Sports Psychology

Course CodeBPS106
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Study Sports Psychology by distance learning

Learn more about using psychology to improve coaching and sporting performance


Sports psychologists provide two major types of services:

    • Counselling – in areas that affect the athlete.
    • Strategies that enhance performance.

    This course will help you to -

    • Develop your skills and application of psychological principles for use in sports.
    • Learn about such things as psychological traits common to successful athletes, ways to maintain and increase motivation, leadership, aggression and team dynamics.

    In professional or competitive sport, this study is important because:

    • A person’s psychology or state of mind can have a significant effect upon their sporting performance.
    • The selection of competitors for elite sport is influenced by an assessment of their individual psychology, as well as other factors such as recent performance and fitness.

    This course is relevant to anyone working in the Health and Fitness Industry as an understanding of sports psychology is relevant, not only to competitive sports, but also fitness, endurance, and athleticism. This course is ideal for people working in, or with a goal to work in:

    • Sports psychology
    • Sports coach
    • Personal trainer
    • Athlete
    • Sportsman
    • Health professionals

    The course may also be of interest on a personal level if you are an athlete yourself, whether on an amateur or professional level. 

    Lesson Structure

    There are 8 lessons in this course:

    1. Introduction
      • Performance Psychology
      • Exercise Psychology
      • Environmental Influences
      • Aspects of Sports Psychology
      • Applying Sports Psychology.
    2. Psychological Traits of Successful Athletes
      • Personality Inventory
      • Cognitive Techniques.
    3. State of Mind.
      • Anxiety & Arousal
      • Anxiety
      • Physiology of Anxiety
      • Psychology of Anxiety
      • Arousal
      • How to Maximise Psychological State
      • Focusing (or Centering).
    4. Motivation
      • Motivation is the internal impulse that causes increasingly energetic action in a particular direction.
      • Basic Principles
      • Intrinsic Motivation
      • Extrinsic Motivation
      • Factors Affecting Motivation
      • Movitation for fun
      • Slimming for fun.
    5. Aggression
      • Mental Rehearsal
      • Error Parking
      • Using Self Consciousness
      • Word Association
      • Anger
      • Conflict
      • Measuring Aggression
      • Simulated Practice
      • e-Event Procedure
      • Reliving Success
      • Positive
      • Conflict Handling Techniques.
    6. Leadership & Coaching
      • A Coach’s Role
      • Getting Attention
      • Questioning
      • Punishment.
    7. Team Dynamics
      • Group cohesion
      • Forming
      • Storming
      • Norming
      • Performing
      • Traits of an Effective Team,
      • Suitable membership
      • Appropriate Leadership
      • Commitment to the Team
      • Concern for Achieving
      • Effective Work Methods
      • Well Organised Team Procedures
      • Ability To Take Criticism
      • Creative Strength
      • Positive Relationships
      • Positive Environment.
    8. Special Groups
      • Stress
      • Post Game/Season Evaluation
      • Gender Differences
      • Elite Female Athletes
      • Special Considerations with Female Athletes
      • Disabled Persons
      • Children
      • Readiness
      • Dropping out.


    • Describe the nature and scope of Sports Psychology
    • Identify psychological traits found in successful athletes.
    • Explain effects of state of mind on athletic performance.
    • Recommend ways of maintaining or increasing motivation in an athlete.
    • Differentiate between positive and negative application of aggressive emotions in sport.
    • Discuss the role of leadership in sports coaching.
    • Explain the impact on performance of psychological interactions within a sporting team.
    • Describe variations in the sports psychology of different demographic groups.

