Psychological coaching has a positive influence on sports performance. At the time this guidance will stop the positive effect still holds for at least a month. This evidence is the conclusion of an extensive literature review by two British sports scientists.

The fact that physical training is necessary for the major part of athletes for delivering a good performance is beyond question. The fact that mental toughness of an athlete is important to perform well is no secret. Sports psychologists help athletes and sports teams when they prepare for major competitions. If psychological counseling actually makes sense and improves sporting performance was sorted out by Daniel Brown and David Fletcher.

By studying the available literature they tried to understand the effects of psychological counseling on sports performance.


Psychological training has a positive effect on sports performance, according to an analysis of 35 studies. The effect of this type of training is not very large but certainly contributes to a better performance. Training sessions in which athletes learn to choose optimal goals and encourage themselves in a positive sense appear to improve performance. Also, perceptual training and team building are useful.

The extent to which a certain performance improves is not measurable on the basis of this study. Individual researchers have combined the data from all the studies to say something on the basis of statistical calculations about the size of the overall effect. The mentioned methods of training all have a small to moderate effect but an effect that matters.

The training sessions generally lasted several weeks with a few exercise sessions per week. The researchers looked at a lot of different sports, such as archery and basketball. But the effects are similar between the sports. Logically, the workouts were adapted to the need of the sport, so there were no exercises by archers to improve team building.

Interestingly, the researchers have shown that when the psychological training sessions were stopped the positive effects remain for at least one month. A few weeks investment in this kind of training thus pays out for longer.


It pays to guide athletes not only physically but also psychologically. The researchers indicate that a coach can best provide psychological training because the bond between the coach and the athlete is typically strongest. It is recommended that sports psychologists guide the coaches in this, especially when a new psychological training method is deployed