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PSYC 3480
Dan Yarmey

Unit 1: Weeks 1 & 2 An introduction to Sport Psychology and Re- search Perspectives Introduction - most elite athletes and coaches acknowledge that although sport involves strength, speed, and power, competition is won in the mind - just as athletes can improve their physical skills through practice, weight training, prop- er nutrition etc, athletes’ mental skills are dependent upon commitment, planning and consistent rehearsal - too many athletes and coaches seek out psychological assistance as if by some wiz- ardly process an instant remedy can be introduced which will resolve individual break- downs or team failures - athletes and coaches have to be proactive rather than reactive in their search for peak performance - psychological skills and practical interventions based upon scientific theory and empiri- cal research are available to assist athletes to reach their optimal level of emotional arousal and psychological control - being in “the zone” both physiologically and cognitively is necessary in order to attain excellence Goals and Definition of Sport Psychology - sport psychology attempts to apply what we know about the psychology of human be- haviour to better describe, understand, explain, predict and improve the performance and experience of athletes and coaches - sport psychology is the application of scientifically established principles and tech- niques to assist athletes and coaches attain their optimal level of competitive perfor- mance - most define sport psychology as (a) the scientific study of the psychological factors that influence and are influenced by participation and performance in sport, exercise, and physical activity, and (b) the application of the knowledge gained through this study to everyday settings - people typically contact a sport psychologist to improve performance, overcome the pressure of competition, enhance the experience of participants and provide psychologi- cal assistance with injury - applied sport psychology involves assessment, training, and intervention strategies that enhance an individual’s performance and growth - in addition to issues specific to on-field performance, such as relaxation, emotional arousal, and self-confidence, attention is also given to “life” skills - sport psychologists may be involved in counseling athletes and coaches in a number of issues such as interpersonal relationships, feelings of belonging, family issues - psychological intervention may be needed to assist athletes and others in dealing with emotions, motivation and judgments following both successful and unsuccessful perfor- mances What is Sport? - what specific activities, conditions, and circumstances allow for the classification of be- haviours to be called a sport? - most definitions of sport include that it is a physical activity involving physical skill, prowess, and/or exertion - the physical skill in playing chess, cards or checkers is minimal so they are not sport - car racing is difficult, it requires intense focus, knowledge, perceptual-motor skills and extremely fast reaction times and fine eye-hand coordination - all of these add up to complex physical skills (coordination, balance, strength) suggest- ing that it is a sport - second, for an activity to be seen as sport it must occur under a particular set of condi- tions or circumstances - sport in contrast to play, is done in an organized setting - sport, unlike play and exercise, involves competition and physical activity which are for- malized under institutional rules and regulations - the transformation of a competitive physical activity into a sport generally involves standardized sets of behaviours maintained over time across different settings - third, sport depends upon the combination of intrinsic and external motivation - there is involvement for pure joy of participation and the desire to attain recognition and rewards such as winning medals Psychological Foundations of Sport Psychology - Developmental Psychology: optimal learning and performance years - Personality (Clinical): adjustment problems, motivation, persistence - Perception, Learning and Cognition: learning processes and variables, perceptual and cognitive factors influencing skill acquisition - Social Group and Organizational Behaviour: competent and cooperation, leadership and management, peer and culture effects, communication - Psychometrics Measurement: individual differences, group differences, abilities Mind-Body Relationship - sport involves physical activity but is won in the mind - in ancient history man accepted mind and body as a unit - stone age men Tuesday, Sept 18, 2012 Chapter 1: Introducing Sport and Exercise Psychology Common Myths about Sport and Exercise Psychology MYTH: Only athletes or exercisers with serious mental problems need a sport or exer- cise psychologist MYTH: All sport psychology specialists work with elite athletes to enhance their perfor- mance Introduction - sport and exercise are important elements of Canadian life - sport and exercise psychology has made major advances through the world as a legiti- mate scientific and applied discipline and is an important component of the sport sci- ences in Canada - there are still misconceptions The Nature of Sport and Exercise Psychology - the term sport and exercise psychology means different things to various people, some emphasize sport science, some performance enhancement etc. - in Canada and the US its parentage is primarily in the sport sciences - some professionals may see it more as a subdiscipline of psychology much like health psychology or abnormal psychology - in this sense, it is “a science in which the principles of psychology are applied in a sport or exercise setting” - much of the research and practice in sport and exercise psychology are heavily domi- nated by theoretical perspectives that were developed in the general field of psychology - sport and exercise psychology