History of Sport Psychology-Sports Psycology-Lecture Handout, Exercises for Sports Psychology. Alagappa University

Sports Psychology

Description: Sport psychology is a science in which the principles of psychology are applied in a sport and exercise setting. The clinical/ Counseling Sport Psychologist, Educational Sport Psychologist, Research Sport Psychologist are types. This lecture includes: Sport, Psychology, Professional, Organizations, Issue, Certification, Clinical, Counseling, Accreditation, Multicultural
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Sport Psychology (PSY407) VU
Lesson 01
Sport psychology is a science in which the principles of psychology are applied in a sport and exercise
setting. These principles are often applied to enhance performance, however, a true sport
psychologist is interested in much more than performance enrichment and sees sport as a tool for
human enrichment. The sport psychologists are interested in helping every sport participant reach his
or her potential as an athlete. Sport psychology is an exciting subject dedicated to the enhancement
of both athletic performance and the social-psychological aspects of human enrichment. In simple
terms sport psychology is the study of the effect of psychological and emotional factors on sport
performance, and the effect of sport involvement on psychological and emotional factors. These
psychological and emotional factors can be fine-tuned and learned which can have a positive effect
on athlete’s performance in sport and his overall psychological and emotional makeup.
History of Sport Psychology
Sport psychology as a distinct field of study is extremely young and is evolving. The first clear
historical example of research being conducted in the area of sport psychology was in 1897. Drawing
upon field observations and secondary data, researchers found out that presence of other
competitors could facilitate better cycling performance. The first sport psychology laboratory was
established by Coleman Roberts Griffith at the University of Illinois in 1925. Following World War
II such notable as Franklin M. Henry at the University of California, John Lawther at Pennsylvania
State University, and Arthur Slater-Hammel at Indiana University pioneered graduate-level courses
and developed research laboratories of their own.
1950 to 1980 are considered as the "formative years" for sport psychology. During this time, a
number of research initiatives and textbooks were published. Some of the early textbooks included
Psychology of Coaching, by John D. Lawther 1951, and Problem Athletes and How to Handle
Them, by Bruce Ogilvie and Tom Tutko (1966).
Some initiatives in research were Warren Johnson’s work with hypnosis and athletic performance
(1960s), the development and testing of anxiety inventories by Rainer Martens in (1970s and 1980s)
and Albert Carron’s and P.Chelladurai's work with sport leadership and team cohesion (1970s and
Development of Professional Organizations
A number of professional organizations have evolved since the 1960s. In 1965 the International
Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP) is to promote and disseminate information about the practice of
sport psychology throughout the world. In North America a small group sport psychologists from
Canada and the United States started work on forming their own professional organization for sport
psychology. The efforts of this small group came to fruition in 1966 when it was recognized by the
ISSP. The name of this new organization was the North American Society for the Psychology of
Sport and Physical Activity. NASPSPA. Since then NASPSPA has evolved into an influential
academic society focusing on sport psychology in the broadest sense. NASPSPA provided a forum
for researches in the areas of sport psychology, sport sociology motor learning, motor control, and
motor development to meet and exchange ideas and research. Shortly after the emergence of
NASPSPA in the United States, another significant professional organization came into existence in
Canada in 1969. This organization was named the Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and
Sport Psychology (CSPLSP). In order to better address the interests and needs of sport psychologists
interested in applying the principle of psychology to sport and exercise, the Association for the
Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology (AAASP) was formed in the fall of 1985. AAASP has
emerged in the 1990s as the dominant association for the advancement of applied sport psychology
as well as research in North America, and perhaps in the world. In addition to these specialized
organizations, other associations created interest areas dedicated to sport psychology within their
organizations. These include American Psychological Association (APA), which created its division
47 in 1968 dedicated to sport psychology.
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Sport Psychology (PSY407) VU
Issue of Certification
Historically, sport psychology emerged as a discipline from physical education. The question arises
that ‘which people are qualified to call themselves psychologists and to provide services to athletes?’
AAAPA took the issue one step ahead and adopted a certification document outlining the process an
individual must take to be given the title of "Certified Consultant, Association for the Advancement
of Applied Sport Psychology". As one of the certification criteria, the applicant is required to hold an
earned doctorate in an area related to sport psychology (e.g., psychology, sport science, or physical
education). To be certified by AAASP both licensed and unlicensed psychologists need to meet the
minimum standards as set by the organization.
What Does The Sport Psychologist Do?
Roles and functions of a sport psychologist are described in the categories of clinician, educator and
The clinical/ Counseling Sport Psychologist
The clinical/ counseling sport psychologist is a person trained in clinical or counseling psychology
and may be a licensed psychologist. Generally clinical/ counseling sport psychologists are individuals
who are trained specifically to deal with emotional and personality disorder problems that affect
The Educational Sport Psychologist
Most sport psychologist who received their academic training through departments of physical
education considers themselves to be educational sport psychologists. They use the medium of
education to teach correct principle of sport and exercise to athletes and coaches. Their main
purpose is to help athletes develop psychological skills for performance enhancement. They also help
athlete, young and old, to enjoy sport and use it as a vehicle for improving their quality of life.
The Research Sport Psychologist
For sport and exercise psychology to be a recognized and respected science, the knowledge must
continue to grow. It is the scientist and the scholar who serve this important role. For the practicing
sport psychologist to enjoy professional credibility there must exist a credible scientific body of
Accreditation Issue in Sport Psychology
The issue of who is qualified to deliver sport psychology services has been addressed to some degree
by AAASP with its certification program, the issue still remains as to who is qualified to prepare or
train sport psychologists. Accreditation is the only way to ensure quality and consistency of academic
training. Students graduating from accredited programs would be prepared to be certified AAASP
Multicultural Training Issue in Sport Psychology
Another issue that must be addressed is the issue of multicultural training. Graduates of sport
psychology programs should be adequately trained in issues that relate to culture and race.
Multicultural counseling is defined as counseling that takes place among individuals from different
cultures/ racial backgrounds.
Multicultural training of sport psychology students should be provided in four domains. First,
Students should experience a heightened awareness of and sensitivity to cultural groups different
from their own. Second they should gain knowledge about people who belong to cultures different
than their own. Third, students should learn helping and intervention skills through the process of
role playing and stimulated interaction. Finally, each prospective graduate should experience a
supervised practicum to gain hands-on experience working with members of a different culture or
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