Sports Psychology Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Sports Psychology

Sport psychology is that branch of psychological consultation, which specially deals with the needs, emotional and mental development of athletes and sportsmen. With competition being extremely intense in the field of sports, athletes undergo serious mental and physical stress and 'burning out' is a persistent threat. For this reason, they regularly need to consult a psychologist who can help them put things into perspective and focuses on the enhancement of their athletic performance. However not every psychologist is capable of understanding the needs and goals of a sportsperson and therefore a unique branch of psychology exists which deals specifically with athletics-related problem and is known as sports psychology.

Sports psychologist or counselors are professionals with specialized degree in the field. These professionals concentrate on development of an athlete's personality, his mindset and attitude thus enhancing his performance on the field. They treat sports people as special section of the population (Hinkle, 1989a) and it helps them seek solutions that are most relevant to unique sport-problems. With demand for sports therapy increasing, we now have two different kinds of professionals in this field i.e. sport psychologist and sport counselors. While the former focus specifically on performance improvement (Butt, 1987) and mental fitness (Burke, 1989), the latter deal with psychological and emotional problems of sportspersons.

Professionals in sports psychology usually have a college or university degree in the field. These are numerous universities offering sports psychology programs, which traditionally concentrate on performance improvement (Millslagle, 1988), mental fitness, motivation, pain management and coping with stress and failure. (Bunker & McGuire, 1985) Sports psychology programs need to incorporate guidelines issued by Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology. The guidelines clearly state that a certified sports psychologist must acquire "supervised experience with a qualified person, during which the individual receives training in the use of sport psychology principles and techniques" (p. 3). These guidelines help in designing the most suitable sports psychology programs and in imparting most relevant knowledge. In other words, there exists a credentialing criterion, which explains who a sports psychologist…

Sources Used in Document:


Hinkle, J.S. (1989a, March). Sports counseling: The process and the product. In J.S. Hinkle (Chair), Sport psychology: Perspectives on sports counseling. Symposium conducted at the 35th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, Washington, DC.

Butt, D.S. (1987), Psychology of sport. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Millslagle, D.G. (1988). Visual perception, recognition, recall and mode of visual search control in basketball involving novice and experienced basketball players. Journal of Sport Behavior, 11, 32-44.

Burke, K.L. (1989, March). Counseling for performance enhancement. In J.S. Hinkle, Sport psychology: Perspectives on sports counseling. Symposium conducted at the 35th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, Washington, DC.

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