What Sport Psychology is not

Sport psychology is many things, but what it isn’t remains unclear in the mind of many athletes. In this article, we will clarify what sport psychology can offer and what it can’t to set you straight on the tools we can help you develop to enhance your performance in all aspects of your gaming career and life.  

But I’m not mentally weak, I don’t have a psychological illness. Why would I seek help from a performance coach?

Seeking the help of a performance coach doesn’t mean that you are mentally weak or that you have a psychological disorder. It’s quite the opposite actually. The stigma associated with the word ‘psychology’ or ‘mental’ has quite an impact on people who become worried about how they will be viewed if they seek our performance coaching. Fear not, you are only helping yourself by letting us help you. Players at the top of their games use the help of performance coaches to facilitate in keeping their mental game as strong as possible. Like sport coaches help athletes improve their technical skills, performance coaches help improve the mental skills of athletes. Combining both the technical and mental side of your sport will help you to achieve the top level of your game. Even if you have the technical capacity to succeed, you are not going to win on the big stage in front of thousands of adoring fans if you can’t focus on your goal, block out those distractors and cope with that stress that’s causing you to tilt.  This is where we step in, and why seeking our help can only aid in enhancing your performance.

Okay, but how long will this take. I have a big league game coming this week, I need to be at the top of my game?

As performance coaches and athletes ourselves, this question commonly features when discussing the benefits of performance coaching and we want to express that an important thing to understand is that there is no ‘quick fix’ when it comes to your mental skills. As it takes time to learn how to play your game to a certain standard, it also takes time to develop your mental skills to that standard. Developing optimal mental strategies and skills requires practice, consistency and dedication.

But does it apply to esports?

Esports has just a need for performance coaching as any other professional sport. Esports requires the skills of mental toughness, focus, goal setting, relaxation, emotion regulation, self-talk, positive thinking, imagery, coping skills and more that performance coaching can offer to help you as you perform in the high pressure and fast paced environment of esports. Not only does it apply to actual gamers, it also applies to coaches and parents and can help facilitate an optimal coaching environment and support system.

I’d like to try this performance coaching thing, but I’m not a professional gamer?

Performance coaching isn’t just for expert gamers or professional athletes. The sooner you start the better. Learning, training and developing your mental skills could be the key to enhancing your performance. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing in a lower level league or in front of millions of fans with huge earnings at stake, the mental skills required for excelling mentally in these games are the same.

Wait, I don’t have time to do mental skills training on top of all my other training?

We are not here to tell you that mental training is going to improve your technical gaming skills and it’s not going to help you with deficiencies you have in the tactical and strategical techniques required for your game. However, we are here to tell you that the aim of sport psychology is to enhance your performance by applying mental skills to your game and this is what we aim to do alongside your technical training. Performance coaching can be incorporated into your technical training very easily and strategically. It’s all about whether you want it or not!  

So, I will start reading about it and do what they say in the books.

It’s all well and good reading about the concepts of sport psychology and understanding the theoretical background of all the skills involved. It’s important to have this knowledge. However, just reading is not going to help you in the way that we can help in teaching you how to practice, incorporate and master the skills specifically into your game.

You’ve convinced me, I now understand the myths surrounding sport psychology, so what next then?

We want you to know that sport psychology isn’t just for use in your gaming career. It also supplies you with many mental skills that you can also use in your everyday life. Contact our team and we can get you started on your mental training journey. And remember, it isn’t the will to win that will help you become the best you can be, everyone can do that. It’s the will to prepare that will ultimately set you apart from the rest.    

These are the questions we performance coaches get asked all the time when working with athletes, especially those who are trying to understand what sport psychology can do for them and also how performance coaches can help in learning these skills. Once an athlete understands these concepts they expect ‘quick fixes’ and ‘magic’ to occur in improving their performance. What this article tried to explain was that, training your mental game is similar to training your technical game. You need time, dedication and consistency to improve your skills and with the help of a performance coach you can start off and continue on the right track towards achieving mental excellence.