Research in sport psychology involves studying and observing athletes in order to find out what motivates them to keep pushing on, and what gives them the thirst for landing in the winner's circle. A sport psychology researcher might also try to find ways for athletes to perform better and with fewer obstacles. The knowledge gained through this research can then be applied during counseling sessions with athletes.
I chose the University of Ottawa in Canada for my Master’s in Sport Psychology for 2 main reasons. One of the most experienced, forerunners of Sport Psychology, Dr. Terry Orlick, is a professor at U of O. I had a conversation with him prior to applying, and he offered to be my thesis advisor, so at that point the program at University of Ottawa became the only choice for me.
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Sport psychology can be used to help understand what motivates athletes and what makes them perform better. Professionals in this field are very knowledgeable and compassionate regarding the challenges and pressures that most athletes face today. Athletes that take advantage of counseling from a sport psychologist will often be better contenders and have more fulfilling careers.
Mental toughness is a psychological edge that helps one perform at a high level consistently. Mentally tough athletes exhibit four characteristics: a strong self-belief (confidence) in their ability to perform well, an internal motivation to be successful, the ability to focus one’s thoughts and feelings without distraction, and composure under pressure. Self-efficacy is a belief that one can successfully perform a specific task. In sport, self-efficacy has been conceptualized as sport-confidence. However, efficacy beliefs are specific to a certain task (e.g., I believe I can successfully make both free throws), whereas confidence is a more general feeling (e.g., I believe I will have a good game today). Arousal refers to one's physiological and cognitive activation. While many researchers have explored the relationship between arousal and performance, one unifying theory has not yet been developed. However, research does suggest perception of arousal (i.e., as either good or bad) is related to performance. Motivation can be defined broadly as the will to perform a given task. People who play or perform for internal reasons, such as enjoyment and satisfaction, are said to be intrinsically motivated, while people who play for external reasons, such as money or attention from others, are extrinsically motivated.
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A commonly overlooked obstacle to eating better (and losing weight) is sleep. While sleep needs vary, according to the National Sleep Foundation, adults require seven to nine hours a night. Unfortunately, two-thirds of people report experiencing sleep problems at least a few nights a week, with women more prone to sleep problems than men. A review study that looked at 36 studies on sleep and weight gain found short sleep duration was independently linked to weight gain. Studies show the fewer minutes you spend asleep, the more likely you are to feel hungrier and make poor food choices the next day. Make sure you’re getting enough Zzzzs to reap the rewards of your weight loss efforts.
Sports psychology seems like a vital component of getting athletes in the right mindset for optimal performance and well-being, and its benefits were first being realized in the early-to-mid 1900s. The history of sports psychology began with experiments and research of athlete's performance to provide enhanced mental edge to compliment physical ability.
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Cally Stewart, OTD, OTR/L, CH joined the Center for Healthy Living in January 2017. She was certified in hypnotherapy in 2009 and has practiced in a variety of health care settings including cancer care, family medicine, rehabilitation from injury or surgery, and chronic disease self-management. Cally has a B.A. in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She received her master's and doctorate in occupational therapy at Tufts University and is a licensed occupational therapist in Massachusetts. She also holds a certification in hypnotherapy through the International Association of Counselors and Therapists.
The American Cancer Societies official position is that no controlled studies have produced conclusive evidence proving that hypnotherapy can help people quit smoking. They go on to say that despite the lack of clinical evidence, there does appear to be substantial anecdotal evidence that suggests it can be an effective cessation method for some people.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the agency responsible for the laws relevant to the Privacy Rule that is part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). An athlete’s mental health conditions and treatment are protected health information under HIPAA and not considered part of an athlete’s employment record. The stigma associated with mental health has historically been a barrier to many athletes openly discussing mental health concerns and seeking treatment.
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In 2007, a meta-analysis from the Cochrane Collaboration found that the therapeutic effect of hypnotherapy was "superior to that of a waiting list control or usual medical management, for abdominal pain and composite primary IBS symptoms, in the short term in patients who fail standard medical therapy", with no harmful side-effects. However the authors noted that the quality of data available was inadequate to draw any firm conclusions.