is an interdisciplinary scientific and applied field that embraces the integration of sport sciences and psychological knowledge - sport and exercise psychology is dynamic and constantly evolving Sport and Exercise Psychology: A Multidimensional Perspective - sport and exercise psychology not only integrates both sport sciences and psychologi- cal knowledge but also integrates many areas of psychology such as cognitive, clinical and counseling, physiological, social, developmental and health Positive Psychology in Sport and Exercise - there is a common belief that sport and exercise psychology focuses on abnormal or problematic behaviour - much has been made of how sport and exercise can be employed as an effective in- tervention with respect to certain psychological problems and their possible solutions - the question of what makes life worth living remains more elusive. What role does sport and exercise play with regard to general satisfaction and happiness with life? - there has been a renewed interest recently in the field of positive psychology, an area concerned primarily with understanding what makes normal life more fulfilling - psychology has been criticized for focusing too much on mental illness and not enough on the human side of strength and personal growth - positive psychology can be thought of as an examination of the subjective experience: well-being, satisfaction, fulfillment, pleasure and happiness - much of the research in sport and exercise psychology is directed toward enhancing performance, social and physical well-being, and positive emotion - sport psychologists work with athletes to improve performance and life satisfaction - peak performance in athletes and exercise is all about psychological, physical and emotional strength - there have been many studies devoted to factors such as optimistic disposition, flow states, enjoyment, satisfaction, psychological growth, and challenge - even when exercise psychologists work with clinical conditions such as spinal cord in- juries, cancer, and cardiac rehabilitation, a major focus is related to enhancing well-be- ing by increasing positive qualities like confidence, independence, social and physical functioning and life satisfaction Careers in Sport and Exercise Psychology - can be classified into 3 major areas: teaching, research and consulting Teaching - teaching undergraduate and graduate courses ranging from introductory sport and ex- ercise psychology to more specialized courses such as applied sport psychology, men- tal training, motivational counseling, developmental and lifespan sport and exercise psy- chology and behavioural medicine - some provide educational services to community and sport organizations Research - through specialized training, researchers are able to design, conduct, and evaluate many research questions - areas of research include personality, motivation, anxiety, stress and coping, group co- hesion, aggression and moral behaviour, youth sport, aging and physical activity, leader- ship and coaching, exercise and mental health, physical activity interventions, and sport psychology interventions - researchers in these areas seek to describe, predict, explain, and sometimes changes cognition, emotion and behaviour in physical activity settings Consulting - helping individuals, teams and organizations improve performance, change physical activity behaviour, manage sport and life demands, and enhance personal well-being - in Canada, many professional sport teams and national sport organizations employ sport psychology consultants - there are also consultants working in the fitness industry, in rehabilitation settings, and progressively more in the business community - consultants tend to play 3 general roles: 1. Educational consultants - teach people psychological skills to facilitate performance, increase exercise and enhance well-being 2. Counseling consultants help people with developmental concerns, adjustment and challenges 3. Clinical psychology consultants can assist clients in education and counseling areas, but they also have special training in psychopathology Training to be a Sport and Exercise Psychology Specialist - the training required is a source of constant debate and there is no easy answer - working in applied settings requires a different set of competencies than that required in academic settings - there are 2 general training orientations: (1) sport science education and (2) clinical and counseling sport and exercise psychology Sport Science Education - in Canada, most sport and exercise psychology specialists work in university and col- lege settings and require strong teaching and research skills - typically they are extensively trained in the sport sciences and in research methods and take additional courses in psychology and/or counseling - there are trends toward more interdisciplinary training that combines the sport sci- ences and psychology Clinical and Counseling Sport and Exercise Psychology - clinical psychology and counseling psychology are closely associated fields - clinical psychology training focuses on the assessment and rehabilitation of serious psychological dysfunctions - counseling training tends to focus more on helping people with adjustment or develop- ment problems Courses and Programs for Undergraduate Students - students should take a double major in sport sciences and psychology Standards of Conduct and Practitioner Competencies in Sport and Exercise Psy- chology - ethics refers to the nature, terms and parameters of the relationship between the con- sultant and the client - ethics code include respect for dignity of persons, responsible caring, integrity in rela- tionship, and responsibility to society Sport and Exercise Psychology in Canada and the United States - the development of sport and exercise in these countries has been intertwined - began to grow during the 1960s and 1970s corresponding with the establishment of many new universities and junior