Using sport psychology to teach traditional psychology courses
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Using Sport Psychology to Teach Traditional Psychology Courses. American Psychological Association Annual Meeting August 6-10, 2003 Toronto Canada. Dr. Judy Van Raalte Springfield College Dr. Vincent Granito John Carroll University

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Using Sport Psychology to Teach Traditional Psychology Courses

American Psychological Association Annual Meeting

August 6-10, 2003

Toronto Canada


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Dr. Judy Van RaalteSpringfield College Dr. Vincent Granito

John Carroll University

Dr. Diane FinleyPrince George’s Community College


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Introduction to Field of Sport Psychology

Academic and Work Settings for Sport Psychologists

Sport Psychology in Introduction to Psychology

Sport Psychology in Personality Psychology

Sport Psychology in Lifespan and Child Psychology


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  • Sport Psychology: Interdisciplinary Field Combines psychology and sport science

  • Applied field – similar to educational and

  • industrial/organizational psychology

  • Focus is on how psychological principles and theories

  • explain behavior in action; how psychological

  • principles can improve performance

  • Sport psychologists work in a variety of arenas:

  • academia

  • business

  • athletic departments

  • private consulting


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Sport Psychology in Lifespan and Child Psychology

  • Many topics in sport psychology are also taught in Lifespan and Child Psychology courses.

  • Topics that cross courses include:

    Motivation Personality Aggression Youth Sports Exercise Behavior


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Motivation

  • Motivation is a topic that covers many areas.

  • Attribution theory is particularly relevant .

  • We often teach attribution by using examples from the classroom.

  • A more interesting and interactive approach is to use sport.


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  • Group project

  • Why do athletes and coaches say they win and lose?

  • Bring in newspapers.

  • Have students find an article in which an athlete or coach discusses wins and losses

  • Have groups chart each as internal/external, locus of causality, stability and controllability


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Exercise Behavior

  • Obesity is on the rise in children.

  • Increasing exercise behavior is critical.

  • Increasing exercise behavior among adults is a common topic in sport psychology.

  • Use the same ideas related to children and adolescents.


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  • Have students list reasons why people and kids don’t exercise.

  • Present research on what enhances exercise adherence.

  • Using what we know about exercise adherence and cognitive levels (Piaget), design an exercise program for children of different ages.

  • Evaluate a local sports program for kids.


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Aggression exercise.

  • Aggression and bullying has become a major focus in many child psychology courses.

  • How do you decide if playground behavior is aggression?

  • Aggression is defined as involving harm or injury, directed toward a living thing and involving intent.


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  • Object: To decide if a behavior is aggressive or not aggressive

  • Tape several clips of a contact sport on television such as football or hockey. Try to find penalty situations.

  • Have students evaluate the clips according to the criteria. Focus on the issue of intent.

  • Have students brainstorm situations where children would be aggressive – apply the criteria again.


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Using Sport aggressive

  • There are many other topics in most psychology courses that can be demonstrated using sport activities.

  • Sport increases interest and helps students learn to apply theory to real life.


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Thanks for coming! aggressive

Contact Information:Dr. Diane FinleyDepartment of Psychology

Prince George’s Community College301 Largo Road

Largo MD [email protected]


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