General Sports Psychology (in English)

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Course Description

  • Course Name

    General Sports Psychology (in English)

  • Host University

    Universidad Pablo de Olavide

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description

    This course will introduce both the key concepts in the field of Sport Psychology as well as the practical applications of these concepts to current practices in exercise, sports, competition, health, wellness, and the individuals who draw upon these canons. In this course, students will consider questions such as:  

    • What role does Sport Psychology have in the preparation of top athletes and those currently seeking to enhance their athletic performance?  

    • Beyond physical training, what are the psychological components when training and competing in athletic events?    

    Beyond a model merely based on psychological theory, this course delves into how sports psychologists contribute to high performance for individual athletes and teams through motivation, concentration / attention, dedication, mindfulness, decision-making, and other behavioral factors. Students will gain a solid understanding of how Sports & Health Psychology is an essential component to training for peak performance. Experiential learning exercises will take students outside the classroom to engage with field professionals in the host city.    This course will provide a multi-faceted understanding of the theoretical and practical ways Sport Psychology can be applied for those not only aspiring to be sport psychologists, but also for those in the fields of physical education, coaching, recreation, health, etc.   

    Course Goals and Methodology
    Learning Course readings, exercises and class preparation are very important. Sometimes, the professor might only have enough time in class to go over the major conceptual and empirical issues, so it is extremely important for students to develop a full understanding of a motivational topic and to utilize it. You must supplement in-class discussion with knowledge gained from the assigned readings. This strong emphasis on course projects reflects not only a desire to educate you about the psychological aspects of sport and exercise, but also a commitment to help you apply your knowledge in meaningful and practical ways, whether you are a physical educator, coach, recreation specialist, athlete, or aspiring sport psychologist.

    Upon successful completion of this course, you will:
    • Gain practical experience in goal setting, behavior change, and maintenance of health and wellness.
    • Identify and clarify the psychological principles of Sport Psychology that contribute to performance and exercise.
    • Evaluate how psychological variables influence participation and performance while participating in physical activity to enhance psychological intervention skills for attaining goals and maintaining performance.
    • Understand how participation and motivation in sport contribute to the psychological characteristics of an individual or team.
    • Acquire skills, knowledge, and personal insight regarding sport psychology that you can apply as a coach, athlete, or other practitioner

    Useful Texts  

    Textbook (Reference): Harvis, M. (2006). Sport Psychology. A Student´s Handbook (PDF). Reading and study texts prepared by the professor available on Blackboard.    

    Hanin, Y. & Stambulova, N. (2004). Sport Psychology. The Psychology of Athletic Excellence. Research Gate. PDF Available on _of_Athletic_Excellence?    

    Gangyan, S., Cruz, J. & Jaenes, J.C. (Eds.) (2017). Sport Psychology: Linking Theory to Practice. Madrid. Dyckinson. PDF Available on Blackboard.     Jaenes, J.C. (Ed.). (2017).

    PSYTOOL: Values in Sports. Special supplement number 3. Revista de Psicología del Deporte. PDF availables on (free of charges).    

    Weinberg, R.S. & Gould, D. (2015). Foundations of Sport Exercise Psychology. Fifth Ed. Human Kinetics.  Chapters available on Blackboard. 


    Course Requirements and Grading
    Your final grade will be calculated as follows:
    • Quizzes: 40 % Multiple choice (4 options)
    • Case Study (3):10%
    • Homework: 10%
    • Final Paper: 10%
    • Midterm: 15%
    • Final: 15%

    Course Contents 
    1. Sport Psychology: Beginning your journey. Welcome to Sport and Exercise Psychology. Defining Sport and Exercise Psychology. The roles of Sport Psychologists. Ethical standards for Psychologists. Two hats: Sports and Psychology. What Sport Psychologists do, when and how.

    Video: Lara Boyd. Brain plasticity.  

    Some practical experiences: Rowing World Championship U-23 Racice (Check Republic).  

    Practice 1: Coordination skills for marathon runners.   

