Sports Psychology           
(Social Studies Dept.)

Independent Study – Cyclical
½ Credit  (Renewable)
Elective – Grades 9-12
No Prerequisite  (Students must be in an extracurricular sport to take the course more than once.)

Course Outline
    Students today are fully aware of the level of psychological stress brought on by participation, competition, and endeavor for excellence in athletics.  To help students understand the effects of these stresses, this course will contain both theoretical units and practical applications for the techniques explored.  We will investigate goals, fears, motivations, insights, and techniques common to both successful athletes and those who fail.  Students will complete web-based study exercises, keep a notebook of their work and personal journals, and participate in irregularly-scheduled group discussions.  The course will be “cyclical”, meaning that it will meet when and as often as it needs to meet in order for students to complete their assignments, and it is “renewable”, meaning that students may take multiple cycles for additional credits.  Your grade in the course will be based partially on the completeness of your notebook, but primarily on the amount of effort you put into applying the principles you have learned to your athletic performance.

Course Rules & Requirements
The Student will begin the class process by creating a notebook in which to keep notes, worksheets, and journals that relate to their progress in the class.  It would be best to get a 3-ring binder, some notebook paper, and a set of dividers.  We'll work out the best labels for the dividers later on.
    The Teacher will abide by professional ethics at all times.  All information shared by the Student in connection with their difficulties, goals and strategies, will be kept strictly confidential by the Teacher.  When the Students participate in group discussions, all will be expected to treat the information that is shared as being confidential.
    Using the Mainpage as a reference point, the Student will begin the course by reviewing each of the 4 Psychological Models presented there.   After becoming familiar with the basic models, the Student will identify the difficulties (s)he is having with relation to his/her athletic life.  From there, we will work together to choose appropriate strategies that will enable the Student to develop a plan for overcoming those difficulties.  We will monitor progress through journals and activities as the season progresses, and evaluate the success of the plan at the end.
    There are certain rules and attitudes the Student must be willing to adopt while studying and carrying out the strategies of this course.  The purpose of these rules is to give the Student every possible opportunity to achieve the full benefits of the information and techniques presented here.

The Student must be willing to believe in their own self-efficacy, no matter how big the problem seems.
   The Student must remain aware that behaviors are learned, and that with the disciplined  application of appropriate techniques, dysfunctional behaviors can be unlearned.
In order to change our dysfunctional behaviors, we must be able to recognize the difference between those parts which assist us, and those parts which cause us pain.
Having recognized behaviors that require change, the Student must be willing to make a genuine attempt to effect a positive change in their behavior.

    The Teacher will formulate "Dear Parent" and "Dear Coach" letters that will be sent on the Students' behalf.  The letter will deal only in generalities, but will inform the parents and coaches of the structure and intent of this course, and that the Student is currently participating.  The letter is intended to evoke support and understanding from parents and coaches, as Students formulate their goals and strategies.  Since some Students may be slightly reluctant to actively ask for the support and forebearance of their parents or coaches, I will ask for that support.
    "Pooh-pooh," say some folks, "this is all a bunch of nonsense."  It might surprise you that I'd say to those folks, "You're right."  Any person who does not believe in the power of any strategy for success can make it fail, simply by refusing to believe that it works.  Think about it.  Someone tells me that my golf game would improve greatly if I go out and hit 100 putts per day.  I think, "I don't have time for that.  What good are 100 bad putts going to do to improve my score?  I'd be better off actually playing the course, because putting is only part of the score.  I think I'm just wasting my time."  What do you think the likelihood is that 100 putts with those thoughts in my head will be productive?  Do you expect my score to improve?  No, neither do I.
    I often tell my teams, "You get what you expect to get".  By that I always mean that if you think today's game is going to go badly, it probably will.  If you expect to play poorly, you probably will.  If you expect the volleyball to explode when you spike it... it probably won't - but you are very likely to miss several easy kills expecting it to! 
    Wouldn't it be a lot better if we spent our time and efforts expecting good things and success to come our way?  With the right choice of strategies, we might be able to overcome all sorts of obstacle in our path.  Would you rather pooh-pooh a potentially helpful strategy, or choose to feel competent, capable, and powerful?  EVERY world-class athlete competing today uses variations of these strategies to help them succeed.  What do they know that the naysayers don't?  For one thing - to think positively.

Go back to the Mainpage, and move on to the Overview.