To achieve excellence on the field, in the classroom, and in one’s personal life, the Sport Psychology staff believes that JMU student-athletes need to possess and develop four sets of psychological skills: 

  1. Foundation skills such as motivation, drive, determination, confidence, and self-awareness form the base from which success can be achieved.
  2. Performance skills such as goal setting, thought control, energy management, visualization and focus are critical for optimal performance.
  3. Team skills such as on-field chemistry, off-field unity, communication, and leadership create the ideal environment to reach one’s potential.  
  4. Life skills such as identity achievement, interpersonal competence, crisis management, and coping are necessary to effectively manage one’s life.

To help JMU student-athletes develop the sets of psychological skills listed above, the Sport Psychology Department offers the following types of performance enhancement services to individual athletes or teams: 

  • Basic psychological skills training, which consists of developing the ability to:

    • be aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses
    • set goals effectively
    • managing time efficiently
    • think more positively and rationally
    • control physiological arousal and anxiety
    • use visualization and imagery
    • maintain appropriate levels of focus and concentration


  • Advanced psychological skills training, which consists of developing the ability to:

    • be mentally tough
    • stay motivated and focused on goals
    • maintain confidence and belief in self
    • manage emotions effectively
    • handle the pressure of competition
    • overcome mental barriers and adversity
    • achieve the ideal mental/emotional state for performance
    • mentally and emotionally prepare for practice and competition
    • have a balanced and focused perspective on sports participatio


  • Teambuilding, which consists of developing the ability to:
    • be mentally tough as a team
    • set team goals effectively
    • maintain team confidence and belief in the team
    • develop team chemistry on the field of play
    • increase team unity off the field
    • lead by example and/or be a vocal leader
    • communicate effectively
    • understand and accept one’s role
    • address and manage interpersonal conflict


  • Counseling, which consists of developing the ability to:

    • understand emotions on and off the field
    • explore identity as an athlete
    • increase awareness of self in relation to teammates, friends, and family
    • address off the field issues or conflicts
    • achieve introspection
    • address off the field relationships
    • increase effective communication
    • resolve conflicts
    • build healthy relationships
    • additional areas of interest in counseling:

- sadness                         - loneliness

- homesickness                  - anxiety/stress

- relationships issues           - family problems

- substance abuse              - injury

- anger                             - body image

- depression                      - self-esteem