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In Support Of A Written Curriculum Based On Sport Psychology For High School Sports Teams


Introduction

Amazing as it seems, the one hundred year old science of sport psychology is hardly taught in any systematic way in our public schools. It would be tragically laughable if geography was being taught without maps or chemistry without the Table of Elements. Yet high school sports, the zenith of most people's sports "careers," is taught without regard to the science upon which peak performance in sports is based. That science is sports psychology.

High school age students who participate on interscholastic sports teams spend two hours a day, six days a week for 10 to 12 weeks practicing sport-specific skills, yet there is no written curriculum for a teaching methodology for this large amount of time.

It is well known that coaches are hired for their expertise in the sport they coach (among other criteria), but with little or no regard for their knowledge of the science upon which the learning process is most effectively taught.

It is true that many coaches use at least some of the principles of sports psychology when they coach (because they have taken courses or read about it or instinctively), but the students they coach do not know the skill the coach is employing when he or she teaches. Moreover, the student does not know that they can practice the same skill the coach is using, so they can learn to apply it themselves. With a written curriculum based in science, a school supplies coaches with written goals and benchmarks so that all coaches are working toward the same goal, much the same way any other academic department functions.

This is an opportunity to teach paths to good mental health. This program is an early (and can be earlier) intervention program.

Community Needs

"In the United States, approximately 7 million children between the ages of 5 through 17 participate in school athletic programs; 22 million more children and adolescents are involved in organized athletic programs; and yet another 14 million are involved in less structured sports (e.g. weekend skiing or kickball). In short, virtually all children have some experience with sports." Lewis, 1998

Statistically, there is no question that the place to meet the majority of high school children outside the classroom is on a sports team (Approximately 60% participate in Massachusetts). Here, there is an existing infrastructure where children choose to learn. In the structured environment of a sports team, there are vast teaching opportunities beyond the sport itself.

Much as been made about the state of amateur sport in America and in Massachusetts. The media headlines of fights and brawls between any combination of coaches, parents, officials and children show the very extreme examples of negativity and result-orientation. Beneath the surface, of course, many of the same thoughts that result in news stories are being whispered and felt by many. There is a built-in frustration that comes with competition when winning is the most important goal as someone is always loosing. It is also frustrating individually for parents when they see their children having a bad experience on a sports team or when the parents' and child's goals for sports teams are not about values, but about personal success measured in playing time, starting position, and personal statistics. The community suffers as a whole when school athletics are not considered to be an educational process, but a place to merely compete to win.

The essence of competition is that there is a contest and that is a fact that will never change. However, if schools used game and practice time to develop life long mental skills as the mission of the team, students could accomplish two goals: (1) develop a way of thinking that has proven itself to be most effective in increasing self-worth, the key to good mental health while (2) improving their own performance levels on the field of competition. High feelings of self-worth, according to the science of psychology, generally accompanies feelings of happiness, satisfaction, confidence, motivation and productivity (among other feelings).

The challenge to all schools across the nation is to take advantage of the vast amount of time spent in athletics by turning teams into mental training grounds for increasing self-worth in every participant. Studies indicate that certain ways of thinking, over time and with constant practice, make people emotionally stronger and resilient in the face of adversity. When we actually practice and use sport psychology skills, the whole tenor of the season turns to achieving and working hard toward personal excellence. Thinking that way about sports does not come easily. It is a skill. It requires practice.

With high schools advertising their mission of implementing the mental skills found in the science of sports psychology, lower level teams in both middle school and community athletic leagues will hear the message through word of mouth, siblings, and the media. Community leagues' involvement will grow as the high schools set the standard of what is taught in amateur sport. Parents will be given written material documenting the goals and focus of the sports program. Signs will be posted during contests as to what exactly is being taught to the players. Gradually, perhaps even a generation or two from now, amateur sport will be taught using principles that have scientifically been found to be most effective in not only improving performance, but, more importantly, in building high self-worth in students.

While people use the "sports as life" metaphor freely, it is unevenly applied or not applied at all (e.g. negative coaching to achieve short-term results). When a coach does talk about the life lessons in sport, he talks about it in an informal way, verbally, and, most times, the "lessons" are secondary to the contest itself. With a curriculum that both students and coaches see, the lessons will not be missed, in fact, they will be practiced.

While there are many programs now being offered to help set the right tone for youth sports, they rarely acknowledge they are teaching the science of sport psychology. These programs resort to acronyms and students feel they are being taught a theory espoused by a person instead of being taught the principles of a science (albeit inexact) based on thousands of studies of human behavior in sports.

