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The Psychology of Sports Essay

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The age of overwhelming strength and stamina governing sports is over, and the age of the mentally tough athlete has arrived. Athletes are no longer the superficial jocks and robots programmed to accomplish one goal, victory. Modern athletes ranging from the high school to professional levels are faced with many pressures and temptations, normally outside the realm of their sport. These pressures can inhibit an athlete’s performance substantially; therefore, the pressures need to be dealt with by psychologists. The effectiveness of sports psychology is demonstrated through the fields many theories, applications, and variety of techniques and procedures.
Sports psychology can be defined as the study and application of the attitudes and behaviors of athletes (including team athletes) that impact (either positively or negatively) performance in sports or competitive settings. The goal of sports psychology is to help athletes and teams identify unhealthy attitudes and beliefs, apply mental toughness skills and peak performance strategies to perform at optimal levels (Cohn). Sports psychology is not recognized as a traditional field of practice offered by graduate programs; although, it is a recognized field of specific study under Kinesiology and Physical Education Programs. Sports psychology was first founded in 1920 by Carl Diem in Berlin, Germany. Later on, in 1925, sport psychology was brought to the U.S by Cloman Griffith. These early psychologists aimed to observe the effects of mental state on different factors of performance such as reaction time, tension, relaxation, and awareness (Haney). In the 1960’s Griffith’s research interest in sports psychology reemerged after having faded away for a while; however, the field had a...


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...ne. 16 Oct. 2010.
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Cole, Bill. Myths About Sports Psychology: 32 Misconceptions About the Mental Game of
Sports Explained. 10 Mar 2005. Online. 15 Oct. 2010.
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Haney, Brian. “Careers in Sports Psychology.” 19 Mar 2000. Online. 17 Oct. 2010
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Johnson, Urban. “Sports Psychology-Past, Present and Future: The Perceptions of Swedish Sport
Psychology Students.” Athletic Insight:The Online Journal of Sport Psychology 3(2006). 18 Oct.
2010. http://www.athleticinsight.com/Vol8Iss3/PastPresentFuture.htm.
Tedesco, Joseph. “Sports Psychology.” Dayton Institute of Applied Sport Sciences (2005). 15 Oct.2010.
http://www.daytoninstituteofsportspsychology.com/faq.htm.


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