New psychology app used by Olympians

Top Olympic athletes are using a new sports psychology mobile app developed by US Track and Field Sports Psychologist Dr Steve Portenga. Dr Portenga is also the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of iPerformance Psychology - the iPerformance Sport and Performance Psychology Mental Skills Trainer app will assist a number of American athletes competing in the London games.

It is hoped the service will act as personal trainer and adviser for participants looking to boost their focus and mental preparation ahead of a big sporting contest.

Members of the US Track and Field team will be granted early access to the app - which makes use of psychology assessments, exercises, meditations, games, routines and worksheets - before its general public release in the middle of July.

Dr Portenga noted: "In your hand you can now hold years of mentoring from the best sport psychology consultants [and] years of work as a professor in one of the most highly regarded graduate programmes"

Chartered Psychologist Dr Paul McCarthy of Glasgow Caledonian University commented: "From time to time in professional sport, aspersions are cast upon sport psychologists for charging athletes to tell them what they already know.

"If we agree with this line of reasoning - common sense solutions to common problems - perhaps these solutions could be buffeted into the minds of athletes with an app.

"The app created by Dr Steve Portenga contains assessments, worksheets, games and routines to improve mental preparation and focus for sporting events. The app doubtless has a role when working with some athletes but it is the psychologist, not the app, which matters most when preparing athletes for life inside and outside sports' cordons.

"Under greatest professional scrutiny, athletes are separated on the razor's edge of triumph and disaster by knowing how to 'keep your head when all about you are losing theirs'.

"Rather than simply mechanising this caring alliance, or reducing the precepts of the profession to a simple set of procedures on an app, we ought to maintain the common touch and recognise such applications as an educational support to emphasise the principles and practices of proper preparation for training and competition."