Performance in Sport - sports pyschology
The Benefits of sports psychology basketball player holding ball

The Performance in
Sport process

In general, the whole consultancy process between the sport psychologist and the athlete starts with an initial needs assessment. This usually takes place out in the sporting field and can consist of a number of hours of simple observation and getting to know each other with an aim to establish a good rapport and trust. This is a very important aspect of Performance in Sport as the quality of the relationship between the athlete and sport psychologist forms the most important link in successful consultancy. Only after this is achieved can the next step begin which entails working on the detailed understanding of the athlete's experience of their sport and their psychological approach to their sport and performance.

All areas of the performance have to be assessed before mental skill interventions are introduced. Intervention might focus on any number of available successful techniques from relaxation to imagery or simple self-talk techniques. Relevant psychological states that are readily addressed are: confidence, perception of control, anxiety levels, attention/concentration levels, motivation, commitment, enjoyment and positive emotions simply because the changes in any of these factors have shown to produce changes in performance.

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Psychometric instruments used by Performance in Sport

In combination with careful observation, interview sessions and performance data analysis, Performance in Sport also aims to use a number of tried and tested psychometric instruments in the process of assessment in order to help coaches and athletes ensure winning performance. These will predominantly be used to support the process to initially identify the area of interest and subsequently to follow the changes during the intervention. This is performed in a comfortable and familiar environment.

To assess the current level of use of mental skills, Performance in Sport uses Bull, Albinson and Shambrook's (1996) Mental Skills Questionnaire (MSQ) at the start of the intervention and at regular intervals wherefrom; for example, each athlete can see for themselves the progress they are making. Performance in Sport also uses Task and Ego orientation in sport questionnaire (TEOSQ) developed by Duda & Nicholls (1992) as well as number of other psychometric instruments such as Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) McAuley, Duncan & Tammen (1989), Sport Motivation Scale (SMS) Briere, Vallerand, Blais, & Pelletier (1995) and Profile of Mood States (POMS) McNair, Lorr, & Droppleman (1971).

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Underlying philosophy

Performance in Sport's approach to assessment and intervention is based on the cognitive-behavioural philosophy.The basic understanding is that all of the relevant mental states are easily understood and easily enhanced as they are determined by existing cognitive processes. In simple terms we believe that the athlete is more likely to win if he or his team believes they will win. Those beliefs, or existing cognitive processes, have developed over time and became almost automatic in relation to any given situation. The aim of Performance in Sport is sometimes to uncover habitual, faulty or irrational thinking patterns that lead to high anxiety, low confidence or inability to focus on the task at hand.

Furthermore, in line with cognitive-behavioural philosophy we aim to uncover possible environmental triggers of maladaptive cognitions and emotions. Performance in Sport will allow each athlete to bring their own world into the process leading to improved performance. This fine tuning will include adjustment of one or many mental skills from relaxation to use of self-talk and imagery for example.

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