Sports Psychology is not just for professionals, advanced players or only youngsters. Many seniors pick up competitive sports, especially sports like golf and tennis later in life. Sports psychology training can help them to learn, play and compete in their sports better and have more enjoyment in the process.
Mental and emotional skills like physical technical skills can be learned and enhanced at any age or ability level. Mental skills training is one aspect of sports psychology and depending on the needs of the player, skills like goal setting, managing distractions, improving concentration and guided visualization can all aid in helping the senior player improve his/her results.
Another part of sports psychology for seniors is helping them deal with emotional issues that can interfere with performance and enjoyment. One of my clients wanted help to feel more confident. In his case, it meant learning to care less what his doubles partner in tennis might think if he missed a shot or played poorly. A female client was so worried that she wouldn’t be moved up on her team if she didn’t play well creating a self-fulfilling prophecy: By focusing in so much on the end result, she distracted herself by not playing in the moment and didn’t play nearly as well as she could have. A “weekend warrior” just coming back from a serious hip injury had overly high expectations of himself with respect to movement and speed. His disappointment turned to frustration and self-anger.
Sports psychology for seniors might result in teaching them how to better give and receive constructive criticism from coaches, partners and opponents, how to communicate more effectively with others and how to regulate their emotions through self talk and relaxation methods.
Mental coaching offers seniors and others the opportunity to perform to their highest potential more of the time and to enjoy their sport for years to come.
(Previously published in Tennis Enthusiast Blog)