We help athletes improve their mental health, achieve performance goals, and contend with performance-related challenges or deficits. This involves:
• Treating any mental health diagnoses or mental health concerns to help an athlete feel psychologically better—including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.
• Providing performance enhancement techniques and strategies to optimize current and future performance levels. Examples include: optimal mindset training, increasing confidence and motivation, healing imagery, arousal/energy regulation, and attentional focus training.
• When necessary, collaborating with other helping professionals like physical therapists, athletic trainers, and medical doctors, to address the athlete’s presenting concern.
• Working with the athletes social supports—primarily coaches and family members—to implement and manages changes.
Sport psychology is a recommended course for all athletes looking to become better and more comfortable as athletes. There needn’t be a presenting challenge for an athlete to benefit from sport psychology services. There are, however, signs and symptoms of larger issues that sport psychology is equipped to address:
• Athlete appears hopeless, negative, overly self-critical, self-doubting, and/or crying (talk to both the athlete and parent, if a minor)
• Athlete shows a significant loss of motivation, reluctance, or non-compliance with existing treatment.
• Athlete shows in increase in anger, irritability, or mood swings.
• Athlete continues to have lingering “symptoms” of injury after being cleared to play.
• Athlete experiences intense fear about returning to sport after injury, or fears getting re-injured.
• Athlete talks about loss of identity within or outside of sport.
• Excessive worrying, anxiousness, or obsessive and/or perfectionist behaviors.
• Athlete isolates self from friends, activities, or team.
• Athlete shows psychological symptoms which are impacting life functioning or rehabilitation.
• Obsession with returning to sport or letting team down.
• Athlete in a psychological or performance slump.
• Athlete struggles with focus or shows a desire to improve the mental aspect of game.
• Err on the side of caution.
– An athletes may meet the criteria for a mental health diagnosis, and benefit from treatment, even if you cannot “see” it. Up to 27% of injured athletes experience clinical levels of emotional disturbance (Brewer, et. al. 1999).
• Consider the social support the athlete has, and whether the athlete could benefit from more of it.
– Sport Medicine rehabilitation specialists were identified as second only to parents/partners/spouses as providers of social support for struggling athletes, particularly during injury rehabilitation (Brewer, et. al. 1999).
• Evaluate where an athlete is in their development and whether they are making progress.
– Studies suggest that the process of overcoming performance obstacles and/or recovering from injuries is 75% psychological and only 25% physiological (Hershman, Nicholas, and Thompson, 1990).
• Note the impact of mental stress on the likelihood of physical injury.
– Athletes under high levels of stress are three times more likely to suffer some form of athletic injury during times of unease (Mann, Bryant, and Johnstone, 2015).
We understand that recommending an athlete visit a mental health professional of any kind can be a delicate process. For these reasons, it can be useful to have an understanding of how the referral process works, and some effective steps for beginning this process with your athlete(s).
Talking to your athlete.
• The referral process begins by providing your athlete and his/parents, if a minor, with Premier Sport Psychology’s contact information and/or web address, and speak with them about why you think it would be helpful.
• Be specific in your observations of your athletes behaviors or presenting concerns. Feel free to cite any applicable behaviors from the “When to Refer a Sport Psychologist” section above.
• Explain how you think sport psychology services could be helpful to them—you can use the “What We Do” section (above) as a point of reference—and encourage them to have a look for themselves by visiting our site. There is nothing stigmatic about the work we do, and nothing “wrong” with athletes using these services to feel and perform better. We work with the best of the best athletes in the world, and their goals and struggles are no different from an athlete of any age or ability level.
• Target your athlete’s motivation to feel and perform better.
• Inform your athlete that we can coordinate any additional treatment that they may need, including developing treatment plans with professionals in related fields (physical therapists, athletic trainers, medical doctors, etc). Let them know that this isn’t uncommon, and that most athletes benefit from a combination of treatment strategies.
• We typically ask athletes for a Release of Information (ROI) when they enter services with us, but it would be helpful if you encourage them to do so when as they enter treatment.
• We will handle all of the individual complexities associated with your athlete’s mental skills and mental health once they contact us. They can do so by phone, or they can fill out our appointment form on our homepage and we’ll call them to get the process started.
• Once we’ve established contact with the athlete and/or parents, we will assign him/her to the provider we think is the best match for his/her needs. We recommend meeting in-person for our initial evaluation and can also accommodate distance sessions via Skype as needed and if appropriate.
• If the athlete is in Minnesota, we can work with him/her on both performance enhancement and any mental health issues or concerns.
• If the athlete is seeking services from outside Minnesota, due to licensing laws, we are allowed only to provide performance enhancement treatment, and are not able to provide mental health assistance or services. We will determine which services are appropriate (including referrals, if necessary) at the time of our initial appointment.
To make an appointment, your athlete (or the athlete’s legal guardian) has three options.
1) Contact us by phone at (952) 835-8513
2) Contact us via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
3) Make an appointment request via the Appointment button on our homepage, or by clicking here.
Emails and appointment requests will be followed up by phone, where we can both set up an initial appointment and answer any questions your athlete or their guardian may have about our services.