Diane L. Gill
Gender and cultural diversity are ever-present and powerful in sport, exercise, and performance settings. Our cultural identities affect our behaviors and interactions with others. As professionals, we must recognize and value cultural diversity. Gender and culture are best understood within a multicultural framework that recognizes multiple, intersecting identities; power relations; and the action for social justice. Physical activity participants are culturally diverse in many ways, but in other ways cultural groups are excluded from participation, and especially from power (e.g., leadership roles).
Sport, exercise, and performance psychology have barely begun to address cultural diversity, and the limited scholarship focuses on gender. Although the participation of girls and women has increased dramatically in recent years, stereotypes and media representations still convey the message that sport is a masculine activity. Stereotypes and social constraints are attached to other cultural groups, and those stereotypes affect behavior and opportunities. Race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and physical characteristics all limit opportunities in physical activity settings. People who are overweight or obese are particularly subject to bias and discrimination in sport and physical activity. Cultural competence, which refers to the ability to work effectively with people of a different culture, is essential for professionals in sport, exercise, and performance psychology. Not only is it important for individuals to develop their own cultural awareness, understanding, and skills, but we must advocate for inclusive excellence in our programs and organizations to expand our reach and promote physical activity for the health and well-being of all.
Glyn C. Roberts, Christina G. L. Nerstad, and P. Nicolas Lemyre
Motivation is the largest single topic in psychology, with at least 32 theories that attempt to explain why people are or are not motivated to achieve. Within sport psychology research, there are a plethora of techniques of how to increase and sustain motivation (strategies to enhance agency beliefs, self-regulation, goal setting, and others). However, when explaining the conceptual undergirding of motivation in sport, the why of motivation, two theories predominate: Achievement Goal Theory (AGT) and Self-Determination Theory (SDT). Both theories predict the same outcomes, such as increased achievement striving, sustained behavior change, and perceptions of well-being, but they differ in why those outcomes occur. AGT assumes that individuals cognitively evaluate the competence demands and meaningfulness of the activity, and that those perceptions govern behavior. SDT assumes that individuals are driven by three basic needs, competence, autonomy, and relatedness, and the satisfaction of those needs govern behavior. The following discusses both theories and concludes that each has their strengths and weaknesses.
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology. Please check back later for the full article.
Human ways of being are characterized by a wide range of various possibilities and go beyond the empirical circumstances of everydayness. However, transcendent dimensions of the world should be perceived in miscellaneous phenomena, both natural and supernatural. One of the most ancient displays of religious manifestation was sport. More precisely, human movement activities were part of religious cults and rites. Antique races and competitions (agón) in old Greek Olympia and similar human experiences in other cultural spheres (e.g., in Mesoamerican ball games) were not sport sensu stricto, but part of religion. Thanks to this tradition, the founder of modern Olympic games, de Coubertin, wrote about religio athletae where he tried to show transcendental aspects of modern sport. However, contemporary sport is not connected with religion in such a direct way. Concrete sportspersons keep his/her own religious tradition. We can speak more adequately about spirituality in sport meaning a deeper value of sport activities.
Religion and spirituality are not differentiated in common language. Nevertheless, when we think about their connections to sport, we should perceive their various levels, not only in psychological and sociological extents, but also in ontological dimensions. While spirituality in sport should be visible in the natural dimension of the personal authenticity of players and referees, the interpersonal relationship, looking for a deeper meaning of such activities and transcendence in the level of celebration, religion stretches across such a level of naturalness. Religion transcends human (including spiritual) ways of being from the profane to the sphere of deity and sacral otherness.
Contemporary society with its pressure on performance, outputs, beauty, also including virtuality and the increasing problem with sedentary behavior and obesity, does not satisfy all human needs. This is why numerous people are looking for deeper, spiritual value of their activities, including in the dimension of sport. Thanks to this, we can register an increasing interest in religious and spiritual aspects of sport, including the establishment of specific professions, like spiritual care by sport psychologists or sport chaplains, as well as university centers for the study of religion and spirituality in sport.
Judy L. Van Raalte and Andrew Vincent
Self-talk has been studied from the earliest days of research in experimental psychology. In sport psychology, the cognitive revolution of the 1970s led researchers and practitioners to explore the ways in which self-talk affects performance. Recently, a clear definition of self-talk that distinguishes self-talk from related phenomena such as imagery and gestures and describes self-talk has emerged. Self-talk is defined as the expression of a syntactically recognizable internal position in which the sender of the message is also the intended received. Self-talk may be expressed internally or out loud and has expressive, interpretive, and self-regulatory functions. Various categories of self-talk such as self-talk valence, overtness, demands on working memory, and grammatical form have all been explored.
In the research literature, both instructional and motivational self-talk have been shown to enhance performance. Negative self-talk increases motivation and performance in some circumstances but is generally detrimental to sport performance. Matching self-talk to the task (e.g., using motivational self-talk for gross motor skills such as power lifting) can be a useful strategy, although findings have been inconsistent, perhaps because many individual sport performances involve diverse sport tasks that include both fine and gross motor skills. Research on athletes’ spontaneous self-talk has lagged behind experimental research due in large part to measurement challenges. Self-talk tends to vary over the course of a contest, and it can be difficult for athletes to accurately recall. Questionnaires have allowed researchers to measure typical or “trait” self-talk. Moment-by-moment or “state” self-talk has been assessed by researchers observing sport competitions. Descriptive Experience Sampling has been used to study self-talk in golf, a sport that has regular breaks in the action. Some researchers have used fMRI and other brain assessment tools to examine brain function and self-talk, but current brain imaging technology does not lend itself to use in sport settings. The introduction of the sport-specific model of self-talk into the literature provides a foundation for ongoing exploration of spontaneous (System 1) self-talk and intentionally used (System 2) self-talk and highlights factors related to self-talk and performance such as individual differences (personal factors) and cultural influences (contextual factors).