    What You Will Do

    • Undertake research to to find out what techniques elite athletes/sports persons use to stay motivated, to reduce stress and tension, to remain focused, to prepare for a competition, etc.
    • How do successful athletes cope with failure, error or poor performance in a major competition? Give an example of an acute stressor because of one of the above in sport, and describe the techniques you recommend for an effective coping strategy.
    • Discuss the difference in coping with sports related stress for the athlete and the non elite sports person. Include examples of their ability to handle fatigue, pain, competitive situations, and performance failure.
    • What can a coach do to reduce or eliminate learned helplessness?
    • Discuss the potential harm caused by this?
    • Talk to one or more athletes to find out what psyching techniques they use to help improve their performance. Have they tried other techniques? If so, why did they stop using them?
    • Think about two or three different activities (sporting, or otherwise) that you undertook recently but weren’t keen to do, or that you felt would be beyond your capabilities. How were you motivated to complete the activity – was the motivation intrinsic or extrinsic? Did you use different motivating techniques to accomplish each activity? How did you feel once you had accomplished each activity? Would you use the same motivating technique(s) in the future? Also speak to someone else, and ask them the same questions.
    • Study a range of altercations (such as a fight or collision between players) or aggressive behaviour in sporting events, such as in team sports like football or basketball, or in direct competition between two or more individual competitors such as in tennis, fencing, car racing, or distance running. What events have led up to the altercation/s or fight or aggressive behaviour? What form of behaviour did the aggression take? Who was it directed at? How many people were involved? How did it stop? What penalties, if any, where applied (e.g. fines, frees, time outs, lost points, etc.)?
    • Speak to a coach to find out what role they play in organising and training their athletes.
    • Speak to a coach who trains children. Find out how their role differs to when they are training adults. What techniques do they use for gaining attention and motivating the children?
    • Discuss the development of a team with someone who has been a member of a sporting team (school, amateur or professional) for more than one season. Ask about their ups and downs and the reasons they think contributed to high points and low points. Delve into those reasons to see whether any situations or patterns relate to things you have studied in this lesson.

    Who Uses Sports Psychology?

    Athletes, fitness and sports professionals may apply sports psychology in their jobs to some degree, but not to the same extent as fully fledged psychologists.

    Example: Fitness leaders, such as coaches, personal trainers, and aerobic instructors can use knowledge of sports psychology to better motivate their club members.

    Other professionals who may use Sports Psychology could include:

    • Personal Trainer -for both elite and amateur clients.
    • Athletic trainer will usually work with a specific team, providing care for athletic injuries. They may also design and monitor rehabilitation programmes.
    • Coach – a coach is an organizational leader of a specific team/athlete. They may manage team affairs e.g. Travel, recruiting etc., as well as having a role of teaching the athlete(s) in specific skills and strategies.
    • Physical Therapist/Physiotherapist – works in a clinic or for a specific team. They will provide long and acute care for sports related injuries. They will also design and monitor rehabilitation programmes.
    • Psychologist – sometimes a counselling or clinical psychologist may need to become involved with an athlete or athletes. For example, they may provide individual or group therapy in a range of behavioural and emotional issues. They may provide support for sportsmen/women who have eating disorders for example. They may work in a private or public clinic.
    • Performance Enhancement Consultants (also known as sports psychology consultants or mental coaches) – are usually trained in sports psychology but are not licensed psychologists or counsellors. They may provide group or individual consultations relating to performance-related issues.


    There are lots of reasons why you should sign up to do this course with us, including:

    • The information is comprehensive and will give you excellent depth to your knowledge to help you develop more about the role of psychology in sport
    • Within each lesson you have the opportunity to apply your learning to activities in order to extend your knowledge and research specific areas of interest, enhancing your understanding
    • Knowledge of the areas studied in this course will enable you to stand out from others and give you greater confidence
    • Understanding about the areas covered in the course can take you in to many different industries and sectors, giving you flexibility now and in the future with the opportunities you seek
    • Our subject specialist tutors will be there to support you throughout your course, they are only too happy to share their industry knowledge and experience with you
    • When studying with us you set your own deadlines, meaning you study at your own pace enabling it to fit around other commitments


    You can enrol on the course now, but if you have any questions about the content of the course or studying with ACS, then please get in touch with us today - use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE to get in touch with our expert tutors. They will be pleased to help you! 

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