Sports Psychology



Désarée Festa - Charlotte 49ers Sport Psychologist

Désarée specializes in performance enhancement and working with student-athletes.  She helps athletes get the extra edge in their sport and with personal issues that may or may not be interfering with their athletic performance. Désarée Festa earned her Ph.D. from the Combined Program in Counseling Psychology & School Psychology at Florida State University where she received extensive training in the college student population. She received her Master's degree in Sport Psychology from Florida State University and had the opportunity to work with student-athletes in a variety of capacities.  She also worked with student-athletes at The College of William & Mary during her doctoral internship. Désarée received her undergraduate degree from Eastern University where she majored in psychology, minored in sport & coaching, and was a student-athlete. In addition to working at UNC Charlotte, Désarée currently works at Southeast Psych in the Mind Over Body division where she works with a range of athletes and individuals.

What is sport psychology?

Most athletes have heard that sport is 90% mental. Sport psychology focuses on training and enhancing an athlete’s mental, emotional, and interpersonal factors that impact their performance and participation in sport. It also helps teams improve their ability to work as a unit and can be an additional resource for coaches.

When should you use a sport psychologist?

ANY ATHLETE CAN USE A SPORT PSYCHOLOGIST. Many elite athletes and top athletic programs use sport psychology in order to get the extra edge in their sport. If you are an athlete that is experiencing any barriers in their sport or is motivated to achieve their optimal potential, they should definitely consult a sport psychologist. Coaches can refer an athlete if they would like him/her to received individualized and tailored mental skills training. In addition, to sport performance enhancement, working with a sport psychologist with a background in psychology/therapy can help athletes with personal/life issues and can integrate their sport life into treatment.

What are common sport psychology topics?

A sport psychologist can work with teams or individuals on the following topics:

- performance anxiety 

- getting in the zone      

- managing transition into a higher level of competition

-enhanced confidence 


-managing dual roles of student athlete              


-increased motivation                 

-team communication

-team building 

 -pre-competition routines                         

-managing intense competition/pressure          


What are common life issues an athlete can address with a sport psychologist?

-concerns about academics

 -issues with friends and family

-alcohol and other drug issues

-eating/body image concerns

-relationship issues

-better understanding self and others


Is it confidential?       

Yes! Confidential one-on-one sessions are provided to help 49er student-athletes perform to the best of their ability in their sport, in the classroom and in the game of life, unless the athlete states otherwise.

You can reach Désarée at:

Spring 2013 hours:

Mondays from 9 AM – 5 PM in ATAC AAC

She will also be conducting life skill sessions on the following days/times:

February 18th 6:00 PM topic TBD

February 25th 2:00 PM topic TBD 

March 18th 2:00 PM topic TBD

April 8th 6:00 PM Transitioning Out of Sport


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