A contemporary elite sport increases pressure on athletes, coaches and other supportive persons (parents, partners, physiotherapists, physicians, etc.)

There are various factors inducing these facts:

  • personal importance of a competition
  • sport career development
  • expectations of fans
  • expectations of a coach
  • expectations of parents
  • media interests
  • pressure of sponsors and sports officials
  • anxious thoughts of an athlete (e. g. what would happen
    if I lose this match, etc.

In tough competitions, only centimetres, hundredths of a second or decimals of a point determine win or loss. Athletes are anxious about failure under pressure and hesitate regarding how to display optimal performance in the critical moments of a competition.

An in-depth survey among 110 elite level coaches in 26 various sport disciplines, coaches reported that mental factor contributes from 20 to 90 per cent (average 57,5%) to a whole performance. They specified that mental factor is more important in individual sports and in sports where media play big role and fan expectations are on a higher level.

Many coaches in a survey admitted collaboration with a psychologist. They estimated psychological service as effective (61%) or rather effective (29%). Usually they worked on a short-term basis because of travelling, tournaments and competitions away and managerial or financial burdens. In a recent survey, 85% of coaches asked for psychological service on a regular basis.

Boris Novotny

"I haven't known why I was unable to repeat my excellent training performance in competition for many years. But with psychological help I achieved it."

Boris Novotny, silver medalist in judo EC 2005

Coaches are also under big pressure from all around and sometimes they also need a psychological advice.