Essay Sample on Sports and Exercise Psychology

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1872 Words
Date:  2022-12-01


Sports and exercise psychology is considered to be crucial to athletes and a mandatory aspect of sports science as a discipline. Ideally, it is an expertise that utilizes the knowledge and skills based on psychology to address every need an athlete may have, ranging from performance, social aspects, and systematic issues. According to research, the optimal performance of an athlete on a given day highly depends on mental skills, physical skills, strategic awareness and the level of technical skills. This case study will focus on the ways that sports psychologist can address the optimal performance and well-being of an athlete as well as the development and social aspects of sports participation of the chosen athlete. I will conduct a performance profiling on my chosen athlete which is a technique often used to understand one's current dilemma (CRUST, 2002). Weston, Greenlees, & Thelwell (2011) state that performance profiling is a valuable technique that is often utilized by sports psychologists to identify and organize training and in extension, the development of individual athletes. The student chosen in this case study is a 20-year-old female athlete who participates in football. The student's name, however, and any personal information will remain anonymous throughout the process due to ethics. My client often fails in football particularly because of the social aspects of sports participation as she scares just by looking at the opponent teams, let things get to her and sometimes cannot help it when her teammates make negative comments about her performance.

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My client's expectation after the process is clear interventions that can assist her with her current performance situation. In particular, she is looking for a solution on how she can talk to herself and be mentally prepared for difficult games. She also wants to be composed before these games to help her mind be more focused on the game instead of unimportant thoughts. Considering my client's situation, one key intervention to her worries is self-talk. According to Zourbanos et al. (2011), developing self-talk can be one of the simplest concepts of sports psychology, but in most cases, can prove impossible to master, whether one plays sports or not. To most athletes, negative internal messages and thoughts are among the biggest causes of sports anxiety and succumbing to these negative messages is a sure way of deteriorating in terms of performance. Even so, athletes who constantly practice positive self-talk have a higher chance of improving their overall sports' performance and success. Another key intervention is visualization. Bali (2015) states that most elite athletes routinely use visualization technique to develop not only a competitive edge but also to cultivate a strong mental awareness as well as confidence. It is a technique in which athletes create mental images and intentions of what the outcome should be. Indeed when an athlete imagines a scene or engages in a competition with images of the desired outcome or memory of previous best performances, he or she will perform with the same spirit. These images can also act as physical practices as continuously calling up these images can enhance one's performance and skills through repetition.


The basis of conducting the client's need analysis is simply to identify the client's specific needs and objectives. In this case study, for instance, I used both the performance profiling and interview. Performance profiling was crucial in analyzing the performance because I was able to identify her strengths and weaknesses. In this case, I asked my client to rate where she currently perceive herself. The client was also able on a scale of zero (very poor) to ten (excellence), the athlete was also able to rate the perceived importance of each characteristic for an elite performer in football. Again, the client used the same zero to ten scale to rate the current perception of herself in relation to the ideal state of excellence. In the case of the interview, I used the semi-structured interview on the client to gather more data. The questions I presented to the client were open-ended questions which were determined in advance but some evolved as we continued with the interview. Through different counseling skills such as listening and asking questions, I was able to gather enough information and even learn more about my client. In some instances, I retreated to reflection to be able to accurately to figure out the exact state of the client both from her verbal and nonverbal cues. I also used Five-A Model with 5 stages including analysis, awareness, adjustment, (re)automation and assurance to deliver psychosocial input to the support delivery. The client was also subjected to a series of psychological measures during the process to help understand her ability and interest in Football. These tests are also vital for predicting the future behavior of the client but must meet the conditions of being valid and reliable (Meyers, Whelan, & Murphy, 1996). These tests include the ability test, interest, and personality test. These were all valid.

Intervention and Implementation

After a thorough analysis of the client's weaknesses and needs, I came up with self-talk and visualization as the most appropriate interventions. These were chosen after carefully studying my client's description of her situation as well as her expectation at the end of the study. For instance, in her situation, my client sometimes thinks of losing just by looking at the other football teams which she perceives to be better than her team. Also, my client has poor social response and sometimes let things get to her during the game which significantly affects her performance. Additionally, my client does not know how to deal with her teammate's negative comments whenever she makes an error. From her expectations, she wants help with an intervention on how to talk to herself and be mentally prepared for difficult games. She also wants to be more organized before games so that she can be more focused on the task at hand and not the unnecessary thoughts that always distracts her.

