The Surprising Ways Art Can Enhance Sports Psychology

Both art and technology can be helpful tools in sports psychology

The demand for sports psychologists is on the rise as athletes and teams are increasingly aware of the effects of poor mental health on performance and how overcoming a sports injury can be a mental struggle, as well as a physical one. Both art and technology can be helpful tools in sports psychology, particularly when merged together, helping athletes to reach their full potential. As we stay at home #alonetogether because of COVID-19, the Sports Techie community blog encourages our followers and readers to set a goal of doing tech aided fitness, rest and rehab activities like sport, exercise, sleep and artwork, that all help to create a sound mind when facing injuries.

Creating Art to Recover from Illness and Injury 

When it comes to sports rehabilitation, technology is being used to get people to use their bodies to create art, taking the focus away from their movements. This can make a big difference when recovering from an illness or injury. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center researched this idea with 21 patients who were recovering from strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. Patients were connected to motion sensors while modern interactive gaming technology acted as a rehabilitation tool. Researchers found that patients focused on creating abstract art rather than their movements. The patients also reported that it was a personalized way of healing as the art was unique to them and revolved around what they could do, rather than what they couldn’t. 

The athlete didn’t need to be able to draw well or create something great as an end result

Can Art Help Athletes Who Aren’t Creative?

All art offers a way for people to express themselves and doesn’t have to focus on the end result. For example, athletes who think they can’t draw could pick up a pencil and start doodling, only to realize they’re drawing simple outlines of a face over and over again. A sports psychologist could look at this and understand that the athlete is uncomfortable with crowds, which is something they can then work on together. The athlete didn’t need to be able to draw well or create something great as an end result, it’s purely a way to get feelings out without thinking about them, which can then be interpreted by the psychologist. Drawing is also an easier way to communicate than talking sometimes, so sharing a discomfort of crowds can be difficult to say but easier to draw.

Using Virtual Reality In Sports Psychology 

Virtual reality can be used in a number of ways for sports psychology, particularly as a simulator. The benefits stem from the psychologist’s ability to create or recreate environments, such as an athlete’s sporting environment where distractions can be mimicked. This can include the noise of crowds, lights, and other factors known to pressure, and possibly effect, the athlete’s performance. These simulations help athletes to change how they respond to the distractions, guided by the psychologist who can provide useful tools and techniques. Virtual reality can also be used for replaying the athlete’s performance with the help of a computer that can highlight their movements with accuracy and precision, removing guesswork. 

Simulations help athletes to change how they respond to the distractions

Sports Techie, sports psychologists can help athletes in various ways, from recovering from an injury to mastering their technique. Using art can enhance this process as it makes it easier to communicate and can get people thinking about what they’re creating, rather than the movements they’re making.

Being creative and artistic is good for the right brain whether that be the development of a young child that fears to run, jump and tumble, to fine tuning the skills of professional athletes when dealing with devastating or nagging injuries, to assisting an aging athlete with quality of life activities they used to be able to do at younger ages with ease but now get discouraged by this curveball life throws at us all eventually.

Coronavirus has changed society causing untold mental challenges. Let art and technologies be a way to help you improve your medical situation for the better.

Stay positive no matter the injury you face at whatever age you may be.

That is psychology 101.

See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!

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