In my first year of the SPP program I focused on how to implement and teach the cardinal mental skills (Relaxation, Concentration, Imagery, Self-Talk, Mental Routine). However in this past year I have focused more on the emotional component of how we as consultants or coaches can help the performer achieve the level of desired success. I believe that this aspect of performance consulting may be overlooked by some consultants and certainly the vast majority of coaches. Most coaches know the basic mental skills and can teach them in the context of their sport. However dealing with emotions and feelings can be difficult and tricky for coaches. Some do not even realize they may have control over them. For example when you hear a coach say,“If they can show up today ready to go and focused then we will do well.” That makes me think the coach has little control over the emotional state that the athlete is in, this state as we know has a major impact on how well the athlete can focus, and thereby execute the specific sport.
The emotional importance on sport is something I think we get in this program due to its strong emphasis in counseling psychology. A program that is focused more on kinesiology may not stress emotions as much. Just as our program does not focus as much on the movement sciences, there is a limited amount of information one can learn and become expert at, according to Ericsson and others. This distinction is something we need to be diligent in making our clients aware of so they understand the types of services we can provide. If we believe we can provide it all we probably cannot and we are doing our clients a disservice, and perhaps even getting into some sticky ethical situations. For my personal orientation I’m glad we have the counseling focus, it is something I wanted in my graduate program in sport and performance psychology. Even though I have not learned much in the movement science school, there will be time to read the literature, and also AASP conferences are a great way of learning about new areas in SPP.