We are a group of over 20 sport psychologsits and mental trainers who have a vision that all athletes will have access to mental training – in all sports, at all ages, at all levels and all over Israel. For the last 22 years, we have developed programs, created materials and trained over a hundred people to work in the field of sport psychology.
You may wonder how this happened! I grew up in a family that loved sports. Having two brothers meant that I was always playing baseball, football, swimming or any creative game we invented. At that time, it was “uncool” for girls to play sports or even sweat, but I didn’t care and ultimately decided to focus on tennis as my primary sport. I played all through high school and college and when I made Aliyah (after marrying an Israeli), the first thing I did was join a tennis club.
I became a clinical psychologist and worked in the field for 10 years specializing in adolescence. But it wasn’t me – it’s not how I wanted to do my life. So in 1992, I went with my passion and joined the Israel Tennis Center as a sport psychologist and started working with the top Academy players under Shlomo Glickstein.
Over the next 18 years, we created programs to help competitive athletes manage the stress of competition, not only in tennis but other sports too. It was clear to me that all the tools and techniques we taught were the exact same tools needed for other areas of life as well – the big test, the big interview, the big speech.
As the mental side of sport began to gain importance in Israel, it became evident that there was no place to study sport psychology. To fill this gap, we started offering sport psychology courses for everyone who was interested. I also teach “Introduction to Sport Psychology” at the Tel Aviv/Jaffa Academic College.
We have also developed a program, Sport as Therapy, for working with youth who have social issues, problems with ADHD , managing anger and/or low self esteem. It became clear to us that we could use sport as a tool to help these kids gain control of their lives and feel good about themselves.
In addition, we offer workshops and fun days for businesses, organizations, and sport classes. We’ve worked for many years with the Prime Minister’s Office, CFOs , and other organizations on topics such as team building, staying focused, coping with pressure and stress and recovery.
I left The Tennis Center in 2010 to open my own institute – The Sport Psychology Center – and this web site explains it all.
Dr. Ellen Katz