When people think of sports psychology and sport psychologists, visualization,
self-hypnosis, motivational training, goal setting, relaxation training, meditation
and mental toughness training come to mind. And while these are important aspects of
sport psychology, managing interpersonal relationships is also a vital aspect of sports
Every week, I get calls and e-mails from players who can’t get along with
their coaches and teammates. I also get calls from parents who can’t seem to
resolve conflicts with their student-athlete offspring.
I get many inquiries from coaches who need help in motivating players and in
building a sense of camaraderie amongst members of their team. In some cases,
there are significant psychological issues between players who need to play as
a unit. Some teams resemble dysfunctional families.
In other instances, I have acted as a kind of a mediator between parents,
coaches and athletes who were in conflict over the best way to manage, cultivate
and communicate with a talented player.
Some athletes have difficulty managing academics, athletics and their
social lives. One football player who I counseled, was quite upset because
his girlfriend abandoned him because he was too busy with practice, weight
training and studying. This young man was quite upset and the loss of his
female companion initially had a profound impact on his ability to perform well on
Another baseball player who I coached was quite intimidated and shy
when he was interviewed by the media. In fact, he was more nervous about
the newspaper interviews than he was about pitching in a big game.
Managing people is frequently not an easy task and many young athletes need
some guidance and advice in order to develop the social and interpersonal skills
they need to interact with their parents, teammates, coaches, lovers,
friends and the media in an effective, positive and productive manner.
Mastering people skills will help athletes to be more effective on and off the playing
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist and the Founder of www.stayinthezone.com
He can be reached at 888 580 ZONE. Or at firstname.lastname@example.org