Sports psychiatry uses psychological, neuroscientific, and medical knowledge to address optimal performance and the well-being of athletes. The “mental game” refers not only to a mind that has been conditioned through mental skills training for optimal performance, but also to a broader mindset that includes an awareness of psychosocial issues and mental conditions that potentially impact optimal performance.
In Improving Your Mental Game, author Dr. Pamela Smith presents a practical, concise, and convenient pocket guide geared toward college and professional athletes, coaches, and athletic trainers. It covers a host of topics including:
• core psychological techniques for improving athletic performance such as imagery, goal setting, self-talk, and relaxation;
• tips and exercises for managing focus, negative self-talk, pressure, daily learning and growth, commitment, self-defeating distractions, fear, motivation, riding the bench, taking responsibility, controlling emotions, self-belief and confidence, trust and consistency, and pregame warm-up;
• psychosocial issues impacting performance such as team cohesion, managing team conflict, coping with injury, and end of career issues;
• mental conditions associated with the competitive sports environment like anxiety, depression, substance abuse, concussion, and eating disorders;
• banned substances;
• athletes with disabilities; and
• brain health maintenance – i.e. sleep & nutrition for optimal brain & neuromuscular function.