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Athlete Psychology

The advent of sport psychology is a relatively new phenomenon in American culture, one that has developed only within the last three decades. While this may be the case in the United States, sport psychology has existed in a basic form in European countries since the early 1900s. Because of the lack of a definitive approach to sport psychology, in the Northern hemisphere the discipline of sport psychology also suffers from a lack of popularity among coaches to adopt it. This is true even though studies confirm high school and college coaches feel there is a need for sport psychologists but only 26% indicate any interest in working with them, (Pargman 1998, 8). One of the fundamental reasons for the existence of psychology is to modify or change behavior. While psychology is the study of human and animal behavior, sport psychology is defined by Pargman (1998) as “the study of behavior in exercise and sport,” (4).

There are a number of reasons that draw individuals who participate in sports, coach sports or athletes, and lead or development exercise programs to remain interested in sport psychology. For those who participate in sport, sport psychology aids in the preparation for performance that promotes the highest opportunity for personal efficiency, safety, and enjoyment, while minimizing stress, anxiety and emotions that impede athletic performance. For coaches, trainers and others, sport psychology enables them to perform with the utmost insight and competence and greatly increases the chances for success. For those who lead or develop sport programs, the study of sport psychology aids in developing and maintaining well-being among all individuals involved. Danish and Hale view the chief role of the sport psychologist as education and see sport psychologists basically as educators (Pargman 1998).

While there are some sport psychologists who involve themselves in sport p


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Athlete Psychology. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:55, November 30, 2021, from