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About Sport & Performance Psychology

Today, achieving peak performance involves more than reaching peak physical fitness. Potential isn’t realized by chance, and we know that natural ability is only part of the equation. The field of sport and performance psychology focuses on providing every performer the resources to power their inner edge by strengthening the ability to perform, as well as the ability to thrive. By researching, training, and serving performers’ comprehensive mental needs, we elevate their performance and well-being so they can realize their greatest potential.

A common misconception is that sport and performance psychology exists only to help elite athletes win. In reality, sport and performance psychology professionals support people at every age and across a variety of performance contexts, including the following:

  • Sport (athletes and coaches)
  • Exercise (persons of all ages and activity levels)
  • Tactical (military, firefighters, police)
  • Performing Arts (dancers and musicians) 
  • Business (executives) 

Within the sport domain, professionals work in a range of settings including youth/club sport, high school, collegiate, professional/semiprofessional, and Olympic/Paralympic.

Effective practice in the field of sport and performance psychology involves the use of evidence-based approaches, methods, and interventions. It also includes a consideration of relevant cultural variables that may be impacting one’s experience. Sport and performance psychology practice utilizes a combination of individual and group consulting or counseling, depending on the style of the professional conducting the intervention and the needs of the client. Although there are many potential intervention targets (e.g., goal setting, concentration, motivation, relaxation, imagery), the general objective is to teach mental skills necessary to perform consistently.

Many sport and performance psychology professionals obtain the Certified Mental Performance Consultant® (CMPC) credential. This certification demonstrates to clients, employers, colleagues, and the public at large that an individual has met the highest standards of professional practice, including completing a combination of educational and work requirements, successfully passing a certification exam, agreeing to adhere to ethical principles and standards, and committing to ongoing professional development. The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) is the only sport and performance psychology association in North America that offers an accredited certification program to qualified professionals.

CMPCs make a difference by helping athletes and performers reduce performance anxiety, improve concentration and communication, build confidence, and set goals. Learn more about how you can benefit from working with a CMPC.