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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Understand the use of psychological techniques and principles in the sporting environment.

  • An essential course for anyone working in, or planning to work in, coaching, sporting leadership and other areas of sport.
  • Help athletes to give their best performance.
  • Help teams to work well together.
  • Learn essential coaching techniques.



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Study Sports Psychology and understand more about motivation and performance in professional and amateur sports men and women.

Learn more about -

  • performance and exercise psychology,
  • the psychology of successful athletes,
  • anxiety and arousal and how it affects performance,
  • team dynamics,
  • leadership and coaching,
  • and much much more...



A must for anyone working within the sporting field or interested in sports.

This course is suitable for -

  • coaches,
  • athletes,
  • physical education teachers,
  • fitness instructors,
  • personal trainers
  • and anyone interested in sport. 



The course has 8 lessons and requires 100 hours of study. You can work at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home.

Start Date: You can start the course at any time to suit you.

Details of subjects covered in the lessons are summarised below.

Lesson 1. Introduction

  • Performance Psychology, Exercise Psychology, Environmental Influences, Aspects of Sports Psychology, Applying Sports Psychology.

Lesson 2. Psychological Traits of Successful Athletes

  • Personality Inventory, Cognitive Techniques. State of Mind.

Lesson 3. Anxiety & Arousal

  • Anxiety, Physiology of Anxiety, Psychology of Anxiety, Arousal, How to Maximise Psychological State, Focusing (or Centering).

Lesson 4. Motivation

  • Motivation is the internal impulse that causes increasingly energetic action in a particular direction. Basic Principles, Intrinsic Motivation, Extrinsic Motivation Factors Affecting Motivation, Motivation for fun, Slimming for fun.

Lesson 5. Aggression

  • Mental Rehearsal, Error Parking, Using Self Consciousness, Word Association, Anger, Conflict, Measuring Aggression, Simulated Practice, e-Event Procedure, Reliving Success, Positive, Conflict Handling Techniques.

Lesson 6. Leadership & Coaching

  • A Coach’s Role, Getting Attention, Questioning, Punishment.

Lesson 7. Team Dynamics

  • Group cohesion, Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Traits of an Effective Team, Suitable membership, Appropriate Leadership, Commitment to the Team, Concern for Achieving, Effective Work Methods, Well Organised Team Procedures, Ability To Take Criticism, Creative Strength, Positive Relationships, Positive Environment.

Lesson 8. Special Groups

  • Stress, Post Game/Season Evaluation, Gender Differences, Elite Female Athletes, Special Considerations with Female Athletes, Disabled Persons. Children, Readiness, Dropping out.



  • Describe the nature and scope of Sports Psychology.
  • Identify psychological traits found in successful athletes.
  • Explain effects of state of mind on athletic performance.
  • Recommend ways of maintaining or increasing motivation in an athlete.
  • Differentiate between positive and negative application of aggressive emotions in sport.
  • Discuss the role of leadership in sports coaching.
  • Explain the impact on performance of psychological interactions within a sporting team.
  • Describe variations in the sports psychology of different demographic groups.



  • Read articles (magazines, newspapers), watch interviews on TV/Radio, etc. with elite athletes/coaches/sports persons. Try to find out what techniques are used to stay motivated, to reduce stress and tension, to remain focussed, to prepare for a competition, etc.
  • How do successful athletes cope with failure, error or poor performance in a major competition? Give an example of an acute stressor because of one of the above in sport, and describe the techniques you recommend for an effective coping strategy.
  • Discuss the difference in coping with sports related stress for the athlete and
    the non elite sportsperson. Include examples of their ability to handle fatigue,
    pain, competitive situations, and performance failure.
  • What can a coach do to reduce or eliminate learned helplessness?
  • Discuss the potential harm caused by this?
  • Talk to one or more athletes to find out what psyching techniques they use to help improve their performance. Have they tried other techniques? If so, why did they stop using them?
  • Think about two or three different activities (sporting, or otherwise) that you undertook recently but weren’t keen to do, or that you felt would be beyond your capabilities. How were you motivated to complete the activity – was the motivation intrinsic or extrinsic? Did you use different motivating techniques to accomplish each activity? How did you feel once you had accomplished each activity? Would you use the same motivating technique(s) in the future? Also speak to someone else, and ask them the same questions.
  • Watch a range of altercations (such as a fight or collision between players) or aggressive behaviour in sporting events, such as in team sports like football or basketball, or in direct competition between two or more individual competitors such as in tennis, fencing, car racing, or distance running. What events have led up to the altercation/s or fight or aggressive behaviour? What form of behaviour did the aggression take? Who was it directed at? How many people were involved? How did it stop? What penalties, if any, where applied (e.g. fines, frees, time outs, lost points, etc.)?
  • Speak to a coach to find out what role they play in organising and training their athletes. Speak to a coach who trains children. Find out how their role differs to when they are training adults. What techniques do they use for gaining attention and motivating the children?
  • Discuss the development of a team with someone who has been a member of a sporting team (school, amateur or professional) for more than one season. Ask about their ups and downs and the reasons they think contributed to high points and low points. Investigate those reasons to see whether any situations or patterns relate to things you have studied in this lesson.



