Topic in Focus: Sport Psychology

This Topic in Focus gathers together material from across the Human Kinetics Library platform on the subject of psychology in sport and exercise. From advanced studies of sports medicine psychology and methods of measuring anxiety in sport, to an exploration of cultural sport psychology and the importance of psychological development in athletes, this rich collection offers a vast array of insights into the role of the mind in sport.

Sports Medicine Psychology

Athletes, exercisers, dancers, and other physically active people face the risk of sport injuries with every movement. The actual occurrence of such injuries (or even the anticipation of them) can result in significant effects on the physical and psychosocial well-being of participants within these contexts. The field of study labeled as sports medicine psychology encompasses the various roles that psychology plays within sports medicine contexts. Among these, it incorporates theory, research, and professional practice concerning the psychological, behavioral, and social aspects of injury prevention and rehabilitation among physically active participants, as well as the psychological roles and influences of those who coach, train, and care for them as part of their multidisciplinary sports medicine teams. This chapter from Advances in Sport and Exercise Psychology provides a detailed and expertly explained overview of the theory, research, and professional practice surrounding the psychological aspects of sport injuries, using this review to identify gaps in the knowledge base from which to draw implications for future research in sports medicine psychology.

Psyched Out

Of all the psychological factors thought to influence sport performance, anxiety is often considered the most important. Sport psychologists have produced scores of articles, manuals, and tapes to help athletes deal with anxiety. Yet considerable disagreement remains about the most useful theory of anxiety and sport performance, as well as the most appropriate instrument for measuring anxiety in athletes.In the chapter ‘Competitive Anxiety’ from Emotions in Sport, authors John S. Raglin and Yuri L. Hanin seek to explore and evaluate different approaches to defining and measuring anxiety in athletes, paying particular attention to the Zones of Functioning (ZOF) model.

Cultural Sport Psychology

Cultural issues have become a significant aspect of the sports psychology field. As clinicians develop their practice to include more diverse athletes and sport psychologists expand to work in multicultural settings, the importance of taking into account cultural factors when practicing sport psychology cannot be understated. As the first compilation on the topic of multicultural considerations in sport psychology, Cultural Sport Psychology assists practitioners in creating strategies relative to the culture and context of their clients, with focus on important cultural factors such as religion, gender, personal space, and social structure. These factors and many others are laden with cultural assumptions that may contribute—positively or negatively—to athletic performance and an athlete's well-being. This chapter explores the plethora of cultural aspects that must be taken into account as a Western sport psychologist working in Ghana..

Sport Psychology Applications

Ask any champion athlete whether psychology is vital to success, and the answer every time will be a resounding yes. What many athletes and coaches are unsure about is how precisely to develop psychological skills and the mental approach to training and competition. In this chapter from Inside Sport Psychology, the authors’ aim is to provide a structured, easy-to-use guide to help athletes and coaches develop the psychological aspects of performance. This introductory chapter continues with a warm-up exercise and a brief history detailing the evolution of applied sport psychology, draws upon the very latest research on skill development to explain how to organize practice sessions to maximize skill learning, and explores the intriguing nature-versus-nurture debate in sports psychology.

Sport in Focus: Soccer

Celebrate the kicking-off of the international soccer season with this carefully curated selection of titles exploring key topics relating to the beautiful game.

A Global Game

As a sport that invites global investment, attention, and participation, soccer has stakes that reach far beyond the boundaries of the pitch. As a result, the study of international relations can provide key insights into understanding the international characteristics of soccer as a sport, as well as in debates concerning relations between sport and so-called global society. Over the past few decades, sport has moved up the political agenda nationally and internationally, and awareness has grown of the role of sport in cultural and social life. In this chapter, you can read more about the significance of soccer, and sport more broadly, on the global socio-political stage.

Player Conditioning and Injury Prevention

In soccer, as in all sport development and training, as players climb the ladder of performance, the gains become smaller and more infrequent. The demand for consistency and to stay in peak form increases, and the risk of deterioration or loss of fitness goes up because the demand is so high at the top level. This unfortunately leads to the one aspect of training that very few professionals like to address with aspiring athletes: injuries. In this chapter, find out how to keep players game-ready, with detailed information on avoiding some of the most common soccer injuries as well as step-by-step, position-specific training protocols for players returning from injury.

Women in Soccer Media

With the surging popularity of women’s soccer worldwide, the presence of women in the media relating to the sport has equally grown. But the history of the role of women working within the sports media industry is a long and complex one, raising issues of inequality and mistreatment in comparison to their male counterparts. As long as sports have been covered in the mass media, through magazine, radio, newspapers, television, or digital platforms, women have been helping to produce that coverage. In this chapter, learn more about the role of women in sports media in a historical context, the issues that affect women’s status in the sports media industry, and the connection between the status of female media professionals and female athletes in media depictions.

High-Intensity Interval Training and Soccer

The popularity of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which consists primarily of repeated bursts of high-intensity exercise, continues to soar because its effectiveness and efficiency have been proven in use by both elite athletes and general fitness enthusiasts. Surprisingly, few resources have attempted to explain both the science behind the HIIT movement and its sport-specific application to athlete training. HIIT can be utilised in the context of soccer to optimise player performance, particularly with focus on the development of aerobic power and endurance in athletes. Read more about the science behind HIIT, its applications in soccer, and the importance of physical performance in winning games in this chapter.

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