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Sport & Exercise Psychology

Sport & Exercise Psychology

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Sport & Exercise Psychology

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  1. Sport & Exercise Psychology Presentation based on a presentation created by Dr. Jack Watson and Dr. Ed Etzel,West Virginia University for Division 47, Sport and Exercise PsychologyAmerican Psychological Association

  2. Today’s Path… • What is Exercise and Sport Psychology (ESP)? • A little bit of ESP history • What are some of the roles of a ESP professional? • Where do ESP’s work? • Why consult with an ESP? • What are common services and interventions?

  3. “What is Exercise and Sport Psychology (ESP)?” • The study of behavioral factors that influence and are influenced by participation in sport, exercise and physical activity • The application of the knowledge gained through this study to everyday settings (e.g., amateur and elite sport, fitness and wellness settings, sports medicine, athletics, counseling, performing arts, business) • The study of howparticipationin sport, exercise and physical activity may enhance personal development, well-being and mental health over the life span

  4. Overview of ESP( A bit of history…) • It is not a new field – it has been an area of scientific study for approximately 100 years • Its rootsare in physical education and coaching • Early research was conducted on cycling and audience effects by Norman Triplett in 1897

  5. Overview of ESP( A bit of history…) • G. Stanley Hall reported on benefits of physical education in 1908 • Coleman Griffith has a sport psychology lab at University of Illinois in 1925. He studied personality, motor learning and motivation and also served as a consultant to major league baseball, the Chicago Cubs.

  6. 2 Major Professional Organizations • APA Division 47 (Exercise & Sport Psychology) [N=910, 2006] • AASP Association for Applied Sport Psychology [N=1236, 2006]

  7. What do ESP Professionals do? • Teaching (Many teach college; others teach as part of consultations and outreach including workshops, coaching) • Research (Some professional conduct research on topics such as anxiety, injury prevention, exercise adoption, retirement, coaching behaviors, athlete stress, recovery, mental health of athletes)

  8. What do ESP Professionals do? • Practice (Many ESP professionals are in private practice. They work counseling centers, sports medicine, wellness settings and health clubs.) • Often there is a “mix” of these activities. • There is no “typical” sport and exercise psychologist in this rapidly growing field

  9. Where can youfind an ESP? • Private practice • University and College counseling centersand athletic departments • Sports medicine centers • Elite sports academies

  10. Why would clients seek the services of an exercise and sport psychology professional? • Toimprove or optimize performance to help make performance more effective • To help overcome obstacles that prevent the reaching of potential • To assist with adopting or maintaining an exercise program • To facilitate efficient/healthy functioning of sport or other teams (team building, conflict)


  12. COMMON PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT ISSUES • Perform more consistently up to potential • Set useful training & competition goals • Prepare mentally and develop routines to better control thoughts & emotions • Manage energy (psyching up and down)

  13. More Issues • Increase/maintain confidence • Handle training & competition stress • Focus, attention, concentration, distraction • Increase/maintain motivation • Facilitate team cohesion/communication

  14. What are some common ESP interventions that professionals use to help their clients?

  15. Performance Enhancement Interventions • Cognitive-behavioral therapy • Self-talk • Cognitive restructuring • Refuting irrational thinking • Thought stopping

  16. More PE Interventions • Imagery and visualization • Mental practice • Attention control training • Biofeedback

  17. More PE Interventions • “Transferable” Life Skills • Time management • Goal setting • Communication skills • Self-Awareness

  18. ESP Career Possibilities APA Division 47 Exercise and Sport Psychology Tracks I-IV

  19. APA D47 Welcome to Division 47, Exercise and Sport Psychology, founded in 1986. Division 47 represents an exciting and quickly developing specialization that cuts across psychology and the sport sciences. Through the Division, scientists and practitioners with a common interest have the opportunity to interact and to further their personal andprofessional capabilities.

  20. Career Possibilities in ESP • TRACK I TEACHING/RESEARCH IN SPORT SCIENCES AND WORK WITH ATHLETES ON PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT • Full or Part-time teaching area institutions (HS, college, university, sports med) • Part-time consulting

  21. Career Possibilities in ESP • TRACK II TEACHING/RESEARCH IN PSYCHOLOGY AND ALSO INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH ATHLETES • Full or Part-time teaching area institutions (HS, college, university, sports med) • Part-time consulting

  22. Career Possibilities in ESP • TRACK III PROVIDE CLINICAL or COUNSELING or PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT SERVICES TO VARIOUS POPULATIONS, INCLUDING ATHLETES • Private practice • University counseling centers & athletic departments • Sports medicine clinics

  23. Career Possibilities in ESP • TRACK IV HEALTH PROMOTION & WORK WITH ATHLETES BUT NOT NECESSARILY DIRECTLY IN SPORT PSYCHOLOGY • Health clubs • Health organizations • Community organizations

  24. How DO You Become a Sport Psychologist? • Earn an undergraduate degree, preferably in clinical/counseling psychology with coursework in the sport sciences. • Earn a graduate degree, ultimately a doctorate. • Examine the Division 47 Proficiency in Sport Psychology to identify prerequisite skills and knowledge • Join professional organizations as a student, especially Division 47. • Attend sport psychology conferences and read sport psychology journals. • Get some research experience. • Get competitive experience at some level.

  25. For more information • Go to and