Sports Psychology
What exactly is going on here?

    You are standing at the foul line, preparing to shoot for a very important point, when you find yourself thinking, "It really wasn't fair the way my teacher treated me in class today."
    You find yourself constantly expecting failure or disaster in your athletic events.  You expect to perform poorly because deep down you feel that you're really not very good at the important skills required by your sport.
    You are in the huddle at the end of practice, when the coach says, "We all have to work harder tomorrow if we hope to be prepared to defeat this next opponent".  You think to yourself, "I know he really means me.  He's never satisfied with my play, no matter how hard I work."
    You feel so tired or bored or distracted at practice each day that you're no longer sure why you even play this sport anymore.
    If you are familiar with any of the situations or feelings above, it doesn't mean that something is wrong with you, or that you need your "head shrunk".  It simply means that, like all of us, you are sometimes affected by thoughts and feelings that prevent you from being fully productive.
    I wrote this course because I believe that young people today are subjected to a tremendous amount of stress connected to their athletic lives.  If we desire to be fully productive human beings, reaching the fullest limit of our potential on a regular basis, it is important that we identify those stressors, work out a plan to handle our stress, and carry out active strategies that allow us to be our best as often as we can be.  I think you truly want to be at your best more often, and I'm very hopeful that the information and strategies presented here can help you do that.
    From this location, you will travel to links in the various areas described below.  As you go to each section, you will be asked to add certain things to your Notebook.  The quality of this notebook and your sincere effort to apply what you have learned in this course to your own athletic performances will be the primary basis for your grade.  I realize this is highly subjective, but I believe the level of your dedication will be obvious to both of us, making your grade self-evident.  Read the instructions for each section, and proceed accordingly.  Complete the sections in numerical order, so the flow of information will be logical for you.
Introductory Section
[Before you begin, it would be a good idea to print out this handy
CHECKLIST to help you keep track of what you have done, and what you need to do.]

(1) Outline for this Course

    This page describes the basic requirements and details of this class, and gives you information about materials, rationale, and procedures that will be helpful to you.  It also includes certain "rules" you are expected to abide by while a student in the class.  Please read this page carefully, acquire the materials you need, and then move on to the Overview.

Theory Section
(2) Overview of Sports Psychology

    This page gives you the basic reasons why Sports Psychology has the potential to be a significant influence in our society and in your personal performance.  It tells why we have a course in Sports Psychology, how we expect it to be helpful to you in becoming a better athlete and person, and discusses some of the issues in Sports Psychology today.

(3) Vocabulary
    Every field of study has terminology that helps us understand its meaning and purpose.  Psychology has a relatively short history, but because of its complexity, there are numerous words and phrases that have special meaning in this context.  Factor in the applications that are specific to sports, and you have some very interesting word usage.  I've included many common terms on this page, which will hopefully help you understand this field better.

(4) Theoretical Models
    There are 4 basic families of thought about psychological processes that have become the models around which other theories have been built.  The mainpage for this section gives you an overview of these models, then directs you to further study that will describe each model in fuller detail.  Pay close attention to the course requirements listed with each model.
Application Section
(5) Practical Applications
    Now comes your chance to apply the theories you have learned to your own athletic performance.  In this section, you will encounter a variety of activities, worksheets, and exercises that are designed to help you achieve your goals.  Some items may require you to see your instructor for a copy of the worksheet or case-study, but most are right here on the website.  Please try to keep your process in the order it is presented here.
First, you will analyze the PROBLEMS or difficulties in your athletic life that you want to work on.
Next, you need to set your GOALS and prioritize the
Changes you want to make.
Now, you need to explore the STRATEGIES that are available through activities and worksheets.
If you need some help with PERSEVERANCE when this process gets a little difficult, these case studies should help.

Evaluation Section
(6) Evaluation

    At the end of the course (and your current athletic season) you will need to evaluate the effects of your learning on your performance.  Hopefully, it will demonstrate that the strategies you chose and the effort you gave were well worth your time.  Come see me, and ask for the Evaluation Report.

  First, thanks to the students who expressed an interest in this type of course, without whose enthusiasm I would not likely have expended so much time and effort; Secondly, thanks to Mrs. Held for having faith in my "gut feelings" and confidence in my ability to construct a valuable learning experience; Third, thanks to Harvey Dorfman, whose fabulous books (The Mental Game of Baseball, Coaching the Mental Game, The Mental ABC's of Pitching, The Mental Keys to Hitting) reminded me of the importance of a sensible application of psychology to sports at any level (one which I had begun to let slip away); Fourth, to Dr. Kay Porter for her very positive Cognitive/Humanistic guidebook The Mental Athlete, which helped reinforce and crystallize many of the strategies found here; and Fifth to Dr. Karen Lee Hill, whose book Frameworks for Sport Psychologists was very helpful in creating the "models" section of this site.  I strongly encourage any person interested in sports psychology to check into the above books for more detailed and scientific information than that presented here.  I'd also like to thank in advance those student-athletes who will soon benefit from this site for being willing to try something very unique, and to those coaches and parents who may find themselves bemused at times by the direction these student-athletes will take, but will ultimately see happier, healthier, more productive youngsters.
    All quotations and examples taken from the above are copyright to those individuals, and are used here in a completely non-profit way only for education and the improvement of  the lives of my students.  All original material is copyright to this author, and may be used with permission.