Sports Psychology
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Psychology of Sports

Application of Psychology to Sports
      Most recreational, youth, and elite amateur and professional athletes, credit their successful performances to using mental imagery, goal setting, motivation training, and relaxation as the basis for their strategy of strong mental preparation to achieve superior physical performance. 

      Major professional sports, top tier university and college NCAA varsity sports, and USOC summer and winter sports have access to a staff sports psychologist to consult with their athletes to insure they are performing up to their full potential by not psyching themselves out of being contenders.

      Conventional wisdom and training suggests that an in your face approach by a coach is not the best approach to coach and inspire players.

      Some sports enthusiasts take it personally when their college or professional team loses. Fortunately most fans understand it is just a form of entertainment even when their team is losing.

      There is a stigma both in sports and the general population that seeing therapist or psychologist means that the person has severe problems.  Psychological stress is relative. Stress can originate from moving, changing jobs, divorces, any unexpected pregnancy, etc. each have attached expectations that come with high stress high levels.

      For many athletes home centered activities provide a sense of continuity, certainty and structure which comforts and provides emotional stability. However, emotional stability is not necessarily a precondition for having fun, but many individuals feel it is a necessity because they can not compartmentalize different factors in their lives. An emotionally capable individual does not allow things to spill over so they carry a bad mood over from one day to another and allow the negativity to affect everything they do and everyone they come in contact with.

Over the Top Fans
      Some male and female spectators of every age live vicariously as a fan of their favorite team or even a specific player.  In some families there is little tolerance for anyone who isn't an ardent fan/supporter of their team. Adding alcohol consumption to the mix frees people from their normal inhibitions and can cause physical confrontations to occur when normally people would refrain from such disagreement.

      To the amateur athlete and their parents, winning and losing in sports may feel like life and death experience. But life will still go on and the sun will continue to rise in the East and set in the West.

      Most individuals realized that life will go on regardless of their athletic prowess, or which team wins. Sure we may be disappointed, but we don't riot in the street, loot stores, and destroy and burn personal property like cars and buildings.

Recommended Reading:

Young Athletes Try New Coach: The Psychologist  by Bill Pennington  New York Times Aug. 5, 2007
"The idea that mental coaching can help the youngest athletes has pervaded the
upper reaches of the country's zealous youth sports culture. In the pursuit of college scholarships and top spots on premier travel clubs, the families of young athletes routinely pay for personal strength coaches, conditioning coaches, specialized skill coaches like pitching or hitting instructors, nutritionists and recruiting consultants. Now, the personal sports psychologist has joined the entourage." 

Sports Psychology Services is a source for many articles on various sports psychology topics.

A Self-Monitoring Feedback Package for Improving Freestyle Figure Skating Practice
Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology Volume 7, Issue 4, December 1985
Authors: K. Michelle Hume, Garry Martin, Patricia Gonzalez, Clayton Cracklen,
Sheldon Genthon

Behavioral coaching techniques consisting of instructions, a self-monitoring checklist, and coach feedback were examined at freestyle practice sessions with three female pre-novice figure skaters.

These techniques were compared to normal coaching procedures for their effects on the frequency jumps and spins are performed, the number of times a skater practiced a routine to music, and the amount of time spent engaging in off-task behaviors during 45 minute free skating sessions.

With a reverse replication design, the behavioral coaching techniques produced considerable improvement on all dependent measures. Social validation measures indicated that the procedures improved quality of skating and were rated positively by the coach and by two of the three skaters.

The Zone: An Empirical Study  Athletes in flow: A qualitative investigation of flow states in elite figure skaters. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 4(2), 161-180.

Sport Psychology - A brief description of sport psychology
     Winning, according to some coaches and psychologists, may be as high as 90% mental attitude.  There are relative few articles that deal directly with the sport of figure skating; however, research into other sports can be used to extrapolate information that can be applied to figure skating.


PDF SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY  Role of Sports Psychology is to enhance the learning a broad range of psychological skills that can play a critical role in learning and in performance.

Role of psychology in sport Performing Mind Sport psychology. The psychology of sports performance, sport psychology, health psychology, exercise psychology, sport psychologist, etc.

Sports Psychology  Sports Psychology: how to "psych yourself up" and use mental preparation for ... be aware of the important role your mind can play in achieving your goals.

Sports Psychology and Performance Enhancement  Sports Psychology and performance enhancement article - learn about sport ... game skill because of its importance and relationship to other mental skills.

Competitive Advantage: Sports Psychology and Mental Toughness  Sports psychology can help you avoid the self-esteem damaging mistakes made by well meaning parents.

PDF Sport psychology has been a growing field The Importance of Sport Psychology in Sports Medicine. Laura Miele-Conlon Ph D. Treat the athlete both physically and mentally.

Sports psychology: the role of momentum in sports performance  Sports psychology: the role of momentum in sports performance. The concept of psychological momentum in sport and ways to trigger, maintain and reverse it.

Australian Psychological Society : Sport and exercise psychology  Sport and exercise psychology has played a significant role in the understanding, training and ultimately the use of mental skills for peak performance.


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

The Sports Environment
PDF  Sports Personality
          Role of Sports Psychology
PDF  Heredity  

All materials are copy protected. 

The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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