colleges - psychology departments became more interested in teaching sport psychology, but there seemed to be an overemphasis on abnormal or problem behaviour e.g. “Problem Athletes and How to Handle Them” - in the 1970s and 1980s many universities had specialists in sport psychology, more graduate programs were established and quality research flourished, the practice of sport psychology also became more widespread - now the growth of sport and exercise psychology has been propelled and shaped by societal concerns about health and health care costs, many programs currently place an emphasis on health and health promotion through physical activity - one impact of the health movement has been the diversification and expansion of exer- cise and health psychology, research topics now increasingly focus on body image, self- esteem, well-being, behavioural change, self-presentation, exercise adherence, eating disorders and other health behaviours affected by physical activity Sport and Exercise Psychology Around the World - best developed in the wealthiest economic regions - the former Soviet Union boasted one of the first programs in the world Predicted Trends and Issues in Canada - what does the future hold? Increased Specialization and Diversification - growth in the field will be in exercise related to health, primarily because physical activ- ity is an effective, and relatively inexpensive, way to maintain or improve health - hot topics are likely to be exercise adherence, obesity, aging, well-being, and youth de- velopment - there will be continued expansion of principles in clinical settings such as the study and treatment of cancer, stroke, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson’s disease Increased Research and Teaching Opportunities - the number and types of courses will continue to grow - research opportunities will increase as major funding agencies - major focus for increased funding will be on health-related research Increased Demands for Training in Clinical and Counseling Psychology - Canadian and US universities have been slow to respond to this demand - students have 2 choices: kinesiology programs can take counseling courses in psy- chology or students can do a graduate degree in clinical or counseling psychology Interdepartmental Collaboration in Teaching, Research and Practice - as the field expands, there will be a need for faculty to collaborate across departments of sport science, psychology, education, public health, and rehabilitation sciences - a major challenge is determining the necessary requisite courses and experiences for specific careers at undergraduate and graduate levels Ethics and Competencies - regulatory bodies are likely to become more vigilant in monitoring the use of the title sport psychologists or exercise psychologist Working in Performance Enhancement Teams - there is beginning to be an increased demand for applied sport psychology services by national and provincial sport organizations - another demand is for the consultants to work in collaboration with other sport science professionals, including biomechanists, nutritionists, and physiologists Online Consulting and Service Provision - there is a growing trend toward online consultation and service provision Consulting with Athletes and Exercisers with Disabilities - the lowest rates of physical activity participation continue to be among individuals with disabilities - there will be an increased demand to involve individuals with disabilities in sport and exercise programs in order to improve overall health Knowledge Translation - there is a critical need to bridge the gap between research evidence and professional practice in sport and exercise psychology Wednesday, September 19, 2012 Chapter 2: Research Perspectives in Sport and Exercise Psychol- ogy Common Myths about Sport and Exercise Psychology MYTH: Research is defined by the goals of an activity or undertaking MYTH: Experimentation is the only way to advance sport and exercise psychology re- search MYTH: Qualitative research methods are not as rigorous as quantitative research meth- ods Introduction - sport and science have become linked at higher levels of competition (aerodynamically efficient bodysuits for swimmers in the olympics) - the emphasis on promoting healthy levels of physical activity in all Canadians illus- trates the importance of scientific research since it provides evidence required to imple- ment and sustain health promotion efforts Science and Scientific Research Science - a dynamic yet imperfect process of knowledge accumulation though research Basic Research - testing fundamental mechanisms that produce conditions or events, without undue concern for the practical utility of such mechanisms Applied Research - generating solutions to immediate problems - it is useful to think about basic and applied research as 2 ends of a continuum - other sources that athletes and coaches can resort to to optimize performance: Intuition - the development of an implicit understanding of the phenomena of interest in the absence of formal training Tradition - knowledge that is historically rooted, with no emphasis on current informa- tion Authorities - experts whose opinions are considered the final word in knowledge acqui- sition Logic - knowledge generated through the application of formal rules of reasoning to the problem in question - most researchers use a different approach: Scientific Method - an omnibus term that includes a series of steps that are executed sequentially to generate knowledge - common steps include identification of a research problem, generation of a hypothesis, collection and analysis of data and integration of conclusions with directions for addition- al study Descriptive Research - provides an in-depth portrayal of a phenomenon of interest, ei- ther in general or for specific participant groups Predictive Research - concerned with establishing directional
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