Sport Psychology (PSY407) VU
Lesson 01 SPORT PSYCHOLOGY DEFINED
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 1980s).
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.
©Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 1
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 researcher.
• 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 athletes.
• 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 knowledge.
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 consultants.
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 race.
©Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 2
Sport Psychology (PSY407) VU
References Cox, H. Richard. (2002). Sport Psychology: Concepts and Applications. (Fifth Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies Lavallec. D., Kremer, J., Moran, A., & Williams. M. (2004) Sports Psychology: Contemporary Themes. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers
©Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 3