You are standing at the
foul line, preparing to shoot for a very important point, when you find yourself
thinking, "It really wasn't fair the way my teacher treated me in class today."
You find yourself constantly expecting failure or disaster
in your athletic events. You expect to perform poorly because deep
down you feel that you're really not very good at the important skills required
by your sport.
You are in the huddle at the end of practice, when the
coach says, "We all have to work harder tomorrow if we hope to be prepared
to defeat this next opponent". You think to yourself, "I know he really
means me. He's never satisfied with my play, no matter how hard I work."
You feel so tired or bored or distracted at practice each
day that you're no longer sure why you even play this sport anymore.
If you are familiar with any of the situations or feelings
above, it doesn't mean that something is wrong
with you, or that you need your
"head shrunk". It simply means that, like all of us, you are sometimes
affected by thoughts and feelings that prevent you from being fully productive.
I wrote this course because I believe that young people
today are subjected to a tremendous amount of stress connected to their athletic
lives. If we desire to be fully productive human beings, reaching the
fullest limit of our potential on a regular basis, it is important that we
identify those stressors, work out a plan to handle our stress, and carry
out active strategies that allow us to be our best as often as we can be.
I think you truly want
be at your best more often, and I'm very hopeful that the information and
strategies presented here can help you do that.
From this location, you will travel to links in the various
areas described below. As you go to each section, you will be asked
to add certain things to your Notebook. The quality of this notebook
and your sincere effort to apply what you have learned in this course to
your own athletic performances will be the primary basis for your grade.
I realize this is highly subjective, but I believe the level of your dedication
will be obvious to both of us, making your grade self-evident. Read
the instructions for each section, and proceed accordingly. Complete the sections in numerical order
so the flow of information will be logical for you.
[Before you begin, it would be a good idea to print out this handy
to help you keep track of what you have done, and what you need to do.]
(1) Outline for this Course
This page describes the
basic requirements and details of this class, and gives you information about
materials, rationale, and procedures that will be helpful to you. It
also includes certain "rules" you are expected to abide by while a student
in the class. Please read this page carefully, acquire the materials
you need, and then move on to the Overview.
(2) Overview of Sports Psychology
This page gives you the
basic reasons why Sports Psychology has the potential to be a significant
influence in our society and in your personal performance. It tells
why we have a course in Sports Psychology, how we expect it to be helpful
to you in becoming a better athlete and person, and discusses some of the
issues in Sports Psychology today.
(4) Theoretical Models
Every field of study has
terminology that helps us understand its meaning and purpose. Psychology
has a relatively short history, but because of its complexity, there are
numerous words and phrases that have special meaning in this context.
Factor in the applications that are specific to sports, and you have some
very interesting word usage. I've included many common terms on this
page, which will hopefully help you understand this field better.
There are 4 basic families
of thought about psychological processes that have become the models around
which other theories have been built. The mainpage for this section
gives you an overview of these models, then directs you to further study
that will describe each model in fuller detail. Pay close attention
to the course requirements listed with each model.
(5) Practical Applications
Now comes your chance to
apply the theories you have learned to your own athletic performance.
In this section, you will encounter a variety of activities, worksheets,
and exercises that are designed to help you achieve your goals. Some
items may require you to see your instructor for a copy of the worksheet
or case-study, but most are right here on the website. Please try to
keep your process in the order it is presented here.
you will analyze the PROBLEMS or difficulties
in your athletic life that you want to work on.
you need to set your GOALS and prioritize the
Changes you want to make.
you need to explore the STRATEGIES that are available
through activities and worksheets.
|If you need some help with PERSEVERANCE when this process gets a little difficult,
these case studies should help.
At the end of the course
(and your current athletic season) you will need to evaluate the effects
of your learning on your performance. Hopefully, it will demonstrate
that the strategies you chose and the effort you gave were well worth your
time. Come see me, and ask for the Evaluation Report.
Acknowledgements: First, thanks to the students who expressed
an interest in this type of course, without whose enthusiasm I would not
likely have expended so much time and effort; Secondly, thanks to Mrs. Held
for having faith in my "gut feelings" and confidence in my ability to construct
a valuable learning experience; Third, thanks to Harvey Dorfman, whose fabulous
books (The Mental Game of Baseball,
Coaching the Mental Game,
The Mental ABC's of Pitching,
The Mental Keys to Hitting)
reminded me of the importance of a sensible application of psychology to
sports at any level (one
which I had begun to let slip away); Fourth, to Dr. Kay Porter for her very
positive Cognitive/Humanistic guidebook The Mental Athlete, which helped
reinforce and crystallize many of the strategies found here; and Fifth to
Dr. Karen Lee Hill, whose book Frameworks
for Sport Psychologists was very helpful in creating the "models"
section of this site. I strongly encourage any person interested in
sports psychology to check into the above books for more detailed and scientific
information than that presented here. I'd also like to thank in advance
those student-athletes who will soon benefit from this site for being willing
to try something very unique, and to those coaches and parents who may find
themselves bemused at times by the direction these student-athletes will
take, but will ultimately see happier, healthier, more productive youngsters.
All quotations and examples taken from the
above are copyright to those individuals, and are used here in a completely
non-profit way only for education and the improvement of the lives
of my students. All original material is copyright to this author, and
may be used with permission.