Here is my belief: I belief that the team approach is the best approach. Lets all work together!
In order for Sports & Exercise Psychology (or anything) to be effective it needs to be embraced by the athlete and exerciser but most importantly by the other people who work with the them. It’s now become really imperative (to me) that all support people of athletes and exercisers: coaches, personal trainers, assistant coaches, mentors, physical therapists, etc. have some knowledge of how important the mental aspect is so they can decide what to do with it for their clients; particularly since it is your job to guide your clients in determining the entire individualized program should look like.
Lets me put it this way: if a coach or personal trainer was misinformed or didn’t recognize the importance of doing aerobic and anaerobic training, an athlete and exerciser would not be coached to train that way. This does not mean it’s not important. Mental performance is similar and unless the athlete decides to step outside the coaching/personal training staff to pursue an understanding of mental performance chances are they will never be exposed to it. In my mind mental training is more important than aerobic and anaerobic training and should be part of any coaches, personal trainers, assistant coaches, mentors, physical therapists, etc. training even if just at a basic entry level. Knowledge leads to awareness and awareness leads to change; change for your clients.
Mental training as part of the team approach
Why put in so much time training someone physically if you are not training them mentally. Your cognitions (what you think) affects your behaviors (how you act) so if you are not changing your cognitions your behaviors aren’t likely to change. If one of your athletes think they are a terrible athlete or one of your personal training client’s think they can’t exercise, that is what’s going to happen but if your athlete thinks they are a great athlete and your exerciser believes they can exercise then that is the direction they will go. Actions follow thoughts. Although it sounds easy it’s harder than you think. Imagine all the years these thoughts have been ingrained in your clients.
The team approach: athletes and exercisers look to (us) professionals for support and guidance so lets work together to have as many of the facts as possible to provide the best service to them. Its time to bring everyone on board to at least have knowledge if not an understanding of how important the mental aspect of sport is. Not only do I believe that an athletes and exercisers support team need to adopt ideas for them to be put into action but everyone needs to work together towards those ideas or they falter. The team: athlete, sports psychologist, coaches, assistant coaches, mentors, physical therapists and personal trainers should have some idea about how all their roles fit together to help develop the athlete into a complete athlete and an exerciser into a consistent, healthy exerciser.
I hope you are having a fantastic day!
Photo credit: sirwiseowl