The Wide World of Sport Psychology

 Brian Baxter, Elliott Waksman, Jimmy Yoo and Michael Wilson

Sport Psychology has been steadily gaining recognition over the past decade. And while the sports world generally knows of sport psychology, the majority still don’t know what it is we do.  In this issue of the SPINw e-newletter, we’ll give you some highlights of who we work with, what we do, and more from the wide world of sport psychology.  Enjoy!

What sports have you worked with at SPINw?

Soccer, Football, Baseball, Softball, Basketball, Hockey, Volleyball, Lacrosse, Golf, Tennis, Track, Wrestling, Cross Country, Marathon, Swimming, Cyclo-cross, Skiing, Snowboarding, Horseback Riding, Mixed Martial Arts, Motocross, Competitive Cheer, Dog Agility, Competitive Poker, Triathalon

What level of competition are your athletes and teams?
Professional, Collegiate, Competitive Club Sport, High School, Recreational, Olympic hopeful

What is the population of your athletes?

Age Range – 10 – 55
Average Age – 17
Male or Female – 50/50 split

What are the most common reasons for coming to see a sport psychology consultant?

-Dealing with anxiety or pressure to perform
-Loss of confidence
-Not enjoying playing 
-Trouble controlling emotions
-Better in practice than competition
-Want to get to the next level-Recovering from injury
-Team building

SPINw Workshop with Skating Club of Oregon

Skating Club of Oregon

This month, the SPINw team presented a sport psychology workshop to the members of the Skating Club of Oregon (SCORE).   Ice skaters can spend up to 650 hours a year training for only 42 minutes of competition!  So the pressure these young athletes face can be immense.  SPINw consultants Brian Baxter, Elliott Waksman, and Jimmy Yoo worked with the parents, skaters, and coaches, respectively, to address the mental aspects of skating under pressure.

To have SPINw put on a workshop for your organization, call us at 1-866-300-1515.

Book Review: The Boys from Little Mexico

In the mold of Friday Night Lights, Steve Wilson’s The Boys from Little Mexico is one of those sports books that I finished in a couple days.  It follows the all-latino Woodburn High School (just down I-5 from SPINw) soccer team through their 2005 season.  The book goes back and forth between describing the season, the players and coaches, the history of the town to give a full picture of the school, the team, and it’s community of players, coaches, and role models.

The sport psychology and the mental side of the game is a theme of this book.  The coaches consistently talk about the fact that the players’ belief in themselves does not match their high level of skill.  You can see it in the players’ comments and thoughts, too.  Will they find the confidence and that extra edge they need to finally win it all?  Check out the book to find out!

 The Boys From Little Mexico
Check out The Boys from Little Mexico in the SPINw webstore.

Why I got into Sport Psychology

By Mike T. Wilson, Graduate Student, John F. Kennedy University

After playing elite level soccer for most of my life there seemed to be an undoubtedly significant factor that I witnessed which separated the better from the best. So far as technical skill, well, save for the Michael Jordans and Lionel Messis even Nadals, professional elite level sports are all but equal. However, aside from the resources that athletes use beyond the weight room and after the fitness programs are finished, there is yet another factor; the mental game.

I first encountered sport psychology in the Men’s Varsity Soccer program at Azusa Pacific University. The year my team won the 2007 NAIA National Championship was the first time I was introduced to goal setting. The first time I ever heard of a SMART goal I was sitting with a group of 24 teammates on the eve of training camp.

Since that summer evening nearly five years ago I have received my Bachelors degree in Sport Psychology, I am interning with the Sport Psychology Institute Northwest, had professional soccer experience, and currently I am currently working on my Masters in Sport Psychology at John F. Kennedy University. Through my experience in athletics I understand the importance of mental skills and the significance of properly applying mental skills techniques. Whether it is teaching situational-anxious athletes how to use imagery to build confidence or teaching a softball team how team cohesion and group dynamics. The role of a mental coach for individual based sports such as tennis, are critical in maximizing optimal performance.

My long-term goal is to be a licensed Sport Psychologist, working with every type of athlete of all levels and ages. My short-term goals are to complete my Master’s work, receive my Nutrition and Exercise Performance Certificate, and complete the Association for Applied Sport Psychology membership.