Sports Psychology NJ: Is It A New Kid On The Block

By Eric Barnes

Sports psychology is a form of psychology that seeks to enhance sports performance by managing emotions that sportsperson undergoes while involving themselves in physical activity and exercise. This form of psychology seeks to enhance performance and also teaches sportsperson how to manage the effects of injury and how to deal with performance issues. Sport is a demanding field and having the right mind-set to handle sports pressure is key to becoming successful in it. Key factors that Sports Psychology NJ focuses on are goal setting, relaxation, self-talk, confidence, periodization, and visualization.

Their importance has also filtered down to youth games where visualization, routine setting and other games psychology techniques are used to help young children in their development. In part 3 of this series, we will look at the use of mental imagery to help young athletes achieve peak performance in games.

When using games psychology, one can be commonly confused with the difference between visualization and mental imagery. What is the difference? How can they be properly understood and applied? Here, we define visualization as holding a mental image or a process, often a positive one, in our mind long enough for our subconscious mind to register, and subsequently use this to generate positive action for peak performance. This form of visualization technique is often applied at an individual level, where the practitioner concerned who devote time and energy to meditate, relax and mental picture positive outcomes and processes.

The games psychologist studies the behavior of athletes before, during and after sporting events. With this information at hand, the coach with advice from the psychologist can plan a training routine that will utilize all the athletes' abilities. The coaches are aware of all the stress and endurance levels of the athletes under their watch, and this should serve as a guide on how to handle each athlete.

For example, a good example of visualization would be picturing in the mind a perfect baseball pitch by a pitcher. In his mind, he could imagine himself standing on the mound. Ball in gloves and staring intently at his catch at home plate. He than goes through in slow motion in his mind, the wound up of the delivery, ending in ball release point and the final follow through position of the pitching motion.

Where the two differ is in licensing. Psychologists are the only ones licensed. This does not mean that there is a limit to an SP coach's experience, but simply a technical matter. The SP coaches at Mental Edger Athletics have plenty experience despite currently being unable to obtain the same licensing offered to clinical psychologists.

They work closely with both athletes and those within the athlete's sphere of influence such as their coaches, parents, teams or organizations to ensure that there is a healthy balance between mental and physical performance. SP coaches are well trained in mental health services, making their expertise extend beyond that of a games psychologist regarding overall games performance.

Research is always being done as to how games therapy can be improved upon. By examining some of the mental or emotional aspects that affect how players perform, many believe that their game can be improved. Focus and concentration are things which to a large extent can be improved by mental conditioning. While it is true that certain chemicals control the brain and therefore how a person focuses, there are multiple ways to reach someone other than drugs.

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