The Effect Sports Psychology has on a Young Athlete

Essay by Tim SclalaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 1996

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To fully understand sport psychology, we must ask ourselves two very important

questions, first, what is sport psychology and second, who is it for? Put in the most sim-

ple way, sport psychology can be an example of psychological knowledge, principles, or

methods applied to the world of sport. 'Two psychologists, Bunker and Maguire, say

sport psychology is not for psychologists, but is for sport and its participants.' (Murphy &

White, 1978:2) However, it can be argued that sport psychology, can be for psycho-

logy, just as it can be for sports scientists, managers, teachers, administrators, coaches and

last but by no means least, the athletes themselves.

It is sport psychology that has stood apart from the discipline of psychology as a

whole. 'Its history is different, its concerns are often different, its centres of learning and

teaching are often different, and its professional training is different.' (Garfield, 1984:34)

Yet despite this, sport psychology remains permanently bonded to psychology through its

common interest in the fundamental principles of psychology, human behavior, and


No one can deny the significant role which sport and recreation plays in every cul-

ture and society across the globe. In the western and eastern worlds alike, sport and lei-

sure continue to support huge industries and take up massive amounts of individual time,

effort, money, energy, and emotion. Within the media, competitive sport has gotten enor-

mous attention and despite this, the public's appetite for more sport never is stated. 'It has

been estimated that around two thirds of all newspaper readers in Great Britain first turn

to the sports pages when they pick up their daily paper.' (Butt, 1987:65) When one con-

siders the number of people who actually engage in sport or even take regular exercise,

then the significance of sport to...