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AASP Blog for Athletes, Coaches, and Parents

Category: Athletes and Other Performers

Using Your Eyes to Conquer Mental Blocks

By Ben Foodman
Published

When athletes and coaches experience or observe a mental block there are common methods used to help resolve the issue. Seeking professional help from mental performance consultants and licensed psychotherapists is one pathway athletes can use to gain access to and support for these advanced techniques. 

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"I Don't Feel My Best:" Suggestions for Overcoming Perfectionism

By Diana Curtis
Published

Focusing on what you can control, such as your self-talk, can help mediate the effects of perfectionistic concerns and ultimately lead to enhanced performance.

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31-Day AASP Mental Wellness Challenge

By the Association for Applied Sport Psychology
Published

To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month this May, AASP invites you to prioritize yourself by completing our 31-Day Mental Wellness Challenge: a series of daily tasks to bring mental health to the…

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Feeding the Champ; Fighting the Chump

By Steve O'Neill, Kelsee Irwin
Published

How athletes talk to themselves matters. When they consistently practice walking and talking like a Champ, they empower themselves to be more resilient and confident in play. Learn more about refocusing strategies to achieve optimal performance.

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Having Trouble Sticking to Your Exercise Program? Stay Motivated With These 13 Exercise Adherence Strategies

By Gabrielle Salvatore
Published

From AASP Members and Authors: Gabrielle Salvatore, MS, Sheila Alicea, PhD, CMPC, Cynthia Clarke, EdD, CMPC, and Michael Sachs, PhD, CMPC

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Strategies to Support the Adaptation of International Athletes

By Jana Fogaca
Published

Moving to a foreign country is challenging. Athletes making international moves have to navigate new tasks and norms all while adapting to playing for a new club or university team. Part 1 of our 2-part series on supporting international athletes will focus on what athletes can do to cultivate success during the transition.

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Mindfulness as a Means of Coping with COVID-19-Related Stress and Uncertainty in Athletes

By Kayla Sliz
Published

As stressors that negatively impacted mental health accumulated and coping resources were stripped away during the pandemic, there was (and continues to be) a need to identify useful coping strategies for athletes.

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Facilitating Sport Injury Related Growth (SIRG)

By Rachel Shinnick
Published

An athlete’s perspective can and will shift throughout their injury experience. Learn more about key applications for athletes looking to achieve sport injury-related growth, defined as “perceived changes that propel injured athletes to a higher level of functioning.”

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AASP 30-Day Mental Health Challenge

By the Association for Applied Sport Psychology
Published

To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month this May, AASP invites you to take part in a monthlong series of daily tasks and activities to bring mental health and self-care to the forefront of your mind. 

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Goal Setting and Monitoring for Self-Care: Facilitating a Mindful and Grateful Attitude

By Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu
Published

It is not uncommon for athletes to set goals to meet physical performance demands or achieve certain performance outcomes. However, how often do athletes set goals related to self-care?

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Missing Time in the Competitive Arena: Managing Psychological Responses to Injury

By Damien Stewart
Published

When an injury impacts performance or keeps a performer out of training and competition for a significant period of time, it is important to implement strategies and attitudes to positively and productively navigate the time away. 

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Behind the Scenes: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected the NFL Draft and Off-Season

By Carly Skenian
Published

The 2020 NFL Draft provided live entertainment to millions of sports fans at a time when the world seemed to need it the most. Sport can act as a diversion from stress and anxiety for many, and with fresh news being in high-demand these days, it's no surprise the NFL Draft-A-Thon Live event was huge. Still, it looked different this year.

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How Olympic and Paralympic Athletes are Adjusting with the Help of Sport Psychology during the Coronavirus Outbreak

By the Association for Applied Sport Psychology
Published

Around the world, sport psychology professionals are actively listening and showing empathy to create a safe space for athletes, coaches, and teams as they process the premature ending of their seasons and begin to cope with an unknown future.

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AASP Mental Health Awareness Month Challenge

By the Association for Applied Sport Psychology
Published

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month and as many seek support during the COVID-19 pandemic, join AASP for a two-week Mental Health Challenge!

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The COVID-19 Pandemic: Tips for Athletes, Coaches, Parents, and the Sport Community 

By the Association for Applied Sport Psychology
Published

Everyone in the sport community is feeling the impact of COVID-19. AASP wants you to remember we are all in this together, and has compiled a list of resources and tips to help keep you updated, cope with feelings of stress, and keep you safe.

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Easing the Transition for Retiring Collegiate Student-Athletes

By Julia N. Cawthra
Published

When an athlete leaves sport, whether the exit is chosen or unpredicted, there is an adjustment in the way they define who they are. How can we help college athletes transition to the next stage of their life? Retiring from sport can be thought of like the first time on a rigorous hike. You might be nervous, but you are capable of more than you know.

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Use Imagery and Self-Talk to Create an Immediate Reduction in Response Time

By George Hanshaw
Published

In a study of 200 martial artists, it was found those who were trained to use a combination of cognitive specific imagery and motivational self-talk significantly reduced reaction times almost instantly. Read more about this study and positive sport psychology approaches used.

