Introduction to Sports Psychology

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Introduction to Sports Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and experience, it studies how humans and animals sense, think, learn and know. A healthy mind in a healthy body philosophy dates back as far as the ancient Chinese and Greek civilizations. Sport psychology has developed and grown significantly in the past two decades. Media interest continues to increase and the scientific body of knowledge relating to the area has become so large that a number of different branches of the subject have emerged. Modern psychology is devoted to collecting facts into psychological theories. These theories aid in understanding and explaining people’s behaviour and sometimes in predicting and influencing their future behaviour.

History Development of Sport Psychology

In 1895 George Fitz carried out an experiment on reaction time which is recognized as one of the earliest investigations examining psychological processes and sport performance. About the same time Norman Triplett studied the relationship between the presence of other competitors and performance in cycle racing. He discovered that cycling times were faster against competitors than when cycling alone. Consequently he launched an area of research which is still been investigated today – the influence of rival athletes in sport. Why do some athletes rise to the occasion when performing in front of a crowd, under pressure whereas others seem to fall apart?

To try and answer such questions, Coleman Griffith established the very first sport psychology research laboratory in 1925. It was situated at the University of Illinois in America. Soon afterwards, laboratories of similar nature were set up in Berlin and Leningrad. In 1965 the first convention of International Congress of sport psychologists took place in Rome. Similar conventions have continued to occur at regular intervals.

In 1966, the International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP) was formed by European...
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