Mental training Q & A - How to work with a sports psychologist?
1. Who will be beneficial from Sports Psychological training?
You will be beneficial from mental training if you are serious about achieving your best result in sport, whether it means achieving your personal best, or overcoming a mental block such as fears, anxiety, lack of confident, or coming back from injuries. Other athletes get help by improving their motivation, changing a limiting self-belief, or increase resilience
2. Why should you have mental training?
In every sport, there are 4 aspects that athletes need to be good at: Physical, technical, tactical, and mental.
At lower level of youth athletes, some teenagers may have physical advantages due to the earlier growth. This helps them perform better compared to their peers. However, as they get closer to the professional level, the physical differences between athletes are very small because everyone has almost a similar physical ability. At that stage, the gap in mental toughness among athletes makes a huge difference between winner and loser.
3. How many sessions should psychological training be?
It depends on several factors:
- How serious your issue is? Some athletes have 1 issue, others may have several issues linked together.
- How long has the issue been bothering you? If you have not had much mental training when you were young, chance is you may have several unproductive habits which need to be adjusted.
- How much are you aware of your issue and what is going on around you? Some athletes have less awareness of what they do during competition, or what it takes to get better. This is frequently happened with teenage athletes.
- How coachable are you? While most athletes are willing to take in new input, some athletes like to rebel or keep quiet to themselves, which makes the process much longer than needed.
- Have you had any previous mental training before?
- Do you want a long-term mental training solution or just a quick fix one mental issue?
4. What should I expect in the first session
- In the first session, I will spend sometime to understand you and your background, including your family situation, how you start your sport
- One purpose of the first session is to let me understand you as much as possible. Only when I understand you and your challenge, I can give you advices that are suitable to your situation.
- Another purpose of the first session is to identify the root cause of the problem. Many times, athletes may come in with a general issue of lacking confidence. Upon analysing it deeply, we can find out what was the main reason that leads to the lack of confidence.
5. How long is each session?
Each session will last from 75 – 90 minutes depends on the topic that we discuss
6. What is the frequency of mental training?
I suggest we meet once every 2 weeks or 3 weeks at most. This way you can have time to practice the skills I shared on practice training. We will review how well you applied these skills in the next session.
You cannot go gym once a week and expect yourself to become a bodybuilder. Similarly, mental training requires a lot of repetition from your end to change negative habit, or make a new habit permanent. Practice does not make perfect, it makes permanent. The more effort you put into mental training, the stronger your mind will be when you need it the most.
7. Should I expect any homework?
You should expect homework, and some of them can be quite challenging. I believe in changing habit by doing, not just listening passively. In this process, athletes need to be proactive in doing the work and planning our sessions to match their busy schedule. While I will be providing direction and guidance, it is the athletes who will make the decision to change and stick to it by practicing these new skills again and again in training and competition.
8. Do I need to meet face to face or it can be done online?
It is absolutely normal to have online conversation with me. Even before Covid time, I have already consulted various athletes at different countries using app such as: Facetime, WhatsApp, Zoom chat...