Sports psychology is an interdisciplinary science that studies how performance is affected by psychological factors and how these factors are affected by the participation in sports. Sport psychologists focus on providing skills and resources to help athletes overcome obstacles that impede their performance by applying psychological concepts that facilitate peak sport performance. Peak performance requires a combination of mental and physical strength and may be described as one’s personal best, or exceeding one’s average performance level. Sports psychologists may also focus on factors related to sports/physical activity participation and/or systemic issues associated with sport settings.
The primary focus of sports psychology is to reach optimal performance, in doing so it also provides athletes with skills that may translate to other areas of their lives. The utilization of sports psychology has been beneficial to athletes who have trouble staying focused, lack confidence during practice or games, or have better performance during practices than in competition. Individuals who are looking for a competitive advantage, are looking for a way to improve their sport routine may also seek out a sports psychologist. Sports and performance psychology can also help individuals gain back confidence or self-motivation after sustaining an injury that may interfere with their sport performance.
Cognitive and behavioral skills training has proven to be therapeutically effective for performance enhancement. This genre of therapy may include the use of goal setting, concentration and attention control techniques, imagery, self-confidence development, self-regulation techniques, goal setting, performance planning, competence techniques, emotional management, and leadership/interpersonal skills development.