Sports psychology

Sports Psychology is a science which involves the study of how psychology affects performance and participation of sports person.

How psychology works in sports?

Many strategies and procedures are used to train athletes and other sports person, some are:

1. Counseling:

Weight management, eating disorders, depression, sadness, loss and suicide, aggressive behaviour, career transition, motivation and identity problems can be solved through counseling.

2. Training and consultation

Leadership skills, training of coaches, team building, intervention with parents those who involved with sports participation of youths, from these things problems can be identified early by consultation and prevent them from psychological problems.

3. Training for goal setting and high performance

Strategies of attention control, sportsmanship and leadership control, competition and self-control in sports can be learn through this training.

Sports Psychologists

Sports psychologists are licensed, trained and have completed their education and training requirements and passed their examination.
There are two types of sports psychologists, educational and clinical sports psychologists.

1. Clinical sport psychologists

They have a degree of clinical and counseling psychology. Their proficiency is in clinical issues like, substance abuse, eating disorder, depression and mental health issues and problems. They address problems through medicines or other treatment.

2. Educational sport psychologists

They are focused on psychological skill training by educating and instructing them on when and how to use these skills during performance.
Skills such as goal setting, self talk and energy management. Common goal of educational psychologists is high performance of sports persons and athletes.

Conflict between these two types of psychologists

Conflict is based on who is best trained to provide services that enhance sport performance. Primarily elite and professional athletes are target of the service, many of whom see little need for such services or who sometimes seek the help of individuals not trained in either area.

Recently harmonious relation between these two groups has taken place with the formation of the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology, an organization of approximately 1,000 members, equally divided between members trained in traditional areas of psychology and members trained in the sport sciences.

Advantages of sports psychology

  1. When you are in low confidence state during your performance, sports psychology will helps in growing your confidence level. Confidence is a main mental skill.
  2. It will helps in improving focus problems. From training and instructions of sport psychologists, athletes and sports persons stay focused on the game.
  3. Helps in improving communication skills which is the important part of sport psychology and mental training because team work gives better results.
  4. Sport psychology helps sports persons from removing unhealthy thoughts and replace them with healthy thinking. They starts thinking healthy.
  5. Helps in motivation and level of motivation is very important in sports psychology which improve the performance.
  6. Injury can hurt the confidence of sports persons and sports psychology helps in healing fear of re-injury and mental heal from injuries.
  7. How to stay composed during game pressure, emotional control and how to deal with errors are also solved by sports psychology.

History of sports psychology

Sports psychology was developed in Europe by the foundation of International Society Of Sports Psychology (ISSP) in Rome in 1965. After ISSP, foundation of FEPSAC formed in 1969 just after 4 years.
In twentieth century, Norman Triplett, a psychologist from Indiana University, conducted the first study on athletic performance in 1898, Coleman Griffith is known as the father of sport psychology. Illinois University’s psychologists also worked in athletics he developed the first sport psychology laboratory, which involved in the first US coaching school, and wrote two books,

a)The Psychology of Coaching (Griffith 1926)

b)The Psychology and Athletics (Griffith 1928)

Series of studies conducted with the Chicago Cubs baseball team and the University of Illinois as well as consulting with a number of well-known athletes of his time.

Assessment methods in sports psychology

These are the assessment methods:

  1. Interviews
  2. Behavior observation
  3. Psychological testing and surveys
  4. Third party data connection

1. Interviews

There are two types of interviews formal and informal, which is the common method of assessment. Purpose of conducting Interview is to find the way to which intervene, identify performance issues and validate inventory and questionnaire data.

2. Behavior observation

It is the most important assessment method in which sports Psychologists directly involves in watching performance of a sports person by videos and identify the problems of sports persons.

3. Psychological testing and surveys

This type of assessment provide more scientific means of collecting data and more objective Psychological testing. It can be achieved by these labels such as, clinical, cognitive, attentional, sports specific and personality and emotional intelligence.

4. Third party data collection

This type of assessment is as simple as an Interview conducted by someone. Information collection is very important for sports psychologists to know about the behavior, communication with others and other insights of clients.

Sports Psychology for coaches

  1. Focus on the relationship you with athletes. Coach-athlete relationship is a key to success. Good relationship is about conversations, observing and learning about each other.

  2. 2nd most important thing is to understand athlete’s behavioral patterns and their individual personality, best coaches do this to a deep level. Knowing their behavior gives a window into how to communicate, build an effective environment for them, assist them to build on their strengths and overcome their weaknesses.

  3. Coaches can ask their athletes before training session, to think about what it is they are about to do and then see themselves performing the training effectively.
    Athletes feel relaxed by visualization, mentally focus on the present and then run through what is to be in their mind. Confidence of coach is very important in being able to run visualization sessions with their athletes, then engage a sport psychologist to teach and mentor the coach on how to do this well.

  4. The final thing which coaches can teach their athletes and sports persons, how to monitor their own self-talk as everyone talks to themselves because it is the representation of their self believes, they are positive or not, can help an athlete starts to change negative self-talk.

How sports psychology helps sportsman

Mental issues are also important as physical issues, coaches focuses on physical side while sports psychologists helps in solving their mental health that’s why mostly sportsman gives credit of their success to sports psychologists.

Importance of sports psychologists

  1. Sports psychologists helps sportsman and athletes in dealing with pressure during game, pressure from coaches and their own expectations.

  2. They helps in improving their performance by visualization and relaxing strategies.

  3. They helps sportsman in increasing motivation and solve their problems.

  4. Sports psychologists educate coaches and sports persons, how to enjoy sports and create healthy environment for them.

Finding of good sports psychologist

To find professional sports Psychologist, ask about their experiences, credentials and membership of professional organization which certifies sports professionals. Sports psychologists should be licensed, trained and completed their studies in relevant field and passed their examination.

Main theories of sports psychologists

  1. CognitiveWhat is cognitive psychology? evaluation theory
  2. Sportsmanship theory
  3. Psychological rehabilitation theory
  4. Leadership behavior theory

Sports Psychology as a growing field

Sports psychologists work in colleges and universities. Their task with is teaching sports psychology and conducting research in this field, as well as conducting experiments, developing surveys, and analyzing the data collected, also work with college and university athletes.

Career outlook of sports psychology

It is a growing field, it is a discipline that includes psychology and sports science. This field also involves teaching, coaching, counseling and conducting research.

Specialization options for sports psychology

1) Academic sports psychology

These types of Psychologists works in colleges and universities, their duty is teaching sports psychology and conducting research in this field, conducting experiments, developing surveys, and analyzing the data collected is also their role.

2) Applied sports psychology

They motivate their clients in an effort to make them better in the sports they play. They makes use of meditation, visualization tactics, and extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Sports persons seek their services when they are recovering from an injury or when they are facing intense competition. They also train sports persons that how they improve their performance.

3) Clinical sports psychology

It is a field that combines mental health care and applied techniques. Athletes may suffer from eating disorders, substance abuse, or depression in their career, which affects the performance of athletes, and clinical psychologists are sought to work closely with them. They address any external and internal mental issues that could be affecting the athletes.


Sports psychology is a science which deals with the study, how Psychology affects the performance of and participation of a sportsman.

Psychology work in sports by Counseling, training and consultation and training for goal setting and high performance.

There are two types of sports psychologists clinical and educational. There were some conflicts between them but recently harmonious relation between them takes place.

Sports psychology give confidence, helps in focusing problems, improving communication skills and some more advantages to sportsman