We have an experienced team of clinicians and performance coaches, who have worked with Olympic and professional athletes. Our team is made up of former collegiate athletes, professional athletes, and coaches.
What is Sport Psychology?
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines sport psychology as “a proficiency that uses psychological knowledge and skills to address optimal performance and well-being of athletes, developmental and social aspects of sports participation, and systemic issues associated with sports settings and organizations.” There are three widely accepted orientations to sport psychology: psychophysiological, social-psychological, and cognitive-behavioral orientation.
A psychophysiological orientation focuses on the behavior during sports by examining the physiological processes of the brain and their influences on physical activity. For example, heart rate, brain wave activity, and muscle action potentials are assessed to determine relationships between these physiological measures and sport behaviors. A second orientation, social-psychological orientation, assumes that behavior is determined by a complex interaction between the environment and the personal makeup of the athlete. The last orientation is cognitive-behavioral. This approach suggests that an athlete’s cognitions or thoughts are central in determining behavior (Weinberg & Gould, 2019).
Psychological Skills Training
Positive psychology focuses on the development of positive attributes (e.g., hope, happiness, optimism, etc.), rather than focusing on “what is wrong” with someone (e.g., depression, anxiety, etc.). The goal of a sport psychology program is to help athletes improve their psychological skills to better manage stress and anxiety, increase motivation, and improve confidence levels in the context of sports, as well as highlight their strengths to optimize performance. Teams or individual athletes can be expected to be assessed and educated in the following domains:
- Arousal Regulation
- Goal Setting
What Sport Psychology is not:
It is important to note that there are instances where athletes will also face mental health struggles or actual mental illness. In instances where sports performance may also be impacted by mental illness, but the sport performance is not the primary goal of the professional relationship, principles of performance psychology may be leveraged, but the treatment of mental illness will be the primary concern, not sport performance. Additionally, while there may be instances where a mental illness may be affecting sports performance, sport psychology consulting can be utilized if and when treatment is being provided or mental health conditions are stable.
These caveats are important and will be discussed on an individual basis to ensure the most appropriate services are provided to the athletes.
This bibliography encompasses books written for children and adolescents on psychological skills for sport, exercise, and performance. Where available, information is provided on area of focus and age group as indicated by the publisher. Many of the books are published by Magination Press, a division of APA (the American Psychological Association) which publishes other books for children and adolescents on a wide variety of topics in psychology that may be of interest.
- Brown, Beth. (2021). Adventures with Divot and Swish in Costa Rica The Superpower of Courage. Divot & Swish Publishing.
- Brown, Beth. (2022). Adventures with Divot and Swish in the Ozark mountains The superpower of confidence. Divot & Swish Publishing.
- Curcio, Anthony. (2016). Stephen Curry: The children’s book: The Boy Who Never Gave Up. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. (ages 6-9)
- Curry, Steph. (2022). I Have a Superpower. Penguin Workshop. (reading 4-7 years)
- DeVine, Jeffrey, & DeVine, Justin. (2023). Control your WABA: A story inspired by Steph Curry. Independently published.
- Gogerly, Liz, & Gordon, Mike. (2009). Looking after me: Exercise. Crabtree Publishing Company.
- Miles, Brenda S., & Patterson, Colleen A. (2016). Move Your Mood. Magination Press. Children’s Emotions, ages 4-8)
- Mills, Andy, & Osborn, Becky. (2003). Shapesville. (Celebrating positive body image and diversity, ages 3-8)
- Paul, Chris. (2023). Basketball Dreams. Roaring Brook Press. (3-6 years)
- Phelps, Michael, & Abrahamson, Alan. (2009). How to Train with a T Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals. Simon & Schuster.
- Sileo, Frank J. (2013). Sally Sore Loser. A story about winning and losing. Magination Press. (Children’s/Life skills, ages 4-8)
- Skead, Robert, & Simmel, Mike. (2012). Mighty Mike Bounces Back. Magination Press. (ages 8-13).
- Weierbach, Jane, & Phillips-Hershey, Elizabeth. (2008). Mind Over Basketball. Magination Press. (Stress/Anxiety, ages 8-12).