Sport and fitness psychology focuses on research, theory, and practice intended to improve performance in sport and exercise settings. Researchers in the field attempt to understand how psychological factors affect motor performance and how participation in physical activity affects psychological development. Practitioners are concerned with the effects of social and psychological interventions on the well–being of athletes, teams, coaches, parents, spectators, trainers, exercisers, and participants engaged in physical activities.
General areas of interest include peak performance, managing stress and anxiety, managing mood, rehabilitation from injury, exercise adherence, and health promotion. Areas of scientific inquiry include understanding the psychological motivation to attain a goal and endure; psychological ramifications as a result of injuries; counseling techniques with athletes; assessing talent; exercise adherence and well-being; one’s one view of achieving; expertise in sport; youth sport; coaching technique; and methods that increase performance and techniques for self-regulating.
Sport and fitness psychology dates back more than 100 years. Coleman Griffith, in his era (1921-1938), was the first American to specialize in the discipline. The academic discipline of sport psychology began to be established in the time frame 1966-1977, within physical education departments. From 1978-2000, there was tremendous growth in the field as it became more known and respected by the public. Since 2000, the field has grown worldwide, research has grown in diversity, and application and consulting have flourished. It used to be the perception that only elite and Olympic athletes utilized the services of sport psychologists. Today, elite athletes, college and high school athletes, and coaches utilize the services of sport psychologists in order to increase enjoyment and improve performance. Fitness and exercise psychology is widely applied in physical activity settings by fitness specialists and trainers.
Sport psychologists are competent in promoting best practices in mental training techniques. They have knowledge of psychology and exercise and sport science. Clinical sport psychologists are trained to address clinical issues such as mood disorders, substance abuse, and disordered eating. Educational sport psychology specialists have training that allows them to deliver knowledge of mental skills, but they do not treat emotional disorders. ~ Overview provided by Darla Sedlacek, www.integralwaves.com
Last updated: 05-14-2013
Sport / Fitness Psychology Articles