What is sports counseling?
Sports counseling can help people increase their athletic, personal, and academic potential. Movement and sports represent an integral part of our identity across our life span. The lessons, strategies, and problem-solving approaches that people learn when being engaged in athletic pursuits easily transfer to life at large. Rather than focusing single-mindedly on game-time performance, sports counseling takes a holistic point of view and considers the individual’s overall mental well-being and psycho-emotional needs.
What can I expect from a sports counseling session?
Sessions are aimed at putting the athletes mental health needs first so that they can perform their best. You may choose to enter counseling with the goal of personal improvement, or you may schedule to meet with a sports counselor to address a roadblock in your overall performance. Athletes are equally susceptible to fears of failure and performance anxiety as anyone else. You can anticipate a sports counseling session to include:
- Individual therapy sessions with a trained therapist specializing in optimizing an athletes mental health fitness.
- Eliminate performance anxiety, self-doubt, and negative self-criticism.
- Reframe and refocus athletic goals.
- Positively navigate sports disappointments, setbacks, or major fitness changes.
- Guide you in bringing out your best self.
The world of athletes is ever changing. Never have we lived in such a highly competitive space. At a time when young children should be having fun learning to be part of a team, they are now feeling the pressure of being funneled into a competitive arena that tends to dictate their value based on performance. What you can or can’t do, becomes who you are. It can feel isolating and lonely trying to meet standards that most will never achieve in their lifetime and yet within your own successes feel that you’ll never be good enough. Those who don’t live in the competitive world you do, can struggle to really understand what you are going through during a competitive loss, or injury.
Instead of focusing on performance first, sports counseling focuses on the mental health needs and stability of the athlete. This practice has shown to directly influence athletic performance in a positive way. Being an athlete at any level can pose difficult challenges to overcome, but having a healthy, non-judgmental space to process stressors allows the athlete to avoid bottling up emotions that can negatively impact sport performance.
What do sports counselors work with?
The term “athlete” or “sport” can be confusing as there are many different ways to use the body competitively or within the realm of performance. The list of athletes that could benefit from sports counseling is broad. See below for some common examples:
- Team sports (baseball, basketball…)
- Runners and triathletes.
- Body builders
Can sports counseling help me even if I’m not on a competitive team?
Sports counselors are dedicated to anyone that identifies as an athlete. This could be high school, collegiate, professional, or even an amateur weekend warrior. We understand that physical setbacks and moving through different stages in life can dramatically impact how you feel about yourself. You may have never been on a team or played competitively, however failing to reach a “personal best” can be frustrating and affect other areas of your life. Having high expectations is a great way to progress, but when those expectations turn to unrealistic perfectionism, our ability to find joy in our success becomes limited, and our failures become amplified.
Changes in skill level or even the loss of a dream due to injury, can cause intense emotions equal to grief experienced by the loss of a loved one.
Regardless of whether you are in the beginning stage of pursuing your sport or struggling with the idea of retiring those sneakers, we are here to help you.
If you have questions or unsure if sports counseling is for you, please contact us today to discuss a number of therapy options offered at Desert Consulting..