Information for athletes

Below you can find answers on important questions about sport psychological support and counseling:

What do sport psychological experts do?

Sport psychological experts deal with all themes and problems that pertain to mental and psychological issues of athletes in elite and health sports. For example, dealing with nervousness, goal-setting, focusing, stress and dealing with pressure.

During the counseling, the athletes neither have to lie down on a couch, nor are they compelled to share their life stories. Instead, the focus is on mental training and work on psychological competences (e.g. concentration). Methods such as mental training, which enhances the ability to establish realistic images, exist and will be trained. Sport psychology is nothing else than practicing (mental and psychological) strength. This requires consistent and systematic training.

Mental coaches vs. sport psychological experts - what is the difference?

In training both terms are used synonymously. Both professional terms are not yet trademarked. The difference lays in the differential qualifications of these groups.

For sport psychological experts the guidelines of the asp is valid:

  • They possess a university degree (master or diploma psychology or sport science or a combination of master degree sport psychology)
  • They have passed a postgraduate advanced training in the field of sport psychology e.g. the  curricula of the asp
  • Their expertise is based on an apprenticeship background (university degree plus advanced training curricula), supervision, and practical experience
  • Their methods in sport psychological support and counseling are clear and transparent and scientifically funded. This means: All methods and techniques are known to the client in advance of application and can be scientifically explained
  • During the consultation, nothing that the client does not feel comfortable with and nothing which is only explainable by magic or superstition, happens.
  • The philosophy of sport psychological support is called "help for self-help". The client should be able to apply the mental techniques more and more autonomously and the sport psychological counseling shall support a healthy personality developement and responsibility.
  • Therefore, no dependence strategies and and relationships between the client and the sport psychological expert will be established nor supported.

For mental coaching neither qualification standards nor a standard work ethos for self-understanding in consultation and coaching are transparent and identical on a nationwide level. Therefore, the apprenticeship background, qualification and attitude towards sport psychological tasks between mental coaches are very different. In addition to that, everyone is allowed to call themselves mental coach, regardless if they have practiced their skills for a long time or for a weekend.

How much money do I have to spend for a sport psychological consultation?

The scale of charges for sport psychology in its current version (GOSP, 2012) gives an idea of expenditure of sport psychological services. The GOSP has been established in collaboration with the Federal Institute of Sport Science (BISp), the Central Coordinating Point for Sport Psychology (ZKS) and the German Society of Sport Psychology (asp). At the same time, the GOSP serves as a guide to negotiate the fees of freelancing sport psychology experts.   

How do I find a sport psychological expert?

The expert database on the sport psychological portal of the Federal Institute for Sport Science (BISp) contains a large number of qualified experts for sport psychological support in elite sport.

With the help of this database, clients are capable of an uncomplicated contact. All experts have been admitted to the database by clear criteria. Hence, a high standard is given nationwide. Furthermore, it is possible to filter the experts by various criteria (e.g. distance, sport expertise).