Applications of Sport Psychology

Dr Jennifer Cumming, Senior Lecturer of Sport and Exercise Psychology in the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham, describes what takes place during the Applications of sports psychology module that forms part of our BSc degree course in Sport and Exercise Sciences.

Applications of Sport Psychology is a second year module that is taken by both students who are undertaking a single honours and joint honours degree in Sport and Exercise Sciences.

The module focuses on understanding psychological theory and evaluating empirical evidence, both of these are very important to understanding how we can apply psychological knowledge to sport.

The module covers varied topics from goal-setting to confidence, injury risk, burnout, perfectionism, talent development, as well as how to make career transitions.

By the end of the module, students will be able to answer questions including “does your birth date predict whether or not you are talented”, “why do some athletes choke under pressure”, and “how can we help athletes prepare for their retirement”.

I draw from my own research as well as applied experiences. I also use videos, quotes and stories from athletes and coaches, as well as media articles from the popular press to help illustrate the points and altogether it really helps to bring the topic to life. In addition, students have the opportunity to observe a one-to-one session between a sport psychologist and an athlete.

The lectures tend to be interactive, involving break out discussions and problem-solving, as well as answering questions using clicker devices.

All this helps the students to prepare for the in-class test as well as the final exam that makes up the assessments for the module.

The main coursework for the module involves the students writing a proposal on how they would plan, deliver and evaluate a mental skills training programme taken from a real case study and was also based on the theory and research that they have been studying throughout the module and also involves them considering how they would apply it to meet the specific needs of the case.

They also develop a session plan to illustrate their own approach to mental skills training.

20 Credits

Full details of our Sport and Exercise Sciences BSc