Frequently Asked Questions About Sports Psychology


Golf was one of the first sports that my parents introduced me to. They had been members of the local country club before they got married. In truth, that’s where they met – at the golf course, competing with each other. Their rivalry apparently turned into romance when my father heroically saved my mother from another golfer who kept on hitting on her despite getting turned down repeatedly. (Just like in the movies, I know.)

I could vaguely remember getting my first set of clubs at three years old. They were plastic, of course, and Dad merely set up a makeshift goal in our backyard, but I recalled dancing around in excitement when I hit the ball into the hole after several tries. Despite my parents’ happiness, they did not think too much about it. They assumed that golf was among those activities that little kids like me would forget once I found something else to do.

However, that was not the case for me. Sure, I enjoyed playing tee-ball and tennis while growing up, but I continued to play with my toy clubs for a few more years after receiving them. Then, my father noticed my fondness for the sport one day, and he told me to dress up because we’re going shopping.

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I obeyed him excitedly, thinking that we would shop for clothes. To my surprise, Dad had a better idea – he took me to a sports shop! We went past the baseball bats and tennis clubs until he stopped at the golf section.

“Take your pick, Hailey,” Dad announced.

Let me tell you – it was as if Christmas came early. I scrutinized every golf club in the store and bounced from one set to another. I even overheard an amused manager saying that he never saw a child so excited about golf clubs, but I did not pay much attention to it because I wanted to make sure that I got the best ones. In the end, I went home with the Tour Edge club set and presented it to my mother.

“Wow!” she exclaimed, beaming at me. “Now, you will definitely crush the golf lessons that we signed you up for at the country club.”

It was the best day in my young life. It also became the start of my career as a junior golfer. My coach saw my potential in no time and asked my parents if they would allow me to enter competitions. I assured Mom and Dad that nothing would make me happier than that, so they gave me their full support.

Life As A Pro Golfer

Many people outside of my golfing circle used to question my love for the sport. They said that it was one of the most boring activities globally and that there was no challenge in swinging the club and making the ball fly in the air. However, I begged to disagree.

Golf was no different from other sports. It took me years of training and physical conditioning to improve my skills and break into the international scene. My parents even hired a sports psychologist to ensure that I had the best mindset every time, especially if I experienced a loss, which was inevitable for every athlete.

Can sports psychology improve performance? 

Yes, Sports Psychology can improve an athlete’s performance by doing the following:

  • Helping an athlete deal with the anxiety and pressure of performing well during the game
  • Providing mental strategies that can allow the athlete to envision how they can be better
  • Encouraging the athlete to stick to therapy after suffering from an injury
  • Staying in love with their chosen sport, regardless of how many losses they have experienced

What are the benefits of being a sports psychologist? 

Here are some of the benefits of being a sports psychologist:

  • You will most likely need to travel with the athletes. This is ideal for people who want to see new places without taking time off work.
  • You get a handsome annual fee. Though the starting salary maybe $45,000, it can increase to $80,000 as you gain more experience. In truth, you may even get more if you work for more prominent sports companies.
  • Assuming you do not open a clinic, your company can provide a pension plan and other standard benefits for you.

How is psychology used in sports? 

Psychology is vital in sports, considering athletes tend to perform well even when exhausted from sheer willpower. If the athletes face issues that decrease the latter, they may feel lost and unable to reach their full potential. Because of that, they need a sports psychologist’s help to gain motivation and learn how to cope with their problems.

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How can you improve your sports performance? 

  • Hydrate yourself while training. The recommended fluid intake ranges from 550 mL to 800 mL every hour, depending on how much energy you exert. Doing so will essentially keep you from feeling nauseous or vomiting in the middle of training.
  • Stop believing that you need to consume as many calories as you sweat off. The reason is that you still have fat reserves to burn – following that popular belief will probably make you throw up. That is especially true if you try it while cycling or doing a marathon.
  • Choose whole carbohydrates instead of simple sugars for extra energy. The former is a steady fuel source, considering your body will need to break it down slowly. Meanwhile, the latter will only be absorbed fast, so your blood sugar will most likely crash just as quickly.
  • Avoid forgetting to add healthy protein to your diet. After all, aside from whole carbohydrates, your body needs protein from lean meat or soy to increase your energy and muscles. Though you may drink or eat whey, too, it is recommended for after your performance.
  • Stay away from any junk food. In truth, liquid foods are more advisable than solid ones so that your body will not need to make an effort to digest them longer than necessary.
  • Replenish the electrolytes that you lose when you work out and sweat too much. However, it will be best if you do not take salt tablets all the time because that can be detrimental to your health. Look for healthier sources of electrolytes instead.
  • Avoid “carbo-loading” the night before your match. Some rookie athletes do this, assuming that it will allow them to have more energy than their rivals. In reality, though, eating more than usual before the game makes it challenging for the body to metabolize the carbohydrates and convert them to energy.
  • Eat three hours before the game so that your body will not have a tough time breaking down the meal. If that is not possible because you need more sleep, you should realize that resting is more important than eating.

How does sleep affect sports performance? 

