Sports

Sports Psychology: Unleash your potential

The better you understand and manage yourself, your difficulties and your lives, the better you will perform.

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Worried about your sports performance? Been dropped or injured? Struggling with a new or tougher environment? Want to reach your full potential?

Sports psych helps you deal with problems and make the most of your talent. Packages are tailored to the needs of athletes, coaches and officials

Clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo has a background in physical education. She works with high performance athletes, coaches and officials in team and individual sports.

Going to a psychologist isn’t weird. Karen just helped me sort through the hard things going on my life so I could concentrate on playing well.” Professional cricketer

I was struggling with my eating and over-training. Body image stuff is huge for women in sport. You need more than positive self-talk and visualisation to get on top of it.” Triathlete/cyclist

What about problems?

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Athletes, coaches and sports officials face the same risk of psychological problems as everyone else but these are often exacerbated by intense pressure of high performance sport.

Poor or irrational behaviour off the playing field or loss of form can mask serious problems such as depression, anxiety, anger, trauma, eating problems and addictions. Untreated, these difficulties can threaten sporting careers as well as work, study, relationships and life more generally.

Sportspeople often battle with these things until they hit the headlines. That they have to confront their problems on national TV is humiliating. It’s also unnecessary – the signs of depression or an addiction, for example, can be identified early by a professional.

Karen’s sports psych covers three key areas:

  • Mental Skills – for enhancing performance
  • Life Skills – for managing your life so you can perform better
  • Problems – strategies for dealing with the “tough stuff” including clinical assessment and treatment where appropriate.


Sort out your problems, develop your mental skills and improve your performance quickly.

Check out the sports psych download

Sports Testimonials

“Karen has been our preferred Clinical Psychologist for the past 4-5 years. She understand the “high performance” sports environment well and worked exceedingly well with our male and female players.  Karen has amassed invaluable knowledge of the unique stresses our players face and supported our players both on and off the field. We at NZCPA understand the value of “mental health”, last  year saw the  launch of a road show on “Mental Health” to all our teams which was delivered by Karen. This was very well received by all players and Karen has become an integral part of our personal development programme”
– Sanj Silva – Career and Personal Development Manager, New Zealand Cricket Players Association

“Our players are young, highly focused athletes needing a trusted source for advice relating to on an off field matters. Without exception players have found significant value in working with Karen, evidence of this is their recommendation of her work to colleagues.”
– Aidan Hobson – Career and Personal Development Manager, New Zealand Cricket Players Association

“As a coach of elite netballers I have had the privilege to have worked with and listened to Karen Nimmo on a number of occasions.  I have enjoyed her practical and useful approach to solving issues.  The elite netballers she has worked with have found her to be approachable, trustworthy and above all a very honest and discrete person.  The sport psych presentations given by Karen have always been informative and totally relevant to the situation.  She has worked with netballers in groups and individuals situations in a professional and caring manner.”
 – Jill McIntosh – Former Australian Netball Coach; Professional Netball Coach

“Coaching within high performance sport is a tough environment. Coaches need to surround themselves with good professional support and good people. Karen is both of these. As well as offering traditional sports psych skills and support, she is able to identify and treat more serious psychological problems which often go undetected in elite sport.”
 – Kate Carpenter – Singapore National Netball Coach

“Sooooo, I won!!!!!! 🙂 Anxiety levels were under control at the show and I used my breathing techniques backstage and focused on keeping relaxed. Thank you so much for all your help! You have been amazing and I’m sure I will be seeing you again in the future.
– Professional dancer, 26

“Wellington High Performance Aquatics has used Karen Nimmo as a sports psychologist with athletes over the last three years and has been very happy with the results. Karen engages well with the athletes, is an excellent communicator and has been highly effective in our elite environment.”
 – Luvaine McDonald – Director Wellington High Performance Aquatics

“It (the race) was brilliant! Last  year this was one if my ‘bad’ races, I was really pleased with how things went this year and I won gold :0) I was ready to use the focus techniques but I didn’t really need to because the race just came together. But I’ve since had to use them in training and they work!”
 – Triathlete 29

“Love your work J. Good to know I’m on track (after injury) and have a few new (sports psych) tricks to pull out of the bag.”
 – Professional cricketer 30

“I can finally get in the water without thinking I’m going to have a panic attack and drown!”
 – Triathlete 36

“I feel so much better. I felt like crap and i was freaking out that all my team would find out – the guys would think I was weak and the coach would drop me.”
 – Cricketer with depression, 28

“I couldn’t stop. I hated myself, I’d get into this self-loathing thing, and it (gambling) just seemed to calm me down. I feel ok about myself now and that has really helped.”
 – Professional rugby player

In the media…

Top cricketers seek mental health aid – Sport – NZ Herald News
www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid…

The pressure of the Olympic Games – Story – London 2012 – 3 Sport …
www.3news.co.nz/The-pressure-of-the-Olympic…/Default.aspx

Clinical psychology in cricket – On Demand Player – Keep up with …
Clinical psychology in cricket. Clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo talks to Tony Veitch about her work with Jesse Ryder and other New Zealand cricket players

Karen Nimmo | nzcricketwicket

New Zealand star Ryder recalls nothing of attack – SPORTS NEWS
Apr 2, 2013 – Psychologist Karen Nimmo, who has worked with Ryder for five years, said high-profile sports stars have to be able to engage with the public