Your body is a mass of muscles and nerves linked to the central processing unit - your brain. Just how do Olympic athletes develop the concentration, confidence, control and commitment to harness their muscles, nerves and brain together to break the gold medal frontiers of performance? And what use are their performance enhancement techniques off the track, out of the swimming pool or away from the pitch? Many top athletes and sportspeople consider their sports psychologist to be as important as their coach, and the mind-toughening techniques they learn are just as useful for business people fighting the mental battles of offices and boardrooms.
Sports psychology is a relatively new but growing specialism of psychology. It concentrates on both how psychological factors affect performance and how participation in sport affects psychological development, health and emotional wellbeing.
Sports psychology can be studied as a module in many psychology courses but there are now some that focus specifically on sports psychology and, importantly, several are recognised by the British Psychological Society. This means that they confer Graduate Basis for Registration, which allows graduates to do further professional training to become chartered psychologists.
Example areas of studySee also:
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