There is a great community need to change the way we view amateur sport. Professional athletics is an entertainment. Amateur sport is an educational experience for the athlete. Sometimes these concepts are confused. For instance, a major Sports Management masters and doctoral program at a state university, which deals with both professional and college sport management, has no class on the athlete themselves, only on the business of using the athletes' performance for profit. The course, Athlete Development, is about fundraising. Is this what the community desires for its high school and younger students in their sports program?

The Lifelong Skills Studied in Sport Psychology

There are so many studies that cover so many subject matters in sport psychology that the average coach is overwhelmed by information. Somehow, the concepts need to be simplified so that both students and coaches teach in a way consistent with what has been learned through science. There is a need to put those simple concepts in writing for coaches and students to read and understand, just as they do in every other academic subject matter. In addition, the coaches and players are able to practice the mental exercises on a daily basis. By doing this, sports psychology becomes an applied science and not a theoretical exercise. In putting together the basic skills, it should be as simple as possible so that coaches and students understand what they are practicing. In this case, based upon working with this system as a coach for over 15 years, I have attempted to simplify the skills most often needed on a team as follows:

BASIC SPORT PSYCHOLOGY SKILLS*

  1. PRACTICE GIVING THE MOST MENTAL AND PHYSICAL EFFORT YOU CAN AS A SKILL OF ITS OWN!
  2. SET REALISTIC, CHALLENGING, SHORT-TERM GOALS!
  3. FOCUS ON THE SPECIFIC DETAILS OF EACH TASK AND NOT ON THE OUTCOME!
  4. BE POSITIVE WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS, AND THROW OUT ALL NEGATIVITY!
  5. VISUALIZE SUCCESSFULLY EXECUTING THE DETAILS OF EACH TASK REPEATEDLY UNTIL YOUR MIND KNOWS IT!

* Copyright at end of article

In addition, there should be a list of activities to do every day at practice and at games, or even alone, away from others, that need to be identified. The ones I have come up are the following:

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC MENTAL ACTIVITES TO BUILD
YOUR SELF-WORTH EACH AND EVERY DAY*

  1. Communicate with others in a respectful, sensitive and positive way to make yourself feel good about yourself. A gift of yourself is a gift to yourself.
  2. Repeat a statement that makes you feel good about yourself over and over again as a mantra when you have negative thoughts about yourself.
  3. Set realistic and challenging goals that are short-term, specific, performance-related and are within your control to create successes.
  4. Think about how hard you are physically working when you are doing so for an instant feeling of success. Practice maximum effort.
  5. Practice focusing for a longer and longer period of time by asking yourself questions about what you should be doing when you are practicing and playing.
  6. Pick apart a task into the smallest details and think about accomplishing each of those details as well as you can instead of the ultimate goal you want to achieve.
  7. Imagine doing certain tasks in detail over and over again in your mind and practice feeling good about your success.

EACH ACTIVITY IS WITHIN YOUR CONTROL.
EACH ACTIVITY CREATES SUCCESS OR IMPROVES YOUR CHANCES OF SUCCESS.
BUILD ON YOUR SUCCESSES TO BUILD SELF-WORTH.

* Copyright at end of article

From extensive reading of studies of sport psychology, it appears that those with high self-esteem improve their performance, are more resilient, more confident, more productive, are more willing to risk failure, are happier, more motivated, and more satisfied. This simple fact is not disputed. (Sugarman, 1999; Weinberg and Gould 1995; Cox, 1990; Martens, 1987; Bunker and Williams, 1986)

In addition, "people who feel good about themselves and their identify are less likely to be prejudiced and biased toward others." In this way, building high self-esteem in students assists in the fight to break barriers of differences between our cultures. (Bettman, 1998)

It seems obvious that coaches should want to help their student/athletes learn how to reach this high feeling of high self-worth. It also seems obvious that the skills listed above are transferable and transcend sports into other areas such as academics, community service and personal excellence.

For example, the concept of being positive, supportive, and sensitive with others is a self-worth building skill. Helping someone across a street makes people feel good about themselves. Treating a teammate with understanding makes one feel good, not to mention that the teammate benefits from it. This is a simple way to create team harmony as well as building self-worth in each person who acts in this manner. But it is difficult to do, as any team or student will attest to. Being positive with others is a skill that must be practiced. The student is told that practicing this skill is within their control. On the team that practices this, the players and coach are actively and consciously working on being positive with self and others.

