Sports Counseling

Provided by Trusted Partner, Christopher Missimo 

Sports Counseling/Psychology & Performance Training

What is it and why is it important?
  • Sports counseling/psychology and performance training are two sides of the same coin. Sports counseling is focused primarily on a spectrum of concerns ranging from more mild/moderate issues (i.e. identity concerns, post injury mental health, motivation enhancement, etc.) and more severe, diagnosable concerns of mental illness. More mild concerns typically come with a focus on different facets associated with RAMP (relatedness, autonomy, mastery, and purpose) as they pertain to the athlete’s individual needs, concerns, and sport. Severe concerns require more traditional methods of therapy. All levels require a broad and thorough understanding on the clinician’s part of what is expected of athletes in today’s culture. In addition, clinicians should be well versed in research of health psychology, sports psychology, exercise psychology, etc., to provide an understanding and conceptualization of concerns.

  • Mental performance training is geared towards creating more efficient processing of the brain. We are working on a variety of fronts, including greater bi-lateral brain connection, quicker processing of the occipital lobe, more efficient processing under intense stimuli, etc. It combines physical and mental training/processing and usually takes place at a field or other location. The focus is still on the mental training and thus should not be confused with strength & conditioning. Nevertheless, there are some physical techniques that require movement and mimic S&C drills in some way. An additional benefit to this type of work is that many athletes are naturally more receptive to it than typical therapy sessions within an office space.


What are the facts?

  • Collegiate student-athletes face many of the same mental health risk factors as their non-athlete peers.  However, their role as student-athletes often presents additional risk factors.  These risk factors can be more direct stressors (e.g., performance anxiety, issues with coaching styles, time expectations), interactions with others in their environment that encourage risk behaviors and discourage help seeking behaviors, or belittlement or discrimination based on race/ethnicity or sexual orientation.

  • Common conceptions about athlete needs:
    • 1. Most believe they are less susceptible to mental health concerns –
      • FALSE for although physical activity can reduce stress and increase well-being, more elite athletes often over train, thus losing out on those benefits and only adding to the additional concerns of being an athlete.

    • 2. Similarities between depressive symptoms and over-training due to strenuous physical expectations lead to a lack of assistance – ​​​​
      • TRUE it can be difficulty for coaching staffs to identify the differences between depressive symptomology and over training fatigue. This often leads to many going without preventive or current care.

    • 3. If an athlete receives additional mental training or mental health assistance, it will negatively impact their self-confidence –
      • FALSE as most athletes become more self-aware, confident, and insightful.

  • According to the NCAA, “About 30 percent of the 195,000 respondents to a recent American College Health Association (ACHA) survey reported having felt depressed in the last 12 months, and 50 percent reported having felt overwhelming anxiety during the same period.”

  • Again, according to the NCAA in 2016, 37% of female and 25% of male track athletes’ have experienced depressive symptoms. In addition, 31% of female and 13% of male soccer players, 30% of female and 18% of male softball/baseball players have experienced depressive symptoms.

What can you expect in a session?

  • For sports counseling, our work begins by identifying and conceptualizing the individual athlete’s needs. Each subsequent session is designed to be goal-oriented and directed to those needs. The athlete will be provided time to address concerns they may have from the time between sessions prior to more tangible techniques and work to facilitate treatment goals. Time of treatment varies greatly and depends primarily on the athlete’s needs.


  • For performance training, sessions are the same length as sports counseling (typically 45 min to 1 hour). Each session begins with a review of previous work and warm ups, followed by drills for the athlete’s needs, followed again by processing and review of those drills regarding how they apply to performance as well as personal development. Many athletes respond very well to this type of training as it forces they brain to work in different ways and allows them to receive mental training without having to sit in an office.

Sports Counseling is commonly used to help clients overcome:









7135 Colleyville Blvd. Suite 101

Colleyville, TX 76034


T: 817-416-7169

F: 817-416-7175

  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Wix Facebook page

Contact with Psychological Service of North Texas via email or telephone does not constitute a therapeutic relationship.  Until you and the psychologist have both agreed to proceed with therapy or testing, and have both signed required paperwork, you are not a client with Psychological Services of North Texas.  If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, you may call the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas at 214-828-1000.  If you are in imminent danger of harming yourself or someone else, call 911 and wait for instruction, or proceed immediately to a nearby emergency room. 

© 2018 by

Psychological Services of North Texas