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Sports Psychology


The Sports Psychology course is aimed at those people already in the health and fitness industries who wish to gain a more comprehensive understanding of how to motivate and support their clients.  It can also be used by professional counsellors or psychologists who are working with sports people, and by anyone who wishes to improve their personal knowledge for their own benefit. 

There are three fields of employment currently utilising expertise in this subject area:

1.  CLINICAL SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY - This covers sports related psychological problems, such as depression, and eating disorders. Expertise in these areas allows people to work with athletes and non-athletes. 

2. EDUCATIONAL SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY - This emphasis the performance enhancement skills, such as arousal control, goal setting, imagery.  In this career, you would work in an athletic environment applying relevant sports psychology techniques. 

3. ACADEMIC SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY - This covers reasearch and teaching. 

Successful completion of this course/module will develop your skills and understanding of psychological principles for use in sports.



100 hrs (study at your own pace, on average taking 4-6 months part time)


-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.
-Compare the sports psychology of different demographic groups.


This subject has 8 lessons as follows:

1. Introduction

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

2. Psychological Traits of Successful Athletes

Personality Inventory, Cognitive Techniques.

3. State of Mind.

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

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, Movitation for fun, Slimming for fun.

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.

6. Leadership & Coaching

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

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.

8. Special Groups

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



Here are some examples of what you will do in this course:

Read articles (magazines, newspapers), watch interviews on TV/Radio, etc. with elite athletes/coaches/sports persons. Try to find out what techniques they use 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.

Delve into those reasons to see whether any situations or patterns relate to things you have studied in this lesson.

To enrol in Sports Psychology, click here

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