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Posted on April 22nd, 2014, by

The article Reflections and directions: The profession of sport psychology past, present, and future by Aoyagi, M.W., Portenga, S.T., Poczwardowski, A., Cohen, A.B., Statler, T. discusses the major aspects of sport psychology in modern society. It is known that today sport psychology plays an important role in sport. It studies the major psychological factors which influence physical activity. The authors of the article refer to historical context of sport psychology and find out that the origins of sport psychology are closely connected with the efforts to improve athletic performance (Aoyagi et al. 32). Moreover, they study the present state of sport psychology and try to make some significant suggestions for the future of the field. The major goal of this article is to prove the fact that sport psychology is of great importance for the athletes as it provides effective therapy and performance enhancement.

The authors of the article state that “there is a clear and essential link between professional practice and the training programs”¯ that are specially developed for the competence of practitioners (Aoyagi et al. 33). The article discusses the major changes in the development of training programs in the field of sport psychology. It is known that Coleman Griffith, who is considered to be the father of sport psychology in the USA, focused his attention on the psychological factors that influence the performance of the athletes. He practiced in 1930s. The other practitioner Bruce Ogilvie who practiced in the 1960s paid special attention to therapy. In 1985, sport psychology was intensively developed and improved due to the foundation of the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology. Today the profession of sport psychology is improved due to the implementation of different training programs for practitioners. There are two main professional organizations: AASP and Division 47. According to AASP, “A primary goal of professionals in applied sport and exercise psychology is to facilitate optimal involvement, performance, and enjoyment in sport and exercise”¯ (Aoyagi 34).

Moreover, the authors of the article discuss current problems that prevent practitioners in the field of sport psychology to perform their duties in a proper way. They state that “neither AASP nor Division 47 has been able to create and enforce an adequate regulation of the sport psychology profession”¯ (Aoyagi 35). The main problems are focused on the lack of a so-called “gatekeeper to the profession”¯ what leads to the confusion in qualification of the specialists, and problems with the legal protection of the title “psychologist”¯. It means that many psychologists have no the appropriate training and specialization in sport psychology, but offer their services to athletes.

Besides, in the article Reflections and directions: The profession of sport psychology past, present, and future the authors represent future directions in the field of sport psychology. They state that “the first issue to be resolved is defining the practice and profession of sport psychology”¯ (Aoyagi 36). As sport psychology is focused on performance excellence and therapy, it is necessary to connect future directions with these aspects. The authors try to illustrate the unique quality of sport psychology. They recommend using three of the criteria identified in CRSPPP’s definition of the proficiency: distinctiveness, acquisition of knowledge and skills and parameters of practice. Moreover, the authors state that “future training in sport psychology should address four competency areas: performance excellence, mental health counseling, consulting psychology, and performance specialty domain”¯ (Aoyagi 36). Finally, the authors of the article call for an exam-based licensure which should be specific to performance psychology. They are sure that the individual practitioners will be able to develop the appropriate competences and to attend to the public perception of the credibility of this profession. Furthermore, the authors state that the practitioners will be able to attain the appropriate level of professionalism as they will be trained in a proper way. The training model will provide the necessary experience and practice in a way “that is accessible, clearly identifiable, and efficient”¯ (Aoyagi 36).

The article Reflections and directions: The profession of sport psychology past, present, and future by Aoyagi, M.W., Portenga, S.T., Poczwardowski, A., Cohen, A.B., Statler, T. is creditable as it provides a lot of important facts concerning the development of sport psychology. The authors of the article not only discuss the historical aspects and current state of sport psychology as a profession, but also they give certain recommendations to improve performance psychology and provide effective services to the athletes. The article is worth reading as it helps to evaluate current state of sport psychology and provides future directions in this field.

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