Friday, April 22, 2011

Why Do Athletes Need To See A Shrink?

When I attended the University of Washington I wanted to be a sports psychologist. I wanted to help hitters concentrate on the curveball, golfers with their putting, and kickers with their confidence. In short, I wanted to help the players with their problems. If I had it to do all over again I'd still want to be a sports psychologist, but my focus would be different. Instead of focusing on the mechanics I'd focus on the lifestyle aspect of athletics and the challenges that come with it. How you handle exorbitant amounts of money, loose women, unrealistic expectations, disappointment, and media scrutiny are just as important as the fundamentals of the game these days.
The world has become more interactive and privacy no longer exists. The actions of a person can become public knowledge for the entire world in a matter of seconds. Athletes today need someone they can turn to that has no agenda, a person that is bound by law to keep their conversations private and confidential. A psychologist's office can serve as an outlet and a sanctuary, a place where athletes can be themselves and speak freely without the whole world judging them. They can speak about turning into a villain overnight because they want to play with their friends or closer to home (Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony). They can speak about the pressures of living a double life and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in endorsement money (Tiger Woods). they can speak about the dark cloud hovering over them since their admission of drug use (Alex Rodriguez). They can speak about infidelity and the public back lash(tony Parker).
Athletes have too much to lose by being honest with people. Half of the things that go on in their lives could ruin them if anybody found out. With so many opportunists and people looking to leverage their relationship it's good to have someone around that's paid to listen without prejudice. You'd be surprised how refreshing and uplifting it is to get things off your chest. I doubt these guys will take my advice, but if they did they would feel better about themselves. It never hurts to talk to someone that won't betray your trust.

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