The idea is that longer, more peaceful sleep is always better than short naps or daytime sleeping. This is especially true for athletes who work out and train all day long. Their bodies need enough time to recover from physical exhaustion; otherwise, they may not have the energy to complete their tasks the next day. Worse, sleep deprivation may cause athletes to lose.

What every athlete needs? 

Every athlete needs the following:

  • Proper Nutrition: When a person exerts too much energy on physical activities, they need to eat many nutritious foods to replenish the nutrients they lose every day. Practically speaking, they should not put any garbage in their body because it will negatively affect their performance.
  • Gear Essentials: An athlete deserves to have all the gear to reach their full potential efficiently. Although some people may excel without these add-ons (e.g., Usain Bolt), there is a high likelihood that their performance will improve with the necessary gears within reach.
  • Effective Coaches: An athlete can only as good as how their coaches train them to be. However, no matter how celebrated a coach is, they cannot positively influence the athlete if they do not get along.

What qualities make a good athlete? 

A good athlete:

  • Exudes self-confidence without seeming egotistical
  • Gains motivation from something more substantial than a medal or prize money
  • Puts their best foot forward because they want to beat their records and all the other right reasons
  • Does not wait for anyone to tell them what their next goals should be
  • Requires no supervision when it comes to what they can or cannot do
  • Remains optimistic even after experiencing a loss
  • Believes that they belong in the sports world
  • Does not feel offended when someone offers suggestions or criticisms regarding their performances
  • Knows how to cope with stressful times or events
  • Does not get pre-game jitters
  • Shows undivided focus while training or during the game
  • Does not take shortcuts to achieve their long-term goals
  • Is wise enough to learn from their mistakes
  • Strives to be perfect despite being fully aware that no one can achieve true perfection
  • Knows how to make the right decisions on their own
  • Does not back down from challenges
  • Appreciates everyone and everything that help make their dreams come true
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What are the most important needs of athletes? 

Athletes need to do the following:

  • Maintain the right attitude. Cynical, envious, or bad-mouthing athletes generally do not have a longer or more successful career than the kind, optimistic, or hard-working ones.
  • Gain motivation healthily. Hatred or jealousy can only take you so far in the game. After a while, it will have a negative effect on your performance and make you lose your way.
  • Set realistic goals, especially if you are a rookie. There are no shortcuts to being a successful athlete, so your short-term and long-term goals cannot be the same.
  • Become a people person. It is one thing to be an excellent player, but it’s another thing to be admired even by competition. After all, trust and respect often go hand in hand with admiration.
  • Practice envisioning yourself getting stronger and being the best athlete in your field. That is a powerful way to push yourself to improve and beat all the odds.
  • Learn how to deal with anxiety-inducing events before you even experience them. This way, you will not find yourself in a sticky spot when your nerves get the better of you.
  • Know how to separate your personal life from your sports life. That is especially true if you are dealing with a familial dispute, divorce, etc.
  • Improve your concentration to the extent that external noises will no longer make you pay attention to the crowds while playing.

Do athletes live longer? 

The answer depends on what kind of athletes we are talking about. According to new studies, team players live longer than single players. It may have something to do because individuals need to exert more effort than people who play as a group. That is especially true for folks who are into extreme sports.

What sport is the hardest? 

According to a survey that ESPN published, boxing is the most challenging sport to date. It does not come as a surprise, considering boxing requires athletes to sacrifice their mind and body with every match. They also need to show utmost discipline during training to achieve the speed, physique, and mental condition that will allow them to win.

What’s the most deadly sport? 

Base jumping is hands-down the deadliest sport ever invented. It is not as taxing as boxing or football or any contact sport, but jumping off buildings, hills, or mountains without a parachute to increase your chances of going down alive requires a lot of concentration and mindfulness. According to studies, at least one out of 2,317 individuals end up dying because of this sport.

Do athletes die younger? 

There has been an ongoing talk about athletes dying younger than non-athletes. Perhaps it is because of how much they are pushing themselves to be faster, stronger, and better than others; perhaps it is because of the injuries they tend to get in training or competing. However, based on research, most athletes live longer than many people.

Among all the sportsmen (and women), endurance athletes live 5.7 years longer than others. They owe this to the fact that endurance athletes do not need to work too hard to get oxygen in their lungs, considering they can control their breathing well.

What’s the healthiest sport? 

According to ENSSEE, the healthiest sport is squash. This activity is similar to tennis, in which you can play singles or doubles. However, the main difference is that you let the ball bounce against the back wall instead of volleying with another player.

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Do famous people die younger? 

Yes, famous people – athletes and celebrities alike – die younger than non-famous ones. A 2013 study confirmed this idea by scrutinizing over a thousand New York Times obituaries between 2009 and 2011. Apparently, famous people die at approximately 77 years old, while regular professionals die around 82 years old.

Do bodybuilders live shorter lives?

No, bodybuilders do not live shorter lives than others. Many people believe that their excessive protein consumption will kill them soon, but that is far from the truth. Based on studies, though, they live 34% longer than same-aged people.

Final Thoughts

My goal is to become one of the best pro golfers in the world. I am yet to achieve that, but I am getting closer to my dream every day. Little do people know, the competition is always tight, so having a sports psychologist working with my coach during training undoubtedly helps prepare me for everything.

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