Before any advice is given to the athlete, a few questions
should be asked to 1) gain further information and 2) build a
rapport with the athlete. These questions would inquire of their
athletic history, goals, past experiences with sport psychology
techniques, past experiences regarding refocusing, what do they
mean when they mean by "zone", insights to what they
think the problem is, what they've tried to do remedy the problem.
After listening to these concerns, the sports psychologist
may ask the athlete to describe the feeling they had when they
were in their "zone". The sports psychologist could
reflect on what the athlete has said or ask the athlete to clarify
certain details of what they have described so the sports psychologist
can 1) gain understanding to the athlete's problem 2) have the
athlete review this feeling 3) assure the athlete the sports
psychologists has understand what was expressed.
Next, the sports psychologist could ask the athlete to explain
what they feel is the problem. The sports psychologist may ask
the athlete how they feel when performing. Again the sports psychologist
can reflect and comment so the sports psychologist may have a
better understanding of their problem. At this point sports psychologist
would ask the athlete specifically if they feel their problem
may be "such and such", depending on the information
the athlete has shared. After the sports psychologist and the
athlete have discussed the possible causes of the problem, the
sports psychologist should follow up by asking the athlete what
they think the appropriate steps are in combating their problem.
This may be facilitated by asking the athlete to recall what
steps had or had not worked in the past in similar circumstances.
It is best if the athlete could formulate an opinion of his
own. As a consultant, the sports psychologist would attempt to
guide the athlete to plausible and practical solutions. These
solutions may incorporate mental exercises or certain rituals
depending on the suspected problem. The athlete may have to learn
how to refocus in doing their job, the process of performing.
The athlete must be encouraged shift the focus away from
winning and toward doing there best. The athlete must learn to
deal with expectations from themselves and others. Perhaps
the athlete has demands placed on him from coach, family, teammates,
friends, or fans. Perhaps the athlete will benefit from visualization
of successful performances, arousal control through relaxation,
self talk, or further counseling. The possibilities are numerous.
It is important to leave many of the decisions up to the athlete.
The sports psychologist can act as a catalyst by: