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Russell Wilson July 29, 2013 Photographed by Peter yangWhat is Sports Psychology?

Sports Psychology (also known as Sport Psychology, Performance Psychology, or Sports Psych) is an interdisciplinary Sports Science and Performance Psychology. Sports Psychology is the scientific study of human performance in sports and psychological processes (mental, emotional, intellectual, cognitive) that influence sports performance. The foundation of Sports Psychology is based in biology, physiology, neurology, kinesiology, and psychology.

Does Sports Psychology Work?

Yes, Sports Psychology is a evidence-based profession deemed valid by the scientific and professional sports community as effective means of performance enhancement. Through extensive research, ongoing training, and graduate level education; competent Sports Psychology Professionals are able to identify the mental barriers that limit performance and the underlying sources behind each barrier. Once identified, Sports Psychology Professionals apply proven strategies and interventions to help athletes overcome limitations and achieve peak performance consistently by instilling the mental skills and abilities needed to succeed.

Can Sports Psychology Help Professional and Amateurs Athletes?

Yes. Athletic talent and physical abilities faces limitations at every level of competition. Sports Psychology helps athletes overcome these limitations by identifying the barriers that limit their performance and instilling the mental skills and ability needed to succeed. Professional Athletes – The higher the level of competition the greater need for a competitive edge. At the elite level talent and physical ability is clearly established. Therefore, the mental game is what separates great athletes and championship teams from the rest in sports. Youth and Amateur Athletes – Young athletes can have all the talent in the world and watch it pass them by. Talent like growth spurts only go so far in sports. Only with a strong mental foundation will athletes be able to achieve their true potential.

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SportsPsychology.com reserves the title Sports Psychology Expert for Sports Psychology Professionals who are educated in Sports Psychology - the scientific study of human performance and the psychological processes the influence performance in sports. Professionals who earn the title Sports Psychology Expert include:

1.Sport Psychology Consultants with graduate degree in Sports Psychology or Performance Psychology.
2.Sports Psychologists with significant training in performance enhancement or education in Sports Psychology.
3.Retired Professional Athletes with undergraduate training in psychology, education, or a related sports science.

We further distinguish the difference between the levels of graduate degree using the terms practitioner or scholar. At the masters level we these professional are active practitioners in the field of Sports Psychology. At the doctorate level this professionals are scholars whose research contributes to the advancements in the field of Sports Psychology.

A Breif History of Sports Psychology

Sports Psychology in the 1920

Sports Psychology is an emerging field, but not a new one. It is as old as the Disney Company and Barbra Bush. The pioneers of Sports Psychology were experts in two areas – their field of study and of course sports. Sports Psychology Today is far from the field it once was and is no longer reserved for the world’s best athletes.

Known as the founding father of Sports Psychology, Coleman Griffith, was a psychology professor with a background in educational psychology. He began conducting research on athletics in the 1922, and published the first study in applied sports psychology in 1925. Dr. Griffith began giving lectures on the Psychology of Athletics was during the roaring twenties and prohibition. It was officially born the same period the first Yankee Stadium opened in the Bronx and the Giants joined the NFL.
Sports Psychology in the 1930s

The 1930s were a difficult time all around and the whole world felt it with the Great Depression, Nazi Germany and the threat of Communism. Yet, the principles of sports psychology emerge as did the mentally tough. Gandhi used self-discipline, composure and commitment in his protests. Amelia Earhart broke down performance barriers with confidence, motivation, and determination rather than fear. Cinderella Man and FDR – talk about mental toughness. Both are great examples of human ability armed with the mental tools needed to succeed.
Sports Psychology in the 1960s

Outside of the military, the psychological study of human performance lacked momentum in the United State. It wasn’t until athletics and the military joined forces to gain a competitive edge over Russia during the Cold War Olympic Games that Sports Science found its momentum. In 1965, the First World Congress of Sport Psychology met in Italy, and the International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP) was born.
Sports Psychology in the 70s and 80s

By the 1970s and 1980s mavericks in the field began to emerge from diverse disciplines and some remain active in Sport Psychology today.

To be continued.
For many youth athletes, Sports Psychology and Sports Mental Training are untouched avenues of performance enhancement training. Why?

Many young athletes and parents do not understand Sports Psychology and may be skeptical of its value.

The stigma that Sports Psychology Services are for athletes with psychological issues is 100% false - nothing but a myth from long ago. During a time when “sports psychologist” referred to anyone with a degree who worked with athletes because there wasn’t a sport psychology degree.

Sports Psychology today is far from the field it once was. Do not let the world psychology confuse or discourage you. Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. Sports Psychology is the scientific study of human performance and mental processes in sports.

Sports Psychology is not therapy or counseling it is education, training, coaching and consulting. The late great Major League Baseball Sports Psychologist Harvey Dorfman said it best:

"I'm not a shrink; I'm a stretch," Mr. Dorfman told skeptics. "I don't diminish - I expand."
Sport Psychology Today

Sport Psychology Today is an online sports training resource provided by Mental Edge Athletics, LLC to educate athletes, parents, and coaches on the mental skills needed to reach peak performance and excel in sports. Our goal is to provide our readers with the highest quality sport psychology and mental training resources to help improve their overall performance, get the most out of their practice and enjoy their athletic experience.
Mental Edge Athletics

We help athletes, teams, and organizations achieve their overall performance goals by instilling the mental skills needed to succeed, and excel in sports. Our goal is to help you improve your overall performance, enjoy your practice, and get the most out of your game.

Applied Sports Psychology:

  • Identifies performance barriers and the underlying sources that limit performance and their so.
  • Applies evidence-based theories and proven strategies to help athletes overcome the barrier that limit performances.
  • Instills the mental game needed to succeed and excel in on and off the field.

History of Sports Psychology from Prohibition to Sports Psychology Today

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