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Inside the Helmet of Extreme Sports: The Psychology of Auto Racing

By Tami Eggleston
Published

When most people think of sports, they think of traditional sports such as baseball, basketball, American football, soccer, etc. When people think of sport psychology, they often think of these same…

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Finding Resilience on a Mountaintop

By Sarah Hudak
Published

“Can you teach them resilience? I need them to be mentally tough.” How many of us have had this request from coaches, administrators, and parents? It is difficult to teach resilience, especially…

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Sport, Race, and Social Justice: Honoring Black Athlete-Activism

By Kensa Gunter, Rob Owens, Tanya Prewitt-White
Published

The Dual Role of Athlete and Activist The arena of sport and performance is often regarded as a utopian space where, unlike other facets of society, equity and cultural acceptance are assumed to be…

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The Science Behind Expert Teams: Insights From Sport Psychology

By Edson Filho
Published

Blog image credit attributed to: https://www.epicebike.com/ High-performing teams are high in cohesiveness, shared understanding, and a sense of team confidence or collective efficacy. In other words…

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The Power of Optimism

By Matt Long
Published

You know you are in deep trouble; so you face the brutal facts of the challenge you’re facing. But at the same time you feel deeply that you will prevail. This quote comes from James Stockdale, a…

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Burnout or Depression? Understanding the Unique Mental Health Needs of Athletes

By Marina Galante
Published

Athletes as a Special Population Mental illness affects approximately 61.5 million Americans each year1; despite this, mental health continues to carry negative stigma that interferes with proper…

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Managing Emotions in Sport

By Dr. Andrew Friesen
Published

There is no construct of human psychology and functioning more prevalent in sport than emotion. Mood, emotions, and general affect can influence every movement in every sport. Consider a typical 45…

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Freaked-out Kids in Sports: Keys to Stress Reduction

By Frank L. Smoll
Published

A 20-year trend in youth sports emphasizes teaching coaches how to create a healthy psychological environment for their athletes. However, there’s also an important need to educate parents, so they…

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“The Ripples Are Big”: Storying the Impact of Doping in Sport Beyond the Sanctioned Athlete

By Dr. Kelsey Erickson
Published

Recent doping allegations within track and field include systemic doping (e.g. Russian Athletics), corrupt administration (e.g. the International Association of Athletics Federation; IAAF), and leaked…

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Changing the Game

By Stephanie C. Coakley
Published

"The player is on the clock from the day he arrives in the NFL. He's not thinking about what's going to happen when he exits. He's thinking that the fun has just begun." -- Troy Vincent, EVP of…

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Sport Psychology at the Winter Olympics

By Sean McCann
Published

Sean McCann, senior sport psychologist for the United States Olympic Committee, and former president of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, on the role that sport psychology plays in…

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Sport Fandom and Performance

By Rick Grieve
Published

We've all witnessed it—sports fans enthusiastically cheering for their favorite teams. Loud clapping, jumping up and down and even booing can affect athlete performance. Dr. Rick Grieve, an…

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Overcoming Negative Thinking While Running

By Cindra Kamphoff
Published

Struggling with negative thoughts during long workouts? Cindra Kamphoff offers a few suggestions for how to embrace discomfort and use self-talk to stay positive.

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Auto Racing & Mental Skills

By Tami Eggleston
Published

Tami Eggleston gives a few tips on how auto racers (and other athletes) can use mental skills to help them get the most out of their practices.

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Understanding Student-Athlete Burnout

By Keith A. Kaufman
Published

There is a school of thought in American sport today that "more is better." Parents and coaches, perhaps dreaming of the spoils of athletic success, are encouraging kids at increasingly younger ages…

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How to Choose a Mental Performance Consultant

By AASP
Published

Each mental performance consultant possesses a specific set of skills that defines the scope of their competencies. Thus, when choosing a consultant, it is important for athletes, coaches/parents, and…

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Could I Be Hazing? A Definition and Positive Initiation Ideas

By Sarah Carson Sackett
Published

Is it wrong to want to uphold your team’s longstanding team traditions? Is it bad to want to develop team unity? Is it terrible to want your new teammates to grow an understanding of what it means…

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Overcoming Performance Errors with Resilience

By Gloria Solomon
Published

A common occurrence that all athletes encounter is performance errors. All athletes make mistakes; it is a natural part of learning to be competent at any activity. Since mistakes are normal, it is…

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Principles of Effective Goal Setting

By Eva V. Monsma
Published

1. Make goals specific, observable and in measurable terms – Setting general goals such as improving your shooting percentage in basketball is easy but it becomes hard to determine how to…

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Playing Pressure Points

By Gloria Solomon
Published

Tennis is a game of momentum. When a player makes a dramatic shot at a critical time, the momentum is likely to be on their side. When an unforced error occurs, frustration mounts and momentum can…

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The 3 C’s of Being a Captain

By Larry Lauer
Published

Larry Lauer, PhD and Kevin Blue Major Point: Captains embody 3 C’s in leading their team: Caring, Courageous, and Consistent. Being named a team captain is quite the honor. The position of captain…

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Pain Tolerance in Sport

By Eddie O’Connor
Published

Pain is ever-present in sport. An athlete’s ability to tolerate pain is essential to success. Pain provides valuable information about your body and how it is performing. To maximize…

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Cue Statements: Staying Focused at Critical Times

By Ryan Hedstrom
Published

Emily is a collegiate volleyball player. As a defensive specialist, she often receives serves and establishes the defensive plays for her team. She has recently struggled with losing concentration and…

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Disordered Eating in Athletes: Understanding the Basics and What We Can Do About It

By Dana K. Voelker
Published

Updated January 8, 2021 (originally published July 31, 2014) by Dana K. Voelker, West Virginia University; Jenny Conviser, ASCEND Consultation in Health Care, LLC; Hayley Perelman, Yale University…

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NCAA Swimmer Develops Mental Skills That Carry Her Beyond Olympic Medal

By AASP
Published

Western Kentucky University graduate Claire Donahue set many records as a swimmer for her NCAA Division I school. Today she is a member of the USA Swimming team competing internationally, as well as…

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