What is Sport Psychology?
Sport psychology is the scientific study of people and their behaviours in sport and exercise activities. The aim of the study of sport psychology is to be able to apply the knowledge learned about these to practical uses. There are two objectives that the field of sport psychology aims to meet. These are:
1) To understand the effects of psychological factors on physical performance.
2) To understand the effects of participating in physical activity on psychological development, health and well-being.
Typical questions that a sport psychologist might ask are:
* “How does anxiety affect the accuracy of an athlete’s movements?”
* “Does lacking self-confidence influence a person’s ability to learn a certain sport?” * “How does a coach’s reinforcement or punishment influence a player’s performance?” * “Does imagery training help the process of recovery in injured athletes?” * “Does running reduce anxiety and depression? * “Does participating in youth sports cause young athletes to be overly aggressive? * “Does participation in daily physical education classes improve a child’s self-esteem?”
* “Does participation in athletics enhance personality development?”
Sports psychology applies to a broad population of people – seniors, children, people who exercise daily, elite athletes, average athletes, the physically and mentally challenged, coaches, teachers and fitness leaders.
Sport psychologists conduct research, teach about what they have learned about sport psychology and also consult with athletes and coaches.