Sport Psychology Defined

Sport psychology very simply, deals with the mental aspects of sport. It aims to improve both the sports performance and general well-being of the athlete, through the application of psychological principles and techniques. It has been defined most simply perhaps, as the science of psychology applied to sport.

One could argue this point however, as dealing effectively with athletes in an applied setting, still probably remains more of an art than a science! Having said this, the past few decades has seen the steady gathering of quite a significant body of scientific research documenting the positive effects of many sport psychology interventions. Interestingly enough, scientists such as Prof. Tim Noakes, who have traditionally focused on the physiological aspect of sports performance, are now also starting to prove the assumptions upon which the entire discipline of sport psychology has been based.

Areas covered by sport psychology, range from confidence to conflict resolution, from motivation to performing under pressure, and everything in between. Additionally, sports performance is affected by, and in turn affects all other life areas. Hence when traveling with teams, one in fact also quite often ends up dealing with totally non sport-related concerns (such as relationship issues), which are amplified when the athlete is away from home.