All sports psychology advice found in books shows ways to build self-esteem in order to improve performance. However, it also is the way to good mental health. The benefits are life-long.

Building self-worth should be a coach's primary job, For example, motivational techniques, for long term mental health, should be driven toward teaching children how to motivate themselves instead of responding to external motivation, some of them quite self-defeating. For instance, Jackie Cooper, the great child actor, was told by his movie director that the child's dog had died in order for him to cry in a movie scene. While getting immediate results for the director, it scarred Cooper for life as he attested to years later. Yelling in a student's face about an error on the playing field may get results in improved play on an immediate basis (or maybe not), but it is definitely acts to lessen, not increase, self-esteem. It is coaching against the tide of scientific knowledge.

The Specific Curriculum

Once the basics are understood, the curriculum, like any standards-based education, needs to be quite specific so that it acts as a guide for coaches and tells students what they are to learn.

While there are many coaches and athletic directors who are in favor of this type of change and, in fact welcome it, there are many that do not want to participate. I have met some of them. I have found resistance on four basic fronts: (1) a comfort level has been reached where change is unwelcomed or seen as not needed. The sports psychology curriculum is seen by the coach as something he or she already teaches, even though the children are not specifically practicing the mental skills outlined in sports psychology. No one has disagreed with tenets of sports psychology; (2) the work involved in changing and learning new methods is not viewed as worth the benefit to the student; (3) negativity and cynicism is part of the personality of the coach or department, frequently due to length of service and "seen it all" mentality; (4) lack of knowledge, misinformation or intimidation about the subject matter, is followed by rejection as the easier path to take (I was told by one coach that "self-esteem is b.s." fostered by people who want to applaud children no matter what they do or how they behave); (5) the curriculum is seen as an attack on the coach's past years of experience and, in some cases, taken as a personal insult; (6) over-reliance on personal experience or a "that's not the way I learned" defense, notwithstanding that the manner of coaching and learning when the coach was playing may have helped him or her, but few others.

The great Frederick Douglass said, "Without struggle, there is no progress." He was talking, of course, about the epic struggle from slavery to freedom for African-Americans. The lesson about change, though applied to a much lesser subject matter, remains the same.

As of this writing, two Massachusetts high school athletic departments are planning to implement this curriculum. One of them is a small school, with a limited talent pool from which to draw, which leads to many defeats for their teams. The Athletic Director wants a program where they can learn something, where the focus is not about winning.

Below is an example of one such curriculum for the program described. The format is taken from a high school systems curriculum development office within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is the product of this author and all rights are reserved for its use. I suggest that readers of this detailed program show it to athletic directors, coaches, principals of schools and any other educational administrator to see if there is a desire for it to be applied in your community. Found immediately after the written curriculum are the conclusions of this article.

Outcomes And Benchmarks For Sport Psychology Curriculum On Sports Teams

The outcomes and benchmarks are not necessarily sequential, but in some cases are in order so that the developing athlete and coach can understand sport psychology, how to apply it and how to practice the skills learned from it.

Student Outcome #1. Student will learn and understand the principles of sports psychology and its terminology, including the value derived from self-worth and how to attain it. Student will:

  • Participate in a two hour workshop which explains that sport psychology is a science and not a theory.
  • Agree that they want to strive for personal excellence, not comparative excellence.
  • Understand that interscholastic sport is for learning and professional sport is entertainment.
  • Understand that the major goal of the season is to legitimately take steps to build self-worth.
  • Understand that people with high self-worth tend to be happier, more confident, more satisfied, more motivated, more productive, more willing to risk failure and mentally healthier.
  • Understand that when they increase their self-worth, and feel good about themselves, they will improve their performance and be more resilient (or mentally tougher).
  • Understand that they have 2 hours a day, 6 days a week for 10-12 weeks to work on the curriculum.
  • Understand that by creating successes for oneself as often as possible, they can build their feeling of self-worth and become success-oriented.
  • Understand that to create successes for themselves they must choose situations to build self-worth that are within their control.
  • Understand that the skills listed in the curriculum are all within their control.
  • Use sports psychology terminology (Goal-setting, task-orientation, focus, intensity of effort, success-orientation, visualization, positive self-talk)

Coach Outcome #1. Coach will learn and understand the principles of sports psychology and its terminology, including the value derived from self-worth and how to attain it. Coach will:

