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Sports Psychology

Sports psychology

Research has long shown that physical performance is not solely rooted in such factors as muscle development and physical training; instead, other factors, such as personality and motivation also play a role. Because of these variables, the field of sport psychology exists to understand the elements of physical performance that reach beyond the physiological realm. The study of sport psychology is a two-way street:

  1. Sports psychology considers the role that psychological factors play in athletic performance
  2. Sports psychology considers the impact that athletic performance can have on psychology.

One of the most important fields of study of sport psychology is that of personality. Athletes who excel in their field often share a number of similar traits, including mental toughness, motivation, and self-confidence. Understanding these shared traits can help in the creation of programs to support athletes as they strive for personal and professional greatness. Sport psychology also focuses on young athletes; by understanding the psychological and cognitive effects that youth sports can have, particularly those with far-reaching physical implications, changes can be made to improve safety and performance. Finally, sport psychology also works to improve coaching tactics. When athletic leaders understand the psychology of their athletes, they can incorporate training protocols and motivational techniques that can be more effective. This can produce better performance results and a more positive experience for all those involved in athletics, no matter what the level.

Helping athletes develop and maintain their intrinsic motivation is important in increasing motivation as well as developing mental toughness. Although most athletes are intrinsically motivated when they first start their sport career, the structure of organized sport has the potential to undermine or raise intrinsic motivation. In your research papers, you will want to do the following regarding sport psychology:

  1. Define the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (use examples). Also, what is the distinction between self-determined and nonself-determined extrinsic motivation?
  2. Name and define the three psychological needs underlying intrinsic/self-determined extrinsic motivation? What are at least three sample strategies coaches/administrators can use to fulfill each of those needs (three for each neednot three in total) other than autonomy. For autonomy, describe the dimensions underlying an autonomy supportive environment and at least one example for each dimension.
  3. Drawing from the text book Applied Sports Psychology by Jean Williams explain why extrinsic rewards can either raise or lower intrinsic motivation depending on how they are interpreted by the athlete. Given we did not spend a great deal of time discussing this issue, this part of the question is only a few points and can be answered in a few sentences.

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Sports Psychology Research Papers

Research papers on sports psychology discuss the study that considers the role that psychological factors play in athletic performance, and how it impacts psychology.

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