Dr. Berzins practices Sports Psychology, which is the study of how psychological factors affect sports performance. Sports psychologists teach cognitive and behavioral strategies to athletes to help improve their mindsets and performance in sports. Sports psychologists work with athletes, coaches, teams, and parents to help optimize their psychological functioning on and off the court.
Some of the techniques Dr. Berzins teaches athletes include relaxation training, goal setting, motivation, visualization/imagery, and positive self talk. Studies have found that when athletes engage in more positive self talk their confidence and performance increases. Furthermore, an interesting study found that when entire teams used more positive talk, such as “we” rather than “I” statements, it predicted better outcomes for those teams.
Dr. Berzins became interested in Sports Psychology while attaining his doctorate at Fordham University. While there, he worked at the college counseling center and was able to work with a wide range of collegiate athletes. He helped them decrease stress, anxiety, and pressure, improve their focus (staying mindful while in a game), increase their confidence, and to perform up to their ability. He has continued to work with athletes ranging from high school students, collegiate athletes, olympic athletes, and professional athletes, as well as former pros transitioning to a non-professional life.
On a personal note, his love of sports has been life long. He grew up playing soccer and tennis and continues to play as an adult. In high school he excelled in track and was in the state championships for the mile race. He currently enjoys coaching travel soccer as well as tennis.