Mind Over Sports

WHY SPORT PSYCHOLOGISTS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HELP ATHLETES WITH THEIR PERSONAL PROBLEMS.

Posted on: August 24, 2017

It’s a pretty well accepted fact in the world of sports that if an athlete is experiencing problems in his (or her) personal life, he (or she) will not perform anywhere near their skill level.  And they are more prone to making mental errors during competition.  I first encountered this concept when working with the University of Missouri/Kansas City men’s basketball team a number of years ago. Some of the players were having personal issues they were dealing with and in order to help them, the team was converted into a support group allowing teammates to interact with each other. The result was an instant improvement in performance.

When the season ended, I approached the head of the psychology department at UMKC and told her what I had done with the team and that I’d like to pursue a degree in sport psychology. She told me in no uncertain terms that if I became a sport psychologist I could not implement the type of program used with the team since helping athletes with their issues and problems was in the domain of the clinical psychologist and if I did, I could lose my license. At that point I decided not to become a sport psychologist but rather a sport psychology consultant which meant I could work with a team in any manner I might choose.

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