Study Sports Psychology at home
Sports Psychology is the science that examines the individual's psychology and their participation in sport. A person's state of mind can have a dramatic influence on their sporting performance. Looking at the interactions between psychology and sporting performance can give us great insight into tools and techniques to select and coach athletes to victory - whatever that might be for them.
Sports psychologists provide two major types of services –
Examples of the type of work they may be involved in
Helping elite athletes and sports persons to develop strategies to deal with competition and training.
Helping coaches and managers in their communication and interpersonal skills
Working with health promotion staff to increase the motivation to exercise and maintain the exercise in individuals who are mainly sedentary.
Using research to maximise practice and fitness regimes.
Counselling individuals who have been injured.
Advising younger sports persons on how to deal with family, problems, disappointment, homesickness etc.
Note that each module in the Certificate in Sports Psychology is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
What Does a Successful Athlete Look Like?
The 4 Cs are generally considered important characteristics for the successful athlete.
Concentration - Able to maintain focus
Confidence - Belief in our own abilities
Control - Able to maintain our emotional control, ignoring distraction.
Commitment - The ability to continue to strive towards agreed goals.
This is the mental ability that enables us to focus on the current task. If a sportsperson lacks concentration, then they will not effectively and efficiently apply their athletic abilities to the task at hand. There are two main types of attention –
Broad/Narrow spectrum – For example, the athlete is able to focus on a large or small number of stimuli.
Internal/External spectrum – For example, the athlete can focus on external stimuli, such as the ball, or internal stimuli, such as their feelings.
The level and type of concentration required varies from sport to sport. For example –
- Sustained concentration may be required for cycling, long distance running etc.
- Short concentration bursts may be required for golf, shooting etc.
- Intense concentration may be required for skiing or sprinting etc.
- The crowd
- Public announcements
- Negative thoughts
- Low self-esteem
The following dispositions are broad characteristics that are often associated with elite sports persons:
Risk Taking -Risk
takers may include mountaineers, parachutists, who tend to be very
confident that they can manage the risks that might be involved. They
are willing to take physical risks to trigger their fight and flight
response. So sporting risk takers are intentionally provoking this fight
or flight response, as they may experience this high level of arousal
in an exciting rather than fearful way.
Stimulus Seeking – associated with craving
“experiences” or sensations. In sports, participants may seek the
experience of fun, adrenalin, camaraderie, anticipation. Some studies
have found athletes to be higher in stimulus, or sensation seeking than
Competitiveness – Can be motivation to drive an
athlete to perform their best. A strong desire to win can give a
participant an edge over other participants.
Self-Confidence – In sports this is to do with the
amount of certainty an athlete has that they can be successful. This is
recognised as an important factor in the enjoyment and success in
is the ability to give up immediate gratification to work towards
long-term rewards and goals. Self-disciplined athletes can motivate
themselves to work long and hard for a potential future gain.
(make decisions quickly) – important for sports requiring split-second
responses, e.g. tennis, basketball, soccer.
Positive outlook –
always expect the best. Having a positive outlook can boost their
performance levels. Negative affect such as depression, anger, anxiety
and tension can reduce performance.
Stress Management – Athletes that can control their emotions and have
emotional stability can help them to be more successful, by focusing on
the task at hand, recovering from success or failure and not getting
caught up by stress
Teams tend to show predictable personality profiles. So by understanding their psyche, their performance can be improved, as well as communication between players and the coach. It can also be used to make use of their personal strengths and work in other areas to identify their personality and learning styles.
Certain personality types will succeed more in certain sports and the more coaches know about the personality of athlete the more successful they will be.
People Who Can Benefit From This Course
This certificate provides a solid foundation in the study of what it takes to succeed in sports, athletics and fitness training. Success in sports is more than physical fitness. It also depends on state of mind. There are many different psychological strategies that people can use to help motivate sports people and sustain their determination. Graduates of this course will have learnt about many of these strategies as well as complementary areas of study such as diet, fitness and managing personal energy resources.
This course is aimed primarily at people working in, or thinking of working in the following fields:
- Sports coach
- Personal trainer
- Sports psychology
- Health professions
The course may also be of interest to people who have friends or family who aspire to become athletes whether on an amateur or professional level.