  • Participate in a two hour workshop which explains that sport psychology is a science and not a theory.
  • Agree that he or she wants to strive to use sports psychology and this curriculum as a model for their coaching and that they will attack it with the same commitment that they ask of their players.
  • Understand that their perception of how often they repeat the messages contained in the curriculum will probably be greater than that of the students.
  • Understand that change is difficult and that forgetting the curriculum is easy.
  • Inform their students that they must strive for personal excellence, not comparative excellence and that it is never "us vs. them", but that self-worth building is more about "us vs. us" or how well we can do what we can control.
  • Understand and relate repeatedly to students that the key to improved performance, resiliency, and becoming happier, more confident, more satisfied, more motivated, more productive, more willing to risk failure and mentally healthier is to build one's own self-worth.
  • Understand and relate to students repeatedly that they have 2 hours a day, 6 days a week for 10-12 weeks to work on understanding and practicing the two page curriculum, using sport as the vehicle for learning mental skills.
  • Understand that by students' creating successes for themselves as often as possible, they can build their feeling of self-worth.
  • Understand and relate repeatedly to students that to create successes for themselves they must choose situations to build self-worth that are within their control and start to plan goals for students which create those successes individually.
  • Understand and repeatedly relate to students that the skills listed in the curriculum are all within their control, but that it takes time and practice to achieve competency in those skills.
  • Repeatedly use sports psychology terminology (Goal-setting, task-orientation, focus, intensity of effort, success-orientation, visualization, positive self-talk) when talking to students.
  • Practice the skills of building self-worth themselves in their coaching, feeling good about their small successes.

Student Outcome #2. Student will demonstrate competency and exhibit some of the basic fundamental self-worth building skills such as being positive with others, giving maximum physical effort, goal setting, and focusing. Student will:

  • Understand that being respectful of others builds one's own self-esteem and therefore communicate with others in a respectful, sensitive and positive way.
  • Understand that they can feel instant success, thereby building self-worth, by giving maximum physical effort throughout practice.
  • Set small, task-oriented, performance-related goals that are realistic and challenging before games and practice.
  • Focus for as long a period as possible and work on recognizing when they have lost focus so they can gain it back as a self-worth building skill.
  • Recognize when situations or events fall into one of the skill categories and immediately attempt to reverse the behavior to increase their own self-worth (e.g., not working hard in conditioning can be controlled by recognition and changing work ethic).

Coach Outcome #2. Coach will demonstrate competency in teaching and focusing on some of the basic fundamental self-worth building skills such as being positive with others, giving maximum physical effort, goal setting, and focusing. Coach will:

  • Establish as a team goal to treat each other with respect, sensitivity and support.
  • Ask students to periodically evaluate verbally or in writing how they (not others) are doing in applying this self-worth building skill of being positive with others.
  • Split up of cliques and support togetherness.
  • Immediately correct body or verbal language which is not supportive or negative.
  • Role model behavior that is supportive, sensitive, keeping open, safe lines of communication and refraining from sarcasm or negativity with students.
  • Relate to students that you have and will make mistakes in strategy, judgment and that you are working on these same mental skills they are.
  • Invite communication about miscommunications and mistakes in treatment by either student or coach. Listening to students increases their feelings of self-worth.
  • Encourage students to feel good about how hard they are working at that moment (whether during conditioning or in practice). Challenge them to prolong their maximum effort time. Praise them extensively.
  • Help students set small, task-oriented, performance-related goals that are realistic and challenging before games and practice (with large teams, use assistant coaches to help students).
  • Recognize that loosing focus is a human condition which requires practice to overcome. Do not be impatient with those who have difficulty maintaining focus.
  • Ask students to ask themselves if they have lost focus.
  • Ask students to re-focus when they have evidently lost it and praise them heavily when they have remained focused for a long period of time.
  • Recognize when situations or events fall into one of the skill categories and call attention to it specifically to the student involved, asking if they recognized what they were doing is detrimental to building self-worth and then demanding a correction in behavior.

Student Outcome #3. Student will demonstrate other self-worth building skills such as positive self-talk, task-orientation, and visualization. Student will:

  • Write down something good about themselves that they can repeat to themselves when they are having negative thoughts about themselves and their abilities.
  • Repeat and think positive thoughts about themselves before every practice and every game and after every game, pointing out what they did right before focusing on their mistakes.
  • Practice breaking down tasks into small details so they can feel success after each detail is completed until the whole task is done correctly. Focus on mastering details instead of the outcome of the task or game.
  • Practice visualizing the successful execution of details in their mind repeatedly, especially those tasks they find most difficult.

