We often think of psychology in terms of mental health and related problems, however, psychology also deals with the fields of health, sport and performance. You may think, “I have not got any problems, so what can Performance Psychology do for me?” A lot, it turns out. You do not have to be a competitive athlete to reap the benefits of understanding yourself better. FitNet invited performance psychologist Dr Mark Bellamy to explain what to expect.
Typically, a meeting begins with an informal discussion to identify major areas (or minor ones) which are working well for you, as well as those which are not. Additionally, we aim to get a very clear view about what you would like to make happen, psychologically and practically.
Work may be needed within a sporting or any performance or developmental arena, with each person valued for their individuality and approach to life. Within a performance arena, for example, there are a number of areas that may require further work. While this list is in no way complete, it will give you an idea of the type of areas we may find ourselves working in:
• Competition and season planning and preparation.
• Pre competition preparation and dealing with specifics such as competition approach and dealing with anxiety.
• Optimising performance and preparing for peak performance.
• Development of useful traits and approaches for the high performance arena.
• Health Psychology; dealing with stress, sleep issues, relationship issues, managing work.
• Anxiety, stress, overload and workload, and techniques for managing these.
• Adherence to exercise or training, and ensuring that training or exercise is linked to performance and desired outcomes.
• Recovery strategies such as mindfulness, time out, relaxation.
• Energy management.
• Working with useful or less than useful habits.
• Injury recovery, injury rehabilitation support and injury avoidance.
Often the best results do not come from dealing with a perceived problem head on, but from a good understanding and assessment of where you are, what is going on, and why you have got to where you are. Once we have this in place, the solution will often appear obvious and may seem very simple.
I hope that this article gives you some idea of what you may expect from work with a performance psychologist. For further information email me your questions with your contact details so we can discuss briefly the potential for further work.
Dr Mark Bellamy PhD Cpsychol AFBPsS is Sport & Performance Psychologist based in Herefordshire. Consultations are available via Skype, or in person at a Hereford location of your choice, or at your workplace.
Tel: 07941 040 013
Founder and editor of FitNet.
Previously gymnastics coach, massage therapist and personal trainer with 20 years of experience. Former gymnast and dancer.