Over the past 20 years, the psychologist’s role in sports has been increasing significantly and much more publicly. Recently, Wimbled,on tennis champion Andy Murray publicly acknowledged the help he received from working with a psychologist. His coach, a former world champion as well, had worked with the same psychologist some years earlier.
I personally have worked with a number of professional athletes. However, the bulk of my practice in Boca Raton, Florida is in helping young athletes looking to improve their mental and emotional skills so they can get on their high school team, a college athletic scholarship or a career in professional sports.
As a trained psychologist, my evaluations go beyond assessing basic mental skills but look at the whole person and all the issues/ pressures the individual is coping with both on and off the field. The athlete who “chokes” under pressure during a game may experience the same reaction taking an important test or speaking up in class.
By combining a safe, comfortable and supportive atmosphere, with practical mental and emotional skills training and when needed, counseling and therapy, young athletes develop life skills that can serve them long after their athletic careers are over.
In my role as a psychologist, I also sometimes educate parents and coaches to better understand and more effectively interact with adolescents whose behaviors and moods can be quite challenging at times.
Having been an athlete and competed in both individual and team sports, I understand the “thrill of the victory and the agony of defeat” and relate to my clients as both a psychologist and an athlete.
I am often asked how long or how many sessions do I work with clients. I prefer to base the decision on the needs and preferences of my clients rather than a fixed number of meetings. Commonly, we meet once a week and as they progress we lengthen out the frequency of this visits. If our work is successful, they have the tools to work independently of me and perhaps come in for brief consults from time to time as the need arises.