The Psychology of Sport

Posted By: ShayAjayi
Posted On: March 5th, 2019
Attending: Ulster University

As a victory scholar, we mentor the youth, pursue a post graduate degree and continue to play the sport that we love on a national level. For my post graduate degree I decided to pursue a degree in the field of sports and exercise psychology. This degree deals with studying how psychological factors affect performance and how taking part in a sport can affects psychological factors. First of all, My background is in Engineering and economics,  so it is safe to say that in this interdisciplinary science, I am not what you might call an expert. Nevertheless, I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and learn something that I thought would be very interested, applicable and potentially highly lucrative.

There are about 20 people in my modules all from different backgrounds and all of different ages. Reasons why people are taking this course ranges but is not limited to being a consultancy and coaching. No matter the reason, I could tell everyone was excited for the academic year. We found out on the first day of class that the scheduling system would be different for this course. At the moment we are on a block system, which essentially means that we have three days of class one week then about 2-3 weeks break and it repeats. Much different than what I am used to, but this schedule forces accountability. It does take a fair amount to get used to, but once you are used to it, you come to understand that it isn’t half bad.

I’ve found that this course is very applicable to the people and the coaches that I work with. You always hear “there’s a mental aspect to coaching and being physically active, but you never know how much the mental state plays into it. This module has allowed me to almost quantify and truly understand how much psychology is involved with exercise and sport. This course is heavily theoretical based,  and many of those theories can be used to explain certain actions, behaviors, and outcomes in sport and exercise.

As a current athlete, I can attest to how sports psychology has helped me. Back in November I got seriously injured while in play. The jury was diagnosed as a severe high ankle sprain. I was devastated because I knew that this meant that I would be out from games and practice for a couple of weeks. I knew that it would set me back. However, I was able to take as a learning opportunity. I realized that I needed to adjust for something that was unexpected and abrupt. There’s isn’t one positive thing that could come from sulking and wising things going differently. I adapted to the situation and I used time the time to help my teammates get better as an athlete and cheer them on, on the sideline for games.

Another example is understanding how we internalize the sport we play. Sometime we get lost as forget why we play a sport. Is it because of our love and passion for it, could it be because of external factor such as opportunities that the sport provides. So, I’ll pose the question, Why do we play a  sport? Until recently,  I personally get caught up in winning. Wining every game played matters to me. So much so that I forgot to enjoy the game. My first half of the season this year for my team had a losing record. We lost so many games that I started to lose sight of my passion for the game. It cause me to be frustrated which quite honestly affected other parts of my work. Then one day, in class we spoke about, motivation, resilience and remembering the why? Through that discussion In class I recall sense recalibrated my compass. It allowed me to focus on the process of actually playing the game correctly. Understanding the game and adapting for different circumstances. I relearned to enjoy the game that I once fell in love with and was able to share in that pleasure with my teammates and coaches regardless of score.

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