How Athletes Can Reach Their Potential

As millions of people watched the Olympic Games this winter, many wondered how these athletes compete at such a high level. How did these men and women become – and remain – such elite competitors? Although many people have a basic understanding of the incredible athletic abilities and training regimens of Olympians, fewer appreciate the mental skills that allow athletes to improve their performance. Oftentimes, it’s these mental skills that help Olympians recover from an injury or make a comeback.

Sports psychologists have specialized training to help all competitors – professional and non-professional – improve their athletic performance and satisfaction. Although there are many skills that help Olympians and other athletes reach their potentials, here are a few important areas sports psychologists emphasize:

  • Injury recoveryTolerating pain and maintaining commitment to training regimens
  • Improve athletic performance – Techniques like visualization, mental rehearsal, deep relaxation
  • Manage pressures of competition – Process emotions and thoughts associated with athletic competition
  • Improve training – Foster motivation, goal setting, and confidence to complete rigorous training routines
  • Enjoyment – Facilitate and instill a greater sense of enjoyment with athletics under stressful conditions

Robyn L. Gobin, PhD

Robyn L. Gobin, Ph.D is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor who specializes in interpersonal trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and women’s mental health in marginalized populations. Dr. Gobin earned her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon, and she has trained at the National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Healthcare System, Brown University, and the San Diego VA. Her research focuses on reducing mental health stigma, understanding the cultural context of trauma survivorship, and alleviating the mental health effects trauma by developing and testing novel interventions. In her clinical practice, Gobin integrates mindfulness and acceptance-based therapies with evidence-based treatments for PTSD to promote healing among women and marginalized groups.