Sport Psychology and Sports Success: Introduction to Sport Psychology

Sport Psychology and Sports Success

Frank Jing-Horng Lu
National Taiwan Sport University

Recently I finished a book’s chapter titled “Golf in Taiwan: A Case of Social and Family Influences on Talent Development.” I use Taiwanese women elite golfer Yani Tseng’s story as example to depict how social others and family members contribute to her success. This book is tentatively titled “Secrets of Asian Sport Psychology” will be published soon in an open access.

One of the missions of sport psychology is to study why people success in sport (under a label of “talent development.”) In my chapter, I found Yani’s success comprised many social-psychological components. One of these components is her parent’s role in cultivating her talent---unconditioned care and love, provided with sufficient sources, and planned with high quality education, all of these make her success. Also, her parents arranged experts in golf and language so promote her abilities in every aspect. Also, they sent her participating in many youth golf development programs either in domestic or abroad such as Australia Hill Academy and U.S. Youth Golf Tours to accumulate her experiences and skills. These developmental opportunities make Yani unique and exceptional.

In addition to social influence, I also introduced some examples of how sport psychology skills underlie her success. She is not success all the way to her peak. She encountered many set backs and slumps in her career. The most significant psychological skill lesson she learnt was from a well-known sport psychologist ---Dr. Deborah Graham. In 2009, Yani came to see Dr. Graham with a terrible set-back because she could not enter a qualified round in the middle of that year (actually she was pretty sharp in the beginning of the year). At their first meet, Dr. Graham tried to find Yani’s problems by interviews. After several talks Dr. Graham completely understood the major problems, she used a combination of goal setting and concentration skills eliminated Yani’ negative thoughts and altered mental state. The program was very successful. Later, Yani improved quite a lot and became concentrated and confident in every shot and competitions, and had a successful outcome in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Sport psychology is an interesting field in sport sciences. It includes many topics such as psychological skills, motivation, personality, group dynamics, social influences, moral development, burnout, psychology of sport injury, positive psychology (such as mindfulness, resilience, and peak experience) to name a few. If you like sport psychology, I welcome you contact sport psychology scholars near you, or visit professional sport psychology websites such as Asian South Pacific Association Of Sport Psychology (ASPASP)Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP)North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA). You will find something you like and have a different world in your life.