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  • Athletic Performance Counseling

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    Athletic Performance Counseling

    As a high-achieving athlete, you know how to perform under pressure. You can practice and train even when you feel physically exhausted. You work with a team and aim to achieve the success you need to keep winning.

    And yet, something isn’t quite working. Maybe you’re feeling increasingly stressed. Maybe you feel a bit restless or uncertain- it’s as if you don’t have an identity outside of your athletic performance. Maybe part of you is fantasizing about quitting the game altogether.

    Either way, athletic performance counseling can help you understand your anxiety, explore your goals, and restore your confidence.

    What Does Sports Performance Counseling Entail?

    If you’ve never been to therapy before, don’t worry. You don’t have a life-threatening issue to seek services or feel better. Athletic counseling may focus on several goals, including:

    Performance Anxiety

    Is it hard for you to keep your head in the game? Does your athletic performance suffer due to your insecurity, hesitation, or overall mental health?

    Performance anxiety affects athletes of all levels. This issue often has very little to do with your skills and everything to do with your mental state.

    Therapy can help you understand your physical and psychological symptoms. It will also introduce you to evidence-based anxiety interventions like relaxation, guided imagery, positive affirmations, and changing negative thought patterns.

    Increased Emotional Resilience

    It’s no secret that athletes need to have a sharp sense of focus and mental acuity. How you cope with adversity is essential for staying strong and achieving success.

    Building resilience isn’t specific to sports performance. Grit is lifelong work, and it often takes practice and discipline. Some coaches instill this skill, but specific clinical interventions like recognizing your strengths, actively improving your weaknesses, and practicing more self-care can also help.

    Our own Julia Shemaitis as a Division 2 athlete at West Virginia.


    Grieving Loss

    Maybe you’re sustaining an injury or just can’t obtain peak performance right now. Perhaps you worry that your athletic career is coming to a close, even if you aren’t ready for that change.

    Who are you without your team? What will your days look like without all the training? What does goal-setting look like if your sport is no longer in the picture?

    Most athletes experience grief once they step away from their sport. After all, it may have been your entire world- from the early years to high school to college to right now. The idea of doing something else probably seems unfathomable.

    Therapy can help athletes process those feelings in a safe and nonjudgmental environment. You’re allowed to have mixed emotions about what lies ahead in your future. But it’s important to feel supported during this vulnerable time.

    Living a Fulfilling Life

    Even if you’ve always measured your worth by your athletic skills, that doesn’t mean you need to continue living that way. Your performance doesn’t determine who you are.

    Therapy can help you explore other priorities and relationships. In this work, you may find that you need to take a step back from your professional goals and focus on other ones.

    Coping with Athletic Burnout

    Athletes are certainly at a high risk of burning out of their sport. All that training, discipline, and dedication can take a significant mental toll. You may find yourself feeling increasingly apathetic or resentful. You might be skipping practice or distancing yourself from fellow athletes.

    Counseling can also help with working through burnout. Peak performance isn’t possible when you feel detached from the sport. In therapy, you may be able to discover a more revitalized and refreshed outlook.

    Athletic Performance Counseling in Illinois

    Your mental health matters! Just like you diligently care for your body, it’s important to look after your emotional well-being.

    We understand the nitty-gritty details of sport psychology, and we help athletes strengthen their emotional health and behavioral coping. Contact us today to set up your first appointment.