Sport Psychology

In some circles, sports psychology can be seen as a controversial field, although related branch health psychology gets slightly more recognition. Of course, that may be because health psychology lays closer to medicine, a fact many feel conveys scientific prestige and soundness.

Nonetheless, psychologists have often looked at the interaction of sports and individuals’ lives. Needless to say, psychologists study the mind and behavior, and both get an important place in sports. Aside from the interpersonal dynamics critical to any team sport, and the obvious motivational effects of (good) coaches and trainers, physical activity may have some physiologically based benefits to it as well, such as endorphin release and fitness and wellness advantages.

For example, studies have found that in competitive environments monkeys who won had hormone (testosterone) and neurotransmitter (serotonin) levels fluctuate. Furthermore, the outcome could be determined by the initial levels of these chemical substances naturally produced by the body prior to the events.

Finally, as previously stated, contrary reasons aside, sport may help in keeping healthy and fit, keeping a positive mood and even improve cognitive abilities. While many researchers have documented the beneficial effects of regular exercise, it may even contribute to neurogenesis. Along these lines, in laboratory mice hippocampal neurons were noticed to regenerate in mice who exercised. The work in question looked at the impact of cortisol, released as a response to stress, on the hippocampus and memory.


Balls, elliptical spheres and pokes are used in many sports (bowling, hockey, golf, American football, soccer or football, billiards or pool, basketball, tennis, volleyball and so on). As can be seen from the picture, image: Copyright © Megan Jorgensen