Tanja Kajtna

University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Tanja Kajtna, Ph. D. is a psychologist, employed at the Faculty of sport, University of Ljubljana. She teaches sport psychology related subjects, such as Sport psychology and Psychological preparation. She is a licensed sport psychologist with 20 years of experience in top sport and is the president of Section for sport psychology within the Slovene psychologists’ association. She has been working with swimmers, alpine skiers, tennis players, martial arts athletes, paralympians… She attended Beijing 2008 Paralympic games and London 2012 Olympic Games as a sport psychologist for the Slovene national team. Her work combines classical approaches to sport psychology such as PST and CBT with ACT approaches.


How to do brief interventions through Skype

Tanja Kajtna

Faculty of sport, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

A large part of sport psychology “happens” in psychologists’ offices, where we discuss athletes’ perceptions, ideas, discuss their emotions and relationships and so on. A lot of work is done also on the field, where psychologists observe athletes’ reactions and behavior in practice and competitions and where it is frequently decided which approaches and techniques would best suit the individual athlete or team. But frequently the sport psychologist is not on the competition or a training camp and during such situations interventions are usually done through Sykpe or similar media, such as Whattsap, MSN, Viber and so on. These interventions are usually rather brief in comparison to “regular office meetings”, which frequently last one hour or sometimes even more, we are speaking of sometimes even just brief, no more than a few minutes lasting sessions. They can be used for several purposes, such as analyzing a competition, going through the routine for the next day competition, getting information how the athletes are using a psychological technique or approach you’ve been working on with them and sometimes just for staying in touch and letting them know that we are thinking about them.


Analysis of a bad performance

Tanja Kajtna, Faculty of sport, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Competition analysis gives insight on how to practice in the subsequent periods; it helps to gain perspective and distance from the performance and helps the athlete to calm down after the event, which is particularly important in case of several performance opportunities in one competition or when competitions follow each other with a short break in between. Intense emotions, both positive and negative, disrupt one’s performance. Classic analysis should be done in the structure of the positive feedback structure – “positive, negative, and positive,” a “positive, negative, and question mark” structure is also useful. Sometimes, when the competition has been a great disappointment, we suggest structuring the analysis in the same way as debriefings in a crisis intervention setting, where a seriously flawed performance is perceived as a crisis situation. The structure then starts at the cognitive level, proceeds to the emotional part, and then returns to the cognitive. We start with an introduction, present the facts of what just happened, continue with the athlete’s thoughts, ask for emotional reactions, then continue with symptoms and education, and conclude with re-entry. This structure can also be adapted to each particular sport setting and event, but can prove to be extremely helpful when helping an athlete deal with underperformance.