What is Sports Psychology?
Sports Psychology is a relatively new discipline of psychology and is the study of “how psychological factors influence sports, athletic performance, exercise, and physical activity. Sports psychologists investigate how participating in sports can improve health and wellbeing. They also help athletes utilize psychology to improve their sports performance and mental well-being.”  They don’t just work with professional and elite athletes they also work with coaches, admin, parents from various levels of competition and age (recreational youth participants to pro & Olympic athletes, to master’s level performers). They also help people use athletics and exercise to enhance their lives and well-being. Sports psychology also uses psychological knowledge and skills to address optimal performance, developmental and social aspects of sports participation, as well as systemic issues within sport settings and organizations.
Sports psychology is a very broad discipline of psychology. There is Applied sports psychology which focuses on skills to enhance athletic performance (goal setting and imagery). Clinical sports psychology is mental training strategies with psychotherapy to help clients who experience mental health problems including eating disorders and depression. Academic sports psychologists who teach at colleges and universities, they also conduct research.
How do Sport Psychologists support athletes?
Sport psychologists have specialized training and knowledge in social, historical, cultural, and developmental sports psychology. They help athletes work through issues and develop techniques and mental skills to enhance performance and participation. They also provide clinical and counseling services. Sports psychologists direct their focus towards attentional focus, visualization and goal setting, motivation and team building, anxiety, and rehabilitation. 
“While coaches typically focus on the physical side of sport, sport psychologists focus on athletes’ minds. Sport psychologists can help athletes—professionals and amateurs alike—achieve their goals.” 
The Three Main Skills and Procedures Sports Psychologists use
Sports psychologists mainly use three different types of skills.  The first one being cognitive and behavioral skills for training and performance enhancement. The aspects they focus on in this category is as follows:
- Goal setting
- Imagery and performance planning
- Concentration and attention control
- Developing self-confidence
- Self-esteem and competence in sports
- Cognitive-behavioral self-regulation techniques
- Emotion management
- Sportsmanship and leadership skills
There’s also counseling and clinical interventions which the focus is on:
- Eating disorders and weight management
- Substance abuse
- Grief, loss and depression
- Overtraining or burnouts
- Sexual identity issues
- Aggression and violence
- Injury and rehabilitation
- Career transitions and identity issues
Lastly there’s consultation and training with the focus on:
- Team building
- Sports organization
- Systems interventions with parents and families involved with youth participation
- Education of coaches regarding motivation, interpersonal and leadership skills, talent development, educating coaches and administration about early identification and prevention of psychological difficulties