Keep the mind on target

Solutions in Sport Psychology. First edition
November 29, 2002

This book aims to fill the gap between theory and practice for students on sport psychology and sports science courses. To do this, Ian Cockerill has assembled contributions from 21 leading academics who are also practising sport psychologists in events such as slalom canoeing, soccer, gymnastics and badminton.

The chapters are grouped into four sections: sport psychology in practice, motivation and goals, cognitions and confidence, injuries and counselling. Each describes a case study, which centres on a problem, such as underachievement in young elite athletes or rehabilitation from an injury. Theory and research are discussed before the authors move on to their solution.

There are strengths to this approach. A considerable range of background material is covered, the research is very up to date and the case study draws the reader in. Students will need the section headings such as "The problem", "The theory", "The intervention" to guide them through the mass of material. Unfortunately, these headings appear in a few chapters only.

Although the book claims that no prior knowledge of the subject is necessary, most undergraduates will need some explanation before they can cope with Robert Nideffer's ideas on broad/narrow attentional focus or a non-experimental protocol, let alone a chapter entitled "Functional equivalence solutions for problems with motor imagery". A list of introductory textbooks would be very useful: Cockerill refers to them, but fails to provide any titles.

Most undergraduates would find this book heavy going, especially as there are no photographs or drawings to break up the text. Nevertheless, it is a comprehensive and up-to-the-minute resource for students and lecturers to dip into. Its greatest strength may be the detail in the case studies, as they provide potential sport psychologists with a vivid picture of what the professional does.

Barbara Woods is the author of textbooks on sport psychology.

Solutions in Sport Psychology. First edition

Editor - Ian M. Cockerill
ISBN - 1 86152 773 X
Publisher - Thomson
Price - £19.99
Pages - 201

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