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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is mental fitness?
 
Refers to an athlete's ability to optimally regulate thoughts, feelings, and behaviours and act in a purposeful and consistent manner while coping with the many demands placed on him or her, the true aim of developing mental fitness is to
  • maximize performance;
  • engage in quality training; and 
  • maintain a healthy level of mental well-being.
What are the attributes and skills of a mentally fit individual?
Based on decades of research and observations from the field examining top performers, common attributes and skills linked to elite performers include: high self-confidence, commitment and ability to set goals, composure, motivation, having perspective, positive attitude and mindset, mindfulness, focused on task, emotional control, ability to manage stress and anxiety, control of activation and relaxation levels, well-developed competitive plans, ability to embrace and manage pressure, adaptability and self-regulation, passion and love for sport, work-ethic, responsibility, and ability to manage team environments and performance demands.
What is the mental training process? 
  1. Education: providing foundational knowledge regarding mental fitness principles and strategies

  2. Awareness: increasing athlete's self-knowledge by helping them reflect on responses related to their best and less than best performances situations, experiences, and perspectives

  3. Implementation: challenging athletes to apply newly acquired knowledge of performance principles, strategies, and self-knowledge in performance situations

  4. Evaluation: inviting athletes, and external observers, to evaluate mental fitness capacities and identify key lessons that can be applied to future performances

* Answers to the questions above are directly taken from the Canadian Sport for Life - Mental Fitness for Long-Term Athlete Development resource. 

What is a Mental Performance Consultant? 
 

Definition of Mental Performance Consultant, as defined by the Canadian Sport Psychology Association:

 

"Mental Performance Consultant (MPC) are extensively trained in the area of sport sciences and have acquired fundamental knowledge in psychology and counselling through university undergraduate and graduate coursework. MPCs provide individual or group consultations geared towards improving sport performance and well-being related issues. They do not diagnose or treat mental health issues."

Why is it important to utilize individuals from the Canadian Sport Psychology Association (CSPA)?
 

It's important to utilize CSPA members because of the requirements and review process that occurs to obtain membership. For example, the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institutre Netwrok (COPSIN) utilize individuals who are CSPA members. Below is a description of what CSPA members have (https://www.cspa-acps.com/about).

 

CSPA Professional Members have met a high standard of education and training and have gone through an extensive review process. Professional members abide by the CSPA Code of Ethics and fulfill the following criteria:

  • At a minimum, a Master's degree in sport psychology or related field

  • A demonstrated understanding of foundational disciplines such as human kinetics or kinesiology, psychology, and counselling

  • Extensive consulting experience

  • Hands on experience in sport

  • Favorable supervisor and client evaluations

What is the difference between mental training and counselling/therapy?
 

Mental training's goal is to improve performance, enjoyment of sport, and life skills. Counselling/therapy works with individuals experiencing personal challenges and mental health problems. Some mental performance consultants have the experience, qualifications, and education to deliver mental training and counselling/therapy services. In some cases, athletes may take part in both to improve their performances and overall mental health.