Coach Outcome #3. Coach will demonstrate other self-worth building skills such as positive self-talk, task-orientation, and visualization. Coach will:

  • Have students write something good about themselves that they can repeat when they are reacting badly.
  • Notice when students are not being positive about situations, themselves or others and point out the skill of positive self-talk and positive thinking as a tool to build self-worth to the student who is having trouble with that skill.
  • At the end of games, win or loose, first ask the team to talk about what was right about what they did before going into the mistakes that were made.
  • Help students to learn how to break down tasks into small details so they can feel success after each detail is completed until the whole task is done correctly. Help students focus on mastering details instead of the outcome of the task or game.
  • Find the positive in what the student has done within the task before pointing out how to do the failed part correctly.
  • When putting in a new play, movement or pattern of movement, verbally take them through it so they know how to practice it in their mind on their own. Demand that individual students and the team as a whole set aside time to work on visualizing certain aspects of their play.

Student Outcome #4. Student will apply mental skills in games. Student will:

  • Understand that during games, there is a tendency to throw out all that has been learned in practice and to focus on outcome.
  • During games, consciously think about what they have been practicing and go over it in their minds.
  • Set goals before each game about the part of their play that they have the most trouble with, and then, before the game, visualize themselves executing those particular parts successfully.
  • Use the skills of task-orientation, positive self talk and positive communication with teammates, maximum effort and maximum focus.
  • Ask themselves questions constantly while playing to see what they are doing to help the team.
  • Understand that focusing on what they can control is the best way to build self-worth.
  • Control angry thoughts and respect all calls by officials even if clearly wrong.
  • Exhibit respect for opposing players even while playing against them as hard as they can.

Coach Outcome #4. Coach will apply mental skills while coaching games. Coach will:

  • Understand and relate to students that during games, there is a tendency to throw out all that has been learned in practice and to focus on outcome. Model this behavior.
  • Instruct students to consciously think about what they have been practicing and go over it in their minds.
  • Demand that students set goals before each game about the part of their play that they have the most trouble with, and then, before the game, to visualize themselves executing those particular parts successfully.
  • Use the skills of task-orientation, positive self talk and positive communication with students, maximum effort and maximum focus. Ask students during games what they are thinking about while on the field.
  • Build self-worth of those students not playing or less athletic by communicating with them during the game, taking a chance on them when appropriate, and playing them whenever possible.
  • Remind yourself what you already know: The person on the end of the bench is just as important as your best players.
  • Model behavior with officials by being a spokesman for the team when questioning a call by talking calmly and with respect when addressing officials.
  • Model controlling angry thoughts, talk and body language when a mistake is made by staying positive.
  • Exhibit respect for opposing players.
  • Re-state that the game's outcome may well be determined by how well the team does what it knows how to do and is within their control.

Student Outcome #5. Student will apply mental skills to academics. Student will:

  • Understand that the mental skills learned in sport to increase self-worth can be used in academics.
  • When feeling overwhelmed, write down all that they have to do and then only think of the first item on the list. Break down the first item on the list into small details and then think of only the first thing on that list. Understand that a sense of accomplishment will come from completing each item on the list.
  • Apply the mental skills learned in sports to academic subjects in which they have the most trouble.

Coach Outcome #5. Coach will emphasize the use of mental skills for academics. Coach will:

  • Keep abreast of students academic achievement.
  • Identify students who are struggling to apply the mental skills they have learned on sports teams to academics.
  • Frequently compare the difficulty in doing things that are not easy in sport (such as conditioning) with getting through difficulties in academics.
  • Identify the mental skills they need to apply in academics and inform students.
  • Instill in students that the pride and success they feel when accomplishing something in sports can be gained by applying the same skills in academics.
  • Initiate tutoring within the team to have students help other students to increase self-worth.

Athlete Outcome #6. Student will apply skills for building self-worth outside of school. Student will:

  • Perform community service work or project that will build their self-worth
  • Will recognize that doing things for other people in their own home increases their self-worth and will recognize when they are not acting positively to others they are decreasing their own self-worth.
  • Understand the responsibility they have to themselves and to the team by refraining from drinking alcohol, using tobacco or other drugs.
  • Increase their self-worth by being a leader and not following the crowd.

Coach Outcome #6. Coach will set goals for the team to build self-worth outside of school. Coach will:

  • Remind students of the challenges of leadership and the self-worth gained by being a leader and not a follower.
  • Frequently remind students that doing things for people in their own home increases their self-worth.
  • Form and delegate students to organize a group community service project to build self-worth.
  • Frequently convey the responsibility each student has to themselves and to the team by refraining from drinking alcohol, using tobacco and other drugs and that the use of such stimulants acts to decrease self-worth.
  • Instruct students that doing an act that is against the law decreases self-worth.
  • Instruct student that not using alcohol, using tobacco and other drugs increases self-worth by virtue of the strength of character it takes not to be just one of the pack.

