Sports Psychology Scottsdale | Phoenix

Dr. Sara Gruzlewski PsyD specializes in Sports Psychology in Scottsdale, AZ and is skilled in peak performance interventions – maximizing personal success in athletic goals.

What Is Sports Psychology?

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.

Would Sports Psychology Benefit You?

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.

What Techniques Are Used?

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.

In What Ways Might Sports Psychology Help Athletes?

  1. Identifying Needs – Sport psychology provides athletes with insight to their needs, in terms of mental strategies, for practice and performance so they may work towards creating learning methods that work for them.
  2. Communication – Sports psychology provides athletes with the skills to communicate more assertively and effectively with coaches, parents and teammates. Creating an open environment better allows for parents and coaches to provide athletes with what they need in order to reach their goals as an individual and as a team.
  3. Goals – Sports psychology allows athletes to develop goals and objectives so they can better maintain their path towards their sport career. In doing so, a sports psychologist may encourage an athlete to focus on skills development and goal achievement strategies to increase drive.
  4. Mental Preparedness – Sports psychology provides athletes with the tools to prepare themselves mentally and emotionally for performance in order to assure smooth transitions between their daily activities and their sport. Through sports psychology, an athlete may develop visualization techniques to maintain control using their senses.  
  5. Stress Reduction – Sports psychology aids athletes in developing stress/pressure reduction methods to include breathing exercises, meditation, relaxation techniques, and cognitive techniques to better prepare them for optimal performance.
  6. Concentration – Sports psychology provides athletes with the ability to focus their attentiveness on situational cues in order to maintain their mental intensity. This may be done through attention control training to avoid distraction and expanding their ability to concentrate on proper attentional cues such as performance and bodily responses.
  7. Resilience – Sports psychology provides athletes with the skills needed to reset and refocus their mindset despite the inevitable setbacks accompanying competitive sports.
  8. Self talk – Sports psychology introduces self-talk patterns to athletes. Self talk is commonly used for improving self-confidence, attention, arousal control or motivation. In order to do so, sports psychologists may focus on identifying negative thought patterns, challenging those thoughts, and creating positive thoughts.  
  9. Organization and Time Management – Sports psychology proposes new methods for time management in order to avoid confusion and stress. Techniques might include setting timelines for goal achievement, managing role conflicts, or developing pre-performance routines.

Therapy Services

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