While most athletes are aware of the significance of self-talk, understanding it is what matters the most for it to be effective. According to Hardy, Gammage, & Hall (2001), thoughts are the source of one's emotions and moods, which can be a big influence in how they respond to different people or events and how they feel about themselves. The discussion people have with themselves can sometimes be destructive or beneficial. Stone, Deci, & Ryan (2009) also states that even though self-talk is something that one does naturally without the intervention of a second party, they are negative in most cases and therefore, athletes need to practice how to cultivate positive thoughts within themselves while shunning away the negative ones. In the case of my client, self-talk can be crucial in developing her confidence and motivation when facing other teams, and eventually becoming productive. Similarly, visualization can help her deal with her emotions on the field and in extension, her poor performance (Butler & Hardy, 1992). According to (Pileggi, Stolper, Boyle, & Stasko (2012), both physical and psychological reactions as a result of anxiety can be eliminated with visualization. Since visualization works as physical exercises by repeatedly calling the mental images, my client can build both experience and confidence in her ability to perform important sports' skills under pressure (WESTON, 2013). Ideally, with mental training, the athlete's mind and body become trained to perform the actual skills she imagined (Newmark, 2012).

As a sports psychologist, providing your client with the right interventions is just the first step, the real work comes in the implementation process. In implementing self-talk, we talked about choosing a mantra. As an athlete who wants to get started with self-talk, you should have different mantras you can use during training. These are simple words of affirmations that makes the athlete feels motivated when she says them. I have to be a positive phrase like "I feel so strong" that one can feel comfortable saying repeatedly. Again, once the athlete has started developing the habit of saying these words, she needs to expand her dialogue to include multiple scenarios during her sport. In implementing visualization, the client needs to be specific in details. For example, the athlete can start by imagining herself in front of thousands of fans and surrounded by more elite athletes. The more specific she can be with her images the more confident she will be during the real games. The athlete is also encouraged to envision both the bad and the good. Visualizing the good is important, but imagining both the good and bad is a reality. This way, when the bad moments eventually occur, and they happen a lot in sports, she will know exactly what to do and be confident when doing it.


After providing clear interventions that can help my client overcome her current situation, I conducted a short reflection as a sports psychologist using Gibbs reflective cycle to determine my current performance. Gibbs reflective cycle is often used to encourage people to think systematically about the experiences they had during a specific situation, and in this case, during the process of evaluating my client (Husebo, O'Regan, & Nestel, 2015). The cycle has four steps which include the description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion and action plan. As a sports psychologist, my score was perfect considering all the steps I took with my client. For example, in terms of description, was able to describe the situation to my client in details without making any immediate conclusion. In terms of evaluation, my experience with the athlete was amazing because we could both understand the task ahead and the important ways to deal with it. Additionally, an important analysis was made on the client situation and the conclusions were drawn regarding the immediate as well as future predicaments to the client. The conclusion made was that the client needed series interventions that are crucial to her social well-being as well as her football career. Considering the reflection on myself using the Gibbs reflective cycle, I am confident that I am a good psychologist who understands the cause analysis and provides crucial recommendations that correspond to the situation at hand. More importantly, the techniques used in this research as crucial and universal, and have also been used before in other researchers to assess and evaluate other clients' performances in terms of their final output (Halliwell, 1990). In terms of education, I believe I educated the client correctly because I was able to present her with the interventions that completely address her shortcomings including insecurity, anxiety, and doubt. Through visualization, for instance, the client is now able to imagine her positive attributes and dwell upon them to be able to improve her performance. Similarly, through self-talk, I was able to help the client understand how to deal with anxiety by constantly communicating with one-self on issues that often hinder her performances in football.

As a sports psychologist, understanding the interventions recommended for a client is crucial. For instance, in this case, it is crucial as a psychologist to understand and explain carefully to the client the meaning and importance of the evaluations put in place (Giza, Kutcher, Ashwal, Barth, Getchius, Gioia, & McKeag, 2013). For example, as a sports psychologist, it is important to understand what visualization entails and its effects on the client. When recommending visualiz...

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