Sports Psychology Definition
Sport psychology is an interdisciplinary science that draws on knowledge from many related fields including biomechanics, physiology, kinesiology and psychology. It involves the study of how psychological factors affect performance and how participation in sport and exercise affect psychological and physical factors.
Sport psychologists teach cognitive and behavioral strategies to athletes in order to improve their experience and performance in sports. In addition to instruction and training of psychological skills for performance improvement, applied sport psychology may include work with athletes, coaches, and parents regarding injury, rehabilitation, communication, team building, and career transitions.
Professional sports psychologists often help athletes cope with the intense pressure that comes from competition and overcome problems with focus and motivation. They also work with athletes to improve performance and recover from injuries. But sports psychologists do not just work with elite and professional athletes. They also help regular people learn how to enjoy sports and learn to stick to an exercise program.
How is psychology used in sports?
Sports psychologists traditionally approach the discipline from two points of view: academic oriented and practitioner oriented.
They are interested in two main areas:
- helping athletes use psychological principles to achieve optimal Mental health and to improve performance (performance enhancement).
- Understanding how participation in sport, exercise and physical activity affects an individual’s psychological development, health and well-being throughout the lifespan.
What is the difference between sport and exercise psychology?
- Sport psychology exercises work on both the body and mind in tandem. Goal setting is used as key motivation tools in sport psychology.
- Exercise psychology is focused on the connection between psychological principles and physical activity. It tries to promote involvement and enjoyment through exercise.