Athlete Services

Psychology

Two people with crossed legs and closed eyes, meditating

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee offers Team USA athletes access to sport psychologists, who work with athletes and coaches to develop mental skills to perform at their best on the world stage. USOPC sport psychologists are all licensed professionals who are certified to provide mental skills training, address mental health concerns and offer referrals as needed.

The USOPC sport psychologists assist athletes and coaches to achieve optimal psychological preparedness for training and competitions. Additionally, they support athletes in implementing psychological aspects of recovery, including relaxation, sleep and managing one's own mind. Our sport psychologists offer individual, small group and team meetings with athletes and coaches. Emphasis is placed on improving performance under pressure through a variety of mental skills including mindfulness training, imagery work and other cognitive behavioral interventions. The sport psychologists also assist with team building and the development of positive sport culture.  

One of the newest techniques involves psychophysiology, whereby athletes learn how to regulate their physiological responses (particularly brain waves, heart rate and muscle activity) using technology to provide immediate feedback. Training is personalized to each athlete and tailored to specific sport demands. 

Athletes are encouraged to contact their sport’s high performance director to learn more and verify eligibility. 

Sport Psychologist Registry:

Athletes also have access to more than 150 mental health providers via the USOPC’s sport psychology registry. Providers are available nationwide and screened by the USOPC for education and credentials in sport psychology. Athletes do not have to be eligible for Elite Athlete Health Insurance to take advantage of this benefit. 

Providers typically charge for services and it is the athlete’s responsibility to discuss costs directly with the medical provider. Providers may offer pro bono hours to athletes on a case-by-case basis as determined by the athlete’s National Governing Body. 

Some providers have clinical training and can address mental health issues as well as performance issues; others have more educational training and provide only performance interventions. When athletes, coaches, or sports request sport psychology services, the USOPC sport psychology team can review the need and make referrals to an appropriate provider with the appropriate qualifications on the registry.

Providers: The USOPC Sport Psychology Registry has been in existence since the 1980s and is a list of vetted Sport Psychology providers who serve as referral resources for Olympic and Paralympic athletes and NBGs. To be considered for the registry, providers must have:

  • A doctoral degree in psychology or sport sciences (programs that emphasize sport psychology)
  • A Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) certification, and
  • A membership in either the American Psychology Association (APA), Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), or American Counseling Association (ACA).

To apply to be part of the registry, please go to TeamUSA.org portal or contact cssportscience@usopc.org for more information.