SPORT PSYCHOLOGY SERVICES
This typically involves an evaluation of client needs and a thorough assessment of their presenting issues. Assessment might include one or a mixture of the following: informal discussion, observation of the athlete in training and/or competition, performance profiling, or completion of psychological questionnaires. The practitioner will then determine aims, objectives and the scope of interventions. Next, comes delivery of the the planned intervention(s). Interventions within one-to-one consultancy often involve training the client to learn and apply key mental strategies to boost their mental skills and performance. Key mental strategies might include goal setting, imagery/visualisation, emotional control, thought awareness and control, relaxation, stress management, performance evaluation, performance routines and more. It is strategies like these that help to enhance psychological skills and attributes like self-confidence, motivation, and concentration. Monitoring the clients needs and expectations throughout the process of delivering consultancy is key to its effectiveness. Finally, the practitioner will evaluate the outcomes of consultancy. This service would typically be offered face-to-face, but can also be conducted electronically via skype.
Sport psychology workshops typically include a mixture of presentations, fun practical tasks/activities and interactive discussion. Workshops afford a larger number of clients to be educated about psychological phenomena (e.g., introduction to sport psychology, self-confidence, concentration, imagery, character strengths, growth mind-set etc.). Bringing such phenomena ‘to life’ by using personal experience examples and relevant sporting anecdotes are central to facilitating workshop effectiveness.
Psychoeducation (consulting on-field or on-court, alongside coaches)
On-field or on-court psychoeducation involves working closely with technical coaching staff. This includes having a knowledge of what technical sessions are being delivered, and then, through collaboration with the coach, integrating sport psychology principles into the session. Integration of these principles might be achieved through short and sharp interactive presentations (i.e., lots of Q & A) to training squads, one-to-one support on-court/on-field and working indirectly through the coach to influence player mindsets. With this strand of consultancy, both players and coaches are able to see more clearly how sport psychology ‘practically’ underpins sports performance. One effective way to enhance athlete learning of psychological skills/principles is to conduct a sport psychology workshop, that is immediately followed by psychoeducation on the field.
‘System’ level support
System level support involves trying to get psychology principles running through a performance system (e.g., a sports academy or sports club). It involves working alongside head coaches and performance directors to create and develop a unique culture that is designed to help everyone (athletes, coaches, parents, physiotherapists etc.) within the system to flourish. The sport psychologist would help coaches and performance directors to identify a clear vision for the performance system, which would be underpinned by clearly defined values and behaviours. It is important that all staff are aware of the vision, values and behaviours, and that they are ‘lived’ on a daily basis. Planning and implementing a behaviour management system would also come under this service.
Lectures can be provided on a variety of sport psychology topics including: introduction to sport psychology, stress, emotion and coping in sport, anxiety in sport, self-confidence, concentration, motivation and attribution, flow states, team cohesion, team dynamics, personality, resilience, leadership, imagery/visualisation and more. Lectures like these may particularly benefit leaders/directors of organisations and their coaches who are interested in weaving psychological principles into the organisations they are affiliated to.
Ben is also an FA level 2 qualified football coach. Since retiring from playing football Ben has worked as a part time youth coach with Gillingham FC. He is able to offer one-to-one and group football coaching sessions. He is also able to do contract work with local coaching companies within East Kent. Ben specialises in youth coaching. Ben constantly strives to develop the technical, tactical, psychological, physical and social skills of those he coaches.