SPA 043: Top 31 Fears Athletes Have About Seeing A Sports Psychologist

“When I feel good about myself, things start happening for myself. When you look up, you go up.” – Herschel Walker

Hi everyone. Today I’m going to start off with a little story. It was back in the year 2000, I used to know of an athlete who has a great talent in badminton, but he suffered a mild form of mental disorder similar to depression after he wasn’t selected for the next big event. Let’s call him James as I would not like to reveal his real identity.

It was so bad that he became suicidal and threatened to end his life. At that time, I didn’t know anything much about sports psychology or mental training, my knowledge was all over the place. So I suggested that he see sports psychologist to help spruce him back to how he was before to get him back into shape and right mindset for the next meet.

James outrightly refused to meet up with a sports psychologist, somehow he believed in his capabilities and kept finding fault in the coach. All along he never respected the coach, he always got picked on by the coach and he always felt that the coach had something against him. It was a crazy time for him.

He was adamant to never see a psychologist. He felt there was nothing wrong with him and the coach was the one who needed to see a psychologist instead. So, in the end I went to see the sport psychologist with another of his teammate on behalf of him without him knowing.

With quite a number of visits to the sports psychologist, he taught us a few skills we needed to know to impart to James. We truly got a crash course then, we had no other choice. It wasn’t so much to get James back into the game, but to get him to find himself back to who he actually is. He is beating himself up just because of not being in a game. Not that it wasn’t worth it, but since it’s over, he needed to find a way to look towards the next game.

That was what I’ve been sharing in the past lessons, to work in the present then anticipate the next action, the next movement, the next game. That is how you perform better. With James defining the game based on his self-worth, it caused him to not only crumble but think that it’s the end of his life while he’s still breathing. That led him to feel depressed.

So what happened in the next 6 months was a lot of therapy with him. Together with myself and his teammate, we met up a lot, every week without fail, running through all the mental skills I’ve mentioned in the past episodes. We are not sports psychologists, but we know him well enough, and we were sure that we were stable enough to handle the situation.

Throughout these 6 months, we saw James progressed to become a happier person back to his usual self again. In almost 2 years, he was back to playing badminton in the University and representing the varsity in several meets. It could have taken him sooner to recover if he has a sports psychologist to coach him one-to-one. It doesn’t mean a depressed person is one who will refuse to meet a psychologist, it’s just how educated you are over this subject.

A resource you may wish to check out is the story of Brent Seal, the founder of Seal Wellness who used to be an athlete and was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2007 and since then has graduated from his 2010 SFU Business class as Valedictorian. He recently spoke at TEDxSFU on Nov 1 2014, I will leave the video in the show notes page, you may wish to check that out later.

Chalene Johnson also once said on the Model Health Show by Shawn Stevenson that it’s cool to go therapy. That was in episode 105 titled Uncover The Perfect Workout for Yourself, Build Confidence, and Be Awesome. Point is if you need help, go get it, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

I want to be honest with you that part of this particular content has been republished from William B. Cole’s article. He has already done the hard work to come up with this. Thank you William. I think most of what he did is valuable for you to understand first before we dive even deeper to the mindful strategies I will be sharing more in future episodes.

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