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Sports Psychology

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Essay title: Sports Psychology

I. Introduction

Athletes are constantly under severe levels of stress and anxiety to perform well. They fight for every inch and often put their bodies through excruciating pain to secure a win. Yet how is it done? How does one get the subconscious mind and body to work together without consulting the conscious and rational mind---which surely would prevent such nonsense from continuing? As is the case with any competition, there are situations that require the utmost concentration in face of difficult circumstances. These can be caused by anything from being a half boat down with 500 meters left in a crew regatta, to having to make one more touchdown to secure that extra point over your opposition. If you are able to maintain mental toughness then success will be yours. Though, what happens if you fail? You dropped the ball or jumped your slide—do these setbacks shake your self-belief and lower your motivation or do they act as a channel for even greater accomplishments? Mental toughness is clearly vital to combating pre-performance anxiety and athletic success, but why are athletes resisting the opportunities to see sports psychologists. Most professional and elite amateur athletes will agree that their psychology has a large influence on their sports performance. Most will concede that they could benefit from the services of a sport psychologist. Despite this, the significant majority under utilize their services (Carmen, Zerman and Blaine, 1968; Brewer and Petrie, 1996.) It is well known by all who play sports that defeat often stems from the inability to manage anxiety, fear, anger or despair. In addition drug abuse, eating disorders and depression are common among athletes (Brewer and Petrie, 1996.) Narcissism and sociopathic personality disorders are often diagnosed in athletes (Anderson, Denson, Brewer & Van Raalte, 1994.) Coaches who are ill-equipped to handle such matters will attempt to provide a common sense approach to these complex problems and will frequently fail the athlete.

The question that emerges from this is as follows. If so many athletes need psychological support and are aware that they have this need why don't they seek treatment more often? Further if they do make appointments to a sport psychologists’ office, why do more than 50% drop out within four sessions, well before they are ready? In a word, why do they resist their

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