All rights reserved by Mitchell R. Lyons from the program There is an "I" in "Team", Get Psyched Sports! Specific written permission is required to copy any table or curriculum for use.

Conclusion

Make no mistake about it, a written curriculum based on the science of sports psychology for high school sports teams is innovative. It has never been done before. Implementation of this program nationally (two generations or more away) will change amateur sports in America in the following ways:

  • It will teach a new subject matter during a structured after-school program;
  • It will teach an applied science to students and coaches where all teams are learning the same material;
  • It will teach how to practice mental life skills to build self-worth;
  • It will do away with negative, insensitive coaching as such coaching violates a major tenet of the science;
  • It will teach parents, coaches and students the goals of an educational sports program with a scientific basis that cannot be logically or statistically refuted;
  • It will set an example for private, community-based athletic programs to follow and practice.

Effecting this sea change in approach to amateur sport will be a hard journey. The innovator in each community where such change is championed will be regarded as fool, as someone who wishes to take competition out of sport, a "touchy-feely" Pollyanna. The answer to all is that the program is based on over a hundred years of science where the hodgepodge of current coaching is based on intuition. For those who care so much about winning that they fear intellectual growth as a goal, the answer should be that by applying this science, their chances of winning are actually better.

For those coaches and athletic directors who implement the skills addressed by sports psychology, they will find that they do not actually identify the specific skills they are using as a science to their students (or maybe do not recognize it themselves). In addition, the students themselves are unaware of the exact skills they are to practice. There will be an initial period of adjustment where one learns that every behavior on the playing field, track or court is an opportunity to identify and inform the player the mental skill that needs to be practiced. Gradually, players will identify the skills by themselves. Players do not merely pass badly, they fail to focus on the details of the task. Players who fail to get back on defense by not running as fast as they possible can are players who need to build their self-worth by practicing the skill of giving maximum effort. Players who get angry with themselves are those in need of practicing positive self-talk. When players realize what they are practicing on their sports team, sports will becomes a place to exhibit personal excellence, not comparative excellence. Their goals will be clear and based in science. Winning the contest will always be exciting, but individual progress will be the mark of success.

Sports truly is a metaphor for life, but only to the extent we make it so. Currently, the metaphor is vague, subject to the personality and knowledge of each coach. By setting down a written curriculum, coaches and players will understand that the skills learned on a sports team will carry through to an adulthood of satisfaction, success and productivity.

The author is founder of Get Psyched Sports! which facilitates the activities workshop, THERE IS AN "I" IN "TEAM", in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since September of 2000. Mr. Lyons is a basketball coach of 15 years, for the past five years at the high school level. A lawyer, Mr. Lyons has given up his 26 year practice of law to advocate for a written curriculum based in sports psychology for sports teams as a means of improving mental health of young people. He is currently seeking funding for this program through the Wellness Program of the non-profit Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (representing 350 high schools in Massachusetts) for whom he is a workshop presenter. As of this writing, the written curriculum at the end of this article will be implemented in two high schools in Massachusetts this Fall, making them the first high schools in the nation to have a sports psychology written curriculum for its sports teams. All comments, criticisms and suggestions as to the curriculum itself or to the funding of this program are welcomed by writing to Athletic Insight or by e-mailing the author directly.

References

Bunker, L., and Williams, J. (1986). Cognitive techniques for improving performance and building confidence. In J. M. Williams (Ed.) Applied Sport Psychology, Personal Growth to Peak Performance, Mayfield Publishing Company.

Cox, R. C. (1990). Sports Psychology, Concepts and Applications (Second Edition), Wm. C. Brown Publishing.

Hoffmeir-Bettman, Ellen (1998). A Classroom of Difference Training Manual, Anti-Defamation League's World of Difference Institute.

Lewis, M. (1998). Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.

Martens, R. (1987). Coaches Guide To Sports Psychology, Human Kinetics.

Sugarman, K. (1999). Winning the Mental Way, Step Up Publishing.

Weinberg, R. S., and Gould, D. (1995). Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology, Human Kinetics.

No part of this article may be reproduced without written consent of the author. PowerBasketball would like to thank the author, Mitchell Lyons, for permission to re-print his article. Please contact Mitch Lyons if you are interested in implementing this curriculum for your program.



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