How is it that sports psychology has become a subfield of its own in the realms of physical and mental health, social levels and even education? It’s the field where psychological knowledge and athletic practice come together, intending to help athletes at all levels achieve the highest performance while enjoying themselves even more.
The origins of sports psychology date back to the early part of this century, when psychologists began researching which psychological factors influenced athletes ‘ performance. Prominent personalities Some of the important contributors to this area are Coleman Griffith, known as ‘The Father of American Sports Psychology,’ who established a sports psychology laboratory at the University of Illinois in 1925.
Mental Toughness and Resilience: Methods for strengthening perseverance, concentration and overcoming setbacks.
Motivation and Goal Setting: Working with intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. How to set appropriate goals for yourself?
Anxiety and Stress Management: Coping strategies for pre-competition anxiety and stress.
Visualization and Mental Rehearsal: Mental imagery for performance improvement.
Team Dynamics and Communication: Promoting team spirit and communication between athletes and coaches.
Performance Enhancement: Adapting psychology for an athletic function.
Counselling and Clinical Interventions: Treatment of anxiety, depression or eating disorders.
Research: Including motivation, performance and the psychological effects of sports and exercise.
Coaching Education: Teaching coaches the psychology of dealing with athletes.
Academic and Training Path
Sports psychologists are usually trained by studying psychology and getting sport-related training. This could be a master’s or doctoral degree followed by an internship in sports occupation spheres under supervised practice.
Key Academic Sources
- “Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology” by Robert S. Weinberg and Daniel Gould.
- “Applied Sport Psychology: Personal Growth to Peak Performance” by Jean M. Williams.
- Journal articles from the “Journal of Applied Sport Psychology” and “The Sport Psychologist”.