Psychology and Exercise Psychology:
What is Exercise and Sports Psychology?
and sports psychology are the scientific study of people and their behaviors in
sports and exercise contexts and the practical applications of that knowledge.
Specialists in exercise and sports psychology, identify principles and
guidelines that professionals can use to help adults and children participate in
and benefit from sports and exercise activities.
Most people study exercise and sports psychology
with two objectives in mind: (a) to understand how psychological factors affect
an individual’s physical performance and (b) to understand how proper
participation in sports and exercise effects a person’s psychological
development, health, and well-being. They pursued this study by asking
questions such as:
Objective (a): Understand
the effects of psychological factors on physical or motor performance.
How does anxiety affect a basketball player’s accuracy in
How does a coach’s reinforcement and punishment influence the team's cohesion?
Does imagery training facilitate the recovery process in injured athletes and
Objective (b): Understand
the effects of participating in physical activity on psychological development,
health, and well-being.
Does running reduce anxiety and depression?
Do young athletes learn to be overly aggressive from participating
Does participation in
daily physical education classes improve a child's self-esteem?
psychology applies to a broad population base. Although some professionals use
it to help elite athletes achieve peak performance, many others are concerned
more with children, the physically and mentally disabled, seniors, and average
participants. Recently, more and more, specialists in sports psychology have
focused on the psychological factors involved in exercise, developing strategies
to encourage sedentary people to exercise and are assessing the effectiveness of
exercise as a treatment for depression. To reflect this broadening of interest,
the field is now called exercise and sports psychology, with some individuals
starting to focus only on the exercise aspects of the field.
Information provided by
Weinberg and Gould’s Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology
(Health and Geriatric Psychologist)
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