Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sports Psychiatry?

In the Sunday times this week, I read more coverage about the GB cycling. This time they were looking at another piece of the team that helped the athletes - the psychiatrist. Here's the article.

In terms of our sport, it's hard to imagine the need for team psychiatrists. Other than volunteers, we can barely, get team physiotherapists and tend to share with everyone at a tournament. Even though there are pressures in Ultimate, I'm not certain if they're severe enough to warrant a psychiatrist. Then again, I think back to my confidence drought in 2004 and similar confidence falls in players I've seen, and I wonder if the psychiatric route might have been a faster route to playing confidence recovery (it took me about a year).

The problem is I have no clue what psychiatry means other than watching Fraser in both Cheers and his own show. The article says, "The psychiatrist will lift the bonnet [hood], show you how the engine works, then teach you to drive. When there’s a breakdown, the psychiatrist’s pupil may be in the better position."

It seems in the cases when your mind game has gone beyond refocusing, positive thought, and visualization, is when psychiatry could be brought into your game.

The GB cycling team's success is a fascinating model of sport organization study. This is just one other piece that helped lead to their success (though I'm convinced it was the technology). A thought for your Ultimate endeavors.



Mackey said...

ARHS notably consults with Alan Goldberg, who is a sports psychologist--which has more of a performance-enhancing connotation than the term "psychiatry," which tends to indicate treatment. Granted, the article makes a distinction here too...certainly for your super-high level athletes it can help with coping with the stress. Alex Rodriguez famously was seeing a sports psychiatrist (pretty sure it wasn't a psychologist) to help him get over self-perceived feelings of failure, fueled further by the NY media. Probably still is.

Agreed though, definitely hard to see the need in ultimate. The sport is already part-time for us; if anything, an ultimate player could use a general psychiatrist, not just one with sports in mind.

Anonymous said...

I wonder whether sports-based therapy woud be useful for helping people with real-world problems. It's well-documented that physical activity helps to prevent or reduce depression. Beyond that, sports provides a very limited and controlled environment, and I wonder if overcoming mental hurdles in the limited domain of sports can help us overcome mental challenges in our broader life.

Regardless, for someone who is passionate about amateur sports, that ends up becoming a fairly big part of who they are, and I think the solutions that are applied need to reflect that.

Feruccio Lamborghini said...

I think it's awesome that they include psychiatry in sports. Everything in life is mental. I haven't taken math in 8 years and just enrolled in calculus. It is a ton of work, but I'm doing fine because I know I can do it.
Feruccio Lamborghini