Sports psychology techniques: a matter of magic?
Sports psychology techniques can help many people, but there are no magic formulas. In the world of physical activity and sports, psychology is a discipline that still has a long way to go. There is a lot of confusion about what the role of psychology is and what benefits it brings.
In my opinion, despite the progress that sports psychology has made today. Its importance has not yet been understood. There are people who see psychology as a fundamental part, others believe that only work on an individual level with athletes. Others that should be dedicated only to high performance or that only serves for the training phases are those who do not “believe” in it, those who think that only serves to work motivation, etc.
The sports psychology techniques and its scope
There are different ways of thinking, something logical considering that the thinking of people differs greatly from one to another. However, sometimes this one is too similar.
Within these views on sports psychology, there seems to be one that, in my opinion, is unfortunately shared by many professionals (or not so much) of the world of sports. This I have observed in comments, questions that people have asked me, requests for help, etc., both from people who value our work in this field as something important, as well as from others who do not have as much faith in its usefulness. If you get injured, follow these 10 commandments to prevent injuries.
Whether due to an extra confidence or a lack of knowledge, or a reaction provoked by the frustration derived from a competitive situation , many times coaches and athletes come in our search when “almost (all) fish is already sold” see if we are able to solve a situation that they have been trying for some time, or not, in a few hours.
I would like to know what kind of magic they think we can do psychologists to think we can give a 180-degree turn to their situation, devoting a tenth of the time they have spent a whole season, without getting it. Because one reality is that, many times, we count on our work when there is no other option, to “put out fires”, forgetting the preventive work. And those times, they tend to coincide with situations that are already difficult to overcome.
The worst of all is that in the end, in most cases, the situation does not vary enough, reinforcing the idea that the professional sports psychologist should not engage in sports and should be limited to being in a clinic, following the medical model, more popularized in our sector.
I dedicate this article to commenting on this situation, without wanting to convince of the importance of my work, with the sole intention of helping to understand that psychologists do not have a miraculous pill that changes things overnight.
There are no shortcuts: change requires effort
Like any physical or technical-tactical training, psychological training requires time, work and dedication. If a runner seeks to increase his resistance, he will not achieve it in two workouts but will require a constant work through which he will obtain over time a series of improvements until reaching the desired performance. In the same way, if this runner wanted to optimize the handling of the concentration and of the relaxation prior to the competition, it would not be enough with a day or two of practice to acquire that skill.
As with training, the same happens with the work of the sports psychologist. Just as a coach who arrives new to a team needs to gain the trust of the group, get them to believe in their work and follow their purposes; A sports psychologist needs to know the people with whom he will work and, fundamentally, gain their trust to work and develop their proposals, convinced that this will help them achieve their goals.
All work well done, in the long term, depends on the same factors: time, dedication, perseverance. There are no miracles. The success in achieving the objectives is preceded by the combination of an interdisciplinary training that covers the physical, technical-tactical and mental areas; and the training will be of higher quality, to the extent that each of its aspects, is executed by a professional in that field.
Luckily, not everything is so black. Day by day, the importance of our work in the world of sports and physical activity is increasingly recognized and we are gaining greater relevance as another important figure in the sports field. I contemplate reality with hope, trusting that with hard work and perseverance we will be able to open our way, demolishing this and other myths that are created around us and giving way to a reality in which we are valued as another professional. It takes time.