This article shares personal perspectives and experiences that emerged as a result of 15 years of consulting with athletes representing numerous sports at both Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The importance of listening closely to athletes, respecting their input, and meeting their individual needs is emphasized. Consultants are cautioned against using batteries of standardized personality assessment inventories as these infringe upon the athletes’ time without providing practical information. Effectiveness in this field requires firsthand experience with sport, a full understanding of the psychology of excellence, and a willingness to learn directly from the athletes themselves. One-on-one contact, adaptability to individual needs, good interpersonal skills, applied sportpsych knowledge, and persistence in application are also important. It is recommended that registration of consultants in the field of applied sport psychology be contingent upon direct evaluation by athletes.
Terry Orlick is with the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, 1 University Private, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5.