do this are varied and qualified sport psychologists have commonly spent between 6 and 8 years learning rigorous techniques to achieve this end. That means they have spent 6-8 years studying how the mind works most effectively in sporting situations, how the mind influences performance and how skill is developed. In addition, they have been continuously supervised and scrutinised throughout their training. Read more: What does a sport psychologist do?

How can a sport psychologist help me?

There is a lot of mystery and intrigue about the way in which a sport psychologist will work with clients. Ultimately how a sport psychologist will help you is determined by their philosophy - namely what they think causes change to happen. Here are my thoughts on one way based on recent experiences. Read more: How can a sport psychologist help me?

The Ultimate Sport Motivation - All you have to do is ask!

I love talking to people about the sport they love and uncovering all those hidden moments of joy that provide people with the desire they have for their sport. However, sometimes it can take a lot of careful questioning before I am able to break through the barriers people mention which prevent them from improving. Lack of time, lack of practice, lack of natural talent, lack of money are all reasons cited for a loss of motivation or failure to improve. However, what I consistently find at the centre of the beating heart of the most motivated sportspeople (irrespective of skill level), is the ability to ask the right questions. This is fundamentally different from the ability to provide the right answers to the wrong questions.

Read more: The Ultimate Sport Motivation - All you have to do is ask!
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