Embedding principles of sport psychology into coaching practice: Case studies within professional cricket
The discipline of sport psychology is one of the most misunderstood and underused support services within sport. Sport psychology is an umbrella term that is used to explain a wide variety of methods and philosophical approaches. The same objective situation may be approached in very different ways by psychologists who follow different philosophical persuasions. The case of a batsman in cricket whose performance diminishes after being ‘sledged’ may be approached by one psychologist through the use of a cognitive re-structuring tool, in that the psychologist would attempt to change the perception held by the batsman. Another psychologist may attempt to reduce the impact of the stimulus through a gradual increased exposure to less threatening environments in training sessions in order to make the sledging feel more normal. This approach may, for example, include sledging or other audible interference in net sessions. Whilst taking into consideration the diversity of practice, this chapter uses a general definition, defining sport psychology as:
The study of psychological factors within sport, with the aim of developing an ever increasing understanding of how psychological factors have an impact on behaviour, across different sports and different cultures.