Origin and Development of Sports Psychology

Topics: Psychology, Sport psychology, Applied psychology Pages: 5 (1480 words) Published: July 20, 2014

Origin and Development of Sports Psychology


From the initial essays written by Pierre de Coubertin on development of sport psychology in 1913 that spawned from his early study of the English Education System where he began to create his philosophy of the significance of character building through sport (Kornspan, 2007) to the father of sports psychology, Coleman Griffith’s attempt to build a scientific training program with the Chicago Cubs professional baseball team in 1938 (Green, 2003). Sport’s psychology has continued to grow on an international basis and its fundamentals are expanding into all areas of life in the form of performance psychology. Keywords: Sports Psychology, Applied Psychology, Performance Enhancement and Zone  

In today’s world of sports virtually every professional team, division 1 university teams and many of the top individual professional sports stars all have sports psychologists on staff. Our society in United States is sports crazy. Industry analyst Plunkett Research Ltd. estimates that the U.S. sports market — including ticket sales to professional sporting events, sports related clothing to equipment sold in sporting goods stores — generates $400 billion in revenue in an average year (Voelker, 2014). Our craving for sports, however, means that the athletes we support and follow face increasing burdens to accomplish ever higher peak performances. "Everyone is trying to figure out how to maximize talent," says Scott Goldman, PhD, director of clinical and sport psychology at the University of Arizona. That means finding an edge that goes beyond being in top physical form. Experts in the field no longer think of peak performance as a natural by-product of practice and physical conditioning, says Brown. Now they take a broader view. Instead of focusing on playing-field victories, they recognize that athletes need the same sharp mental skills used to compete successfully in business, the arts and in the operating room. "We believe the field really is performance psychology," says Mark Aoyagi, PhD, director of sport and performance psychology at the University of Denver. "This isn't specific to sports, even though it developed from sports." (Voelker, 2014) That means opportunities for sport psychologists aren't limited to Olympians and elite athletes. Career options are opening up on stages and in boardrooms. If a pro quarterback can visualize a precise pass to his receiver in the end zone, a dancer can envision making a perfect pirouette, says Brown. The same mental preparation that helps NBA players sink half-court shots can help an advertising executive land the big account. It's all about achieving top form and a positive outlook despite setbacks, losses or distractions (Voelker, 2014). The earliest writings and literature describing what today would be called sport psychology was discussed in a series of essays published by French born Pierre de Coubertin in 1913 titled Essais de Psychologie Sportive. Coubertin organized the first sport psychology congress called the Congress of Psychology and Physiology of Sports which was held in 1913 (Kornspan, 2007). During his lifetime, he published over 1300 articles, 30 books, 50 pamphlets, 30 posters and leaflets many of which addressed the psychological characteristics of involvement in sports. He organized the first Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in 1896 and was president of the International Olympic Committee from 1896 to 1925. Two of the Olympic congresses had a emphasis on psychology of sport in 1897 and later in 1913. (Kornspan, 2007) Coleman R. Griffith has been thought of as the father of sports psychology in the American and may have been the first to be hired professionally as a sports psychologist by a professional sports team. As the director of the Research in Athletics Laboratory at the University of Illinois he published a number of articles and books on sports psychology. This was during the late...

References: Voelker, R. (2014) Hot Careers: Sports Psychology. www.apa.org
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Green, C. D. (2003). Psychology strikes out: Coleman R. Griffith and the Chicago Cubs. History Of Psychology, 6(3), 267-283. doi:10.1037/1093-4510.6.3.267
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