Sports Psychologists

Parent Q&A

Sports Psychologist for teen boy Jun 12, 2019 (2 responses below)
athletic/sports psychologists anyone? Jan 1, 2017 (2 responses below)
  • Sports Psychologist for teen boy

    (2 replies)

    Looking for current recommendations for a male-identified sports psychologist for a 15 yo teen athlete who is manifesting performance anxiety. Entering the conversation through sports is going to get the most buy-in and engagement.  Thanks.

    I would recommend Dr. Jim Taylor, 415-322-8425, jim [at] He works with teens in all sports to help with anxiety, goals, performance visualization, etc.. He was a competitive athlete as a youth, and is a psychologist. I have seen him speak several times and have read many of his books. He's also an acquaintance through a sport that both of our kids compete in.

    Drew Diefenbach of Paragon Tennis in Orinda offers sports psychology coaching.  I believe he is also the tennis coach at Acalanes, maybe women's--not sure, you should check.  We took tennis from him through Orinda Parks and Rec several years ago.  Paragon Tennis has a website, so you could start there if interested.

  • athletic/sports psychologists anyone?

    (2 replies)


    Our kid has entered the ranks of high level athletics and we've discovered that at this point, the winning edge may be more mental than physical.  We've heard of "athletic psychologists" who can guide people through the mental part of games, but aren't sure if its "nonsense for the wealthy elite" or if it is truly another practical tool to improve performance.

    I"d love to hear from you if you have had experience (good and bad) and if it's good, if you have someone to recommend

    thanks in advance!

    I can recommend a book that will at least introduce you to the idea of sports psychology and may even be of help to you. It's call "Games Girls Play." You didn't specify if you have a son or a daughter, but parts will relate to either (although some are rather girl-specific). It will at least give you a sense of what it's about. 

    I have no personal experience in this but Endurance Sport Psychology Center in Berkeley may be helpful.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Sports Psychologist for athlete son who has lost confidence

March 2016

My sporty child has suddenly lost confidence on the court, and seems almost paralyzed when sent into the game. After years of playing various sports, having a ton of fun, getting exercise, and making friends, all of a sudden something seems wrong. Given how big a factor sports have always been to this child, I'd like to see if I can find someone that can talk with them. Concerned mom

So there could be a lot of different things going on for your child. Has competition stepped up in intensity? Has your child hit puberty? How is your child doing socially? Or is your child feeling pressure of school/life/relationships and it's all a little much?

Depending on the answers, I would recommend both Jeff Greenwald, and Regina Shields, therapist (510) 839-1740. I haven't taken my child to Jeff but contemplate it- he has an amazing reputation but he is over in Marin and sometimes it can be a while until he has an opening. Regina is an amazing therapist that I cannot say enough good things about with an office right above Market Hall. When my daughter had performance anxiety she helped her identify triggers and work through them. She also rightly noted that my daughter's stress was a normal reaction to some of the experiences she was having at school and the pressure she felt about upcoming high school and helped her talk about them. Good luck! Anon

My son is a goal keeper who played for a local club team. He was bullied and later chose to quit. The whole experience left him feeling like he had PTSD. Even though this happened in late summer, it dramatically affected his confidence, ability and performance to play high school ball.

We met with Doug Gardner and I was impressed with his ability to empathize with my son as an athlete and in addition to giving him practical tips helping him rethink his responsibility as a keeper and team member. My son enjoys the game again and I'm grateful. Thankful Mom