Sport psychology involves preparing the mind of an athlete, just as thoroughly as one prepares the body. Sport psychology is an emerging field in the worlds of psychology and athletics. For many elite-level, professional, recreational, and even youth athletes, successful performances, cannot simply be reduced to superior physical performance.
Instead, performance in any endeavor, is largely contingent upon mental preparation and psychological strength. Just as you prepared for competition by practicing physical skill as well as increasing your strength and endurance, you must also prepare yourself mentally. This includes setting clear, short-term goals, entertaining positive thoughts, using self affirmations, imagery, negative thought stopping, etc.
Thanks to the extensive coverage of athletic events now-a-days, the sports enthusiast can understand the need for and benefits of sport psychology. Examples of mental training surround us - for instance skiers, divers, and gymnasts imaging their routines or tricks before they perform; Nancy Kerrigan's successful use of sport psych principles after she was maliciously attacked so close to the 1994 Olympics; golfers and biathletes using relaxation techniques to slow their heart rates and breathing thereby allowing for better accuracy in their shots; and basketball player using a combination of goal setting and imagery to improve their free throw percentages. The principles of sport psychology are helping athletes succeed in many ways.