    2. Emotions and Sport: Basic concepts: Stress, Anxiety Trait, State. The Relationship between Trait and State. Fear, Arousal. The relationship between emotions and motor behavior and performance. Theories about emotions and performance. ZOP Theory and others. Some practical experiences: Rowing World Championship. Linz (Austria)

    Practice 2: Understanding Emotional States: Case Study 1: A case study: A case of volleyball player Reading: Colleen Case. PDF Available. Consult Blackboard.  Reading (optional):  Video:   

    3. Psychology for Coaches: Evaluation in Sport Psychology: Behavioral, Cognitive and Psycho-Physiological approaches. Direct and indirect intervention. Coaching Styles. Working together: Coaching Leadership: definition, Different approaches. Practice 3: Evaluating coaches: C.B.A.S as an observation and communication model. Coaching styles.

    Class discussion: Your fever coach & your worst coach.  

    Video: Introduction to I coach kids’ program  

    4. Motivation: Defining motives and motivation. Why skateboarding or Cycling BMX Freestyle have been accepted in the Olympics? Urban Sports. Urban abilities and values. Student responsibility: Building motivation with five guidelines. Developing Achievement motivation and competitiveness

    Theories: a) Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan). More popular in Sport Psychology. b) Stage of Change Model (Prochaska and Di Clementi). More popular in Health Psychology.  

    Video: Skateboarding: Tokyo 2020  Video: Cycling BMX FreeStyle  

    5. Psychological Characteristics of Peak Performance: Follow the line: Past (personal history). Warming up. Competition. Post-competition: evaluation & feedback. Peak Performance profile. Psychological Skills Training (PST): General characteristics. Different elements: Stop Thinking, Concentration skills, Decision making, stress management, etc.

    Class discussion: Your fever athlete: Why?  

    Working in groups: Stop Thinking, Concentration skills, Decision making, etc.  

    Video: Men´s Canoe Double  1000 meters final  World Championship. Halifax, Canadá. 

    6. Psychological training: : Basic concepts. How to put together physical, tactical training and psychological preparation. Tools to enhance performance. Psychological training in tennis, football, track and field, rowing, etc.

    Practice 4: How to put it all together. Sport Psychologists and trainers: working together. The case of marathon.  

    Reading: Jaenes, J.C. et al. (2021). The efectiveness  of the psychological intervention in amateur male marathon runners. Frontier in Psychology.  

    Video:  Women´s 1500 final

    Video: Nevin Harrison  Olympic Champ USA C1  

    7. The dark side of Sport (1): Addictive and Unhealthy Behaviors: Eating Disorders (EAT): Anorexia, Bulimia, and Athletic Anorexia. Addiction: Positive and Negative directions. Preventing EAT. Coach Role: Positive and negative influences. EAT and dancing. Prevalence of EAT.

    Practice 5. The case of John: Examine this case in light of the Stage of Change Model (Motivation Theory). Class discussion.  

    Video: Struggling with an eating disorder  

    8. The dark side of Sport (2): Burnout: Different models. Symptoms. Treatment and Prevention. Overtraining. Staleness. Causes of overtraining. Symptoms. Treatment and prevention. Coaches’ Burnout. Drugs, Doping, WADA organization and ADAM System. Individual differences in athlete burnout causes overtraining.

    Reading: : Wilczyńska, D.; Qi, W.; Jaenes, J.C.; Alarcón, D.; Arenilla, M.J.; Lipowski, M. Burnout and Mental Interventions among Youth Athletes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Studies. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 10662. ijerph191710662 

    9. Positive consequences of Sport and Physical Activity: Health and Psychological Well-being Exercise in the reduction of Anxiety, Depression, and Enhancing mood with exercise. Psychological benefits: explanations. The runner´s High. Adherence.

    Reading: Jaenes, et. al. (2022). A moderate meditation model of wellbeing and competitive anxiety in male marathon runners. Frontiers in Psychology 

    10. Values and Sports: PSYTOOL Project: Racism and violence in Sports. Different types of discrimination: gender, sexual orientation. Promoting values in sports: European Erasmus+ Projects.

    Reading: Jaenes et. al. (2017). Racism and discrimination in Sports. PSYTOOL project. Nassar case: Please read about the case. We will discuss in class.   

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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