How can Counselling help a professional athlete? It’s a good question and one I don’t think is asked enough in pro sports.
Generally speaking, a Sports Psychologist focusses on helping the athlete in their direct goal of becoming a better athlete.
The pro athlete wants to fine-tune both his or her body and mind and this is the area of expertise for the Sports Psychologist.
It’s important work that they do and I have full regard and respect for my colleagues in this specified field.
But I sometimes wonder whether our pro athletes are supported adequately enough in the other areas of their life.
They often live in somewhat of a parallel universe to the rest of us – but that doesn’t mean they don’t face many of the same challenges.
Reasons why you might attend Athlete Counselling:
- You feel disconnected from your family and friends
- You feel you have to put on a facade and have forgotten who you are
- You feel higher than normal levels of stress and worry
- You use behaviours or substances to help you cope
- You feel frustrated and angry
- You are having family or relationship issues
- You are anxious about retirement/post-career transition
I believe that for an athlete to consistently reach their full potential they need to find real balance in their life.
They need to feel stable and secure within themselves and this means helping them connect with their true identity.
To help them know not just what they are, and who they are, but how they feel and what their needs actually are.
A Counsellor like me will look at the person, not just the performance.
Just like the rest of us, athletes are more likely to blossom when they have positive and functioning family and social supports around them.
In fact, given the pressures that they’re under, you could make an argument that they may need even more support than the rest of us.
They are also, more often than not, looking at a career that has a much earlier use-by date than an average person, and this can be extraordinarily stressful.
They need to be supported as they transition out of the pro athlete “bubble”, remember, an athlete is going to spend more years of their life as an “ordinary” person, rather than an athlete.
I think it’s vital for athletes to have a safe haven, a non-judgemental, and supportive cacoon that is physically removed from their normal environment.
A place where they can come and be their true self and where they will be treated as a person, not a “star”.
If you would like to discuss this further, please don’t hesitate to contact me.