This history of sport psychology was my contribution to the Sport Psychology Wikipedia entry, and a much abbreviated version appears on Wikipedia. In this history, I tried to focus on the modern applied sport psychology movement and the events that have led to the crossroads the field now stands at.
I was urged to write a portion of the new Wikipedia entry by my Michigan State cohort Sam Forlenza, who is battling the stunning lack of clarity in sport psychology knowledge and information on the web. Sam has also revived the sport psychology movie database, a comprehensive list of movies related to sport psychology.
Early History: Isolated Studies of Motor Behavior and Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity
Look back at the history of sport psychology, and until the mid-1960s, it is hard to find a consistent line of research and applied practice typical of a scientific discipline. From the late 1800s until the middle of the 20th Century, psychologists, physical educators, coaches, and even ornithologists, carried out the “work” of sport psychology.
Continue reading “A Brief History of Sport Psychology”
Here’s a great video on psychological development in youth swimmers. The speaker is Dr. Dan Gould at the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University. I think the discussion of maintaining consistency after races is something that swimming coaches and researchers need to explore. There is always a reason to celebrate a good performance, and it’s important to acknowledge that a string of good races creates a sense of positive momentum in a swimmer’s mind (it can also contribute positive momentum to others by inspiring teammates). However, each race is a separate entity in a swim … Continue reading Psychological Development in Youth Swimmers
Coaching in a positive way allows the person being coached to open up and be more perceptive. Coaching in such a way where the person being coached feels angry or guilty may cause this person to shut down. These findings come from neuro-scientists at Case Western have examined the brain’s response pathways to different coaching styles. I should point out here that coaching in these cases refers more to the type of coaching you would experience in the business world… arguably, there are many carry-overs to sports coaching. This video would suggest that coaches should give communication in a positive … Continue reading Coaching with compassion
At the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State, we have assembled a few videos regarding building team confidence. This video features Dr. Larry Lauer providing some practical advice for ice hockey coaches seeking to improve team and player confidence. More videos will follow later this week, which I will post at this site. Continue reading Rebuilding Team Confidence (Video)
Life skill acquisition. Sport and gender. Mental toughness. The culture of high-performance youth sport. These topics and more were discussed at the 2011 Midwest AASP conference (Feb 18-19), hosted by Miami University in Oxford, OH. The conference was heavily student-driven, and included over twenty presentations of research and research proposals. There was a strong contingent of undergraduate presenters… always good to see undergrads getting involved early. I’ll discuss a few of the presentations that resonated with me in my post below. Eric Martin from Miami University presented an interesting piece on passion and burnout in college sports. He spoke about … Continue reading Great Insights at the 2011 Midwest AASP Conference
After spending ten years as a swimming coach, I find it hard to come to mid-February without standing on a pool deck somewhere. I got a question about “tapering” and I thought I would post up some of my thoughts on the process. For those unfamiliar with a taper, it is the gradual reduction of training volume and intensity in order to help induce a super-compensation effect (the body outperforms previous best performances). It is interesting that in other sports, this process is called peaking; the language has a strong, positive connotation, it implies peak performance. In swimming, the word … Continue reading Thoughts on Race-Preparation for Swimming
An interesting study confirms what many of us already suspect: brief diversions help us to retain focus on a task over the long-term. A five minute Facebook update or a brief walk around the office can help return focus to the task when the break is over… as opposed to trying to maintain focus for an uninterrupted period of time. The researchers suggest that your brain loses interest in stimuli that remain constant. For instance, fifteen minutes after you have put on your clothes, you tend to no longer notice the sensations they produce. What does this mean for athletes … Continue reading Brief Diversions During Training