1. Focusing (or Centering)

Focusing involves moving attention onto one specific thing and clearing the mind of other things. Centering is one such technique that involves standing upright, breathing deeply in and out and focusing on your diaphragm as it inhales and exhales. As you breathe in, tension increases a little in the upper body; as you exhale it decreases.

Self-Hypnosis is another way of focusing. By focusing all your energy on a spot (e.g. a mark on the ceiling or a spot on the wall), you can enter a semi-unconscious state.

2. Mental Rehearsal

This involves reviewing or visualising aspects of an activity in your mind until they are fixed solidly in your mind. The aim being, that when you come to do those things they should happen just in the way you have visualised them happening.

3. Error Parking

When you make a mistake; it can distract your attention from things that are important.
Error parking simply involves applying some technique to remove error from your consciousness. Some people do this by wiping their hands on their clothes or by even spitting it away (watch where you spit though …in some situations it is very inappropriate).

4. Losing Self Consciousness

Anxiety can be heightened by being watched by spectators, officials or other competitors, or other people in the gym. Some athletes can turn this to their advantage. For others it is a disadvantage. There are some simple strategies that may work to remove your consciousness of the onlookers … consider the energy you are wasting, channel your attention more strongly into the performance, or use a self affirmation statement (e.g. I am the master of my own destiny”).

5. Word Association

This involves using key words to trigger a desired attitudinal response (e.g. Many golfers think of a word such as “fluid” or “smooth” before taking a swing. Sprinters might use a word like “explode”).

6. Simulated Practice

Devise and experience a situation that accurately reflects what happens during competition, repeating it multiple times if possible so that the mind and body become conditioned to the situation.

7. Pre-Event Procedure

A standard routine before activity can be developed to help move your state of mind into a peak position, raising confidence.  The routine does need to have a degree of flexibility though, so you do not become too disrupted when the routine is varied by things that are out of your control.

8. Relieving Success

When you think about a successful performance, your state of mind improves.

9. Positive Sound

Music can have a profound effect on the mental state. Music during exercise can help maintain a rhythm. Music can lower or raise anxiety. Music can arouse. Utilising the appropriate type of music can readily affect the psychological state of mind at a particular point in time.


You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.

Each lesson includes set tasks, and is completed with an assignment which the student submits to their course tutor.  The tutor will mark the assignment and return this to the student with comments and suggestions for further reading.


  • Improve the performance of your team using psychological principles.
  • Improve your job and career prospects by demonstrating your understanding of how psychology can be used to encourage and motivate sports people. 



"The course was useful for my goalkeeper coaching practises. [It} met my expectations and gave me some good insights; I liked the way the course was structured, especially the way I could work at my own pace WITHOUT any pressure. The course has specifically helped with ideas for motivating players."
Mario Rimati, Football Coach & Phys. Ed. Teacher, Italy - Sports Psychology course.

"The online courses are very easy to use and follow. Prompt friendly replies from tutor to any queries. Course structure flows freely. Very satisfied with course and results..."
Diana (completed ACS Online course in Intro. to Psych. and Psych. & Counselling).


Register to Study - Go to “It’s Easy to Enrol” box at the top of the page and you can enrol now.


If you have any questions for our sports psychology tutors about the course please get in touch using our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE.


Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

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Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones (psychology)B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects. She has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.
Lyn Quirk M.Ed.,Dip.Med.,Dip.SportsOver 35 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy

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