Key Concepts in Sport Psychology


John Kremer, Aidan Moran, Graham Walker & Cathy Craig

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part 1: Introducing Sport Psychology

    Part 2: Anxiety and Stress

    Part 3: Motivation and Commitment

    Part 4: Cognitive Processes in Sport

    Part 5: Social Psychology of Sport

    Part 6: Motor Skills

    Part 7: Sport and Well-Being

  • SAGE Key Concepts

    Recent volumes include:

    Key Concepts in Sports Studies

    Stephen Wagg

    Key Concepts in Sport and Exercise Sciences

    David Kirk

    Key Concepts in Tourist Studies

    Melanie Smith, Nicola MacLeod and Margaret Hart Robertson

    Key Concepts in Leisure Studies

    David Harris

    Key Concepts in Mental Health (Second Edition)

    David Pilgrim

    The SAGE Key Concepts series provides students with accessible and authoritative knowledge of the essential topics in a variety of disciplines. Cross-referenced throughout, the format encourages critical evaluation through understanding. Written by experienced and respected academics, the books are indispensable study aids and guides to comprehension.


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    To our parents, who first kindled our passion for sport.

    About the Authors

    John Kremer is a half-time Reader in Psychology at Queen's University Belfast, where he has lectured since 1980. He combines his academic interest in sport and exercise psychology with practical work with numerous sports, including several national and international teams and individual athletes. His list of publications include Pure Sport (2008), Sport Psychology: Contemporary Themes (2006), Psychology in Sport (1994) and Young People's Involvement in Sport (1997).

    Aidan Moran is a Professor of Cognitive Psychology and Director of the Psychology Research Laboratory in University College, Dublin. A Fulbright Scholar and Editor-in-Chief of the International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, he has published extensively on mental imagery and attentional processes in athletes. A former psychologist to the Irish Olympic squad, he has advised many of Ireland's leading athletes and teams.

    Graham Walker is a practising educational psychologist who combines his professional work in this field with a longstanding interest in applied sport psychology. Graham has worked with a range of teams and individuals, both amateur and professional, in a diverse range of sports including soccer, golf, tennis, rugby and equestrian sports. He is also a part-time lecturer, at undergraduate and graduate level in applied sport psychology at the University of Ulster.

    Cathy Craig is a Professor in Perception and Action Psychology at the School of Psychology, Queen's University Belfast and is director of the Perception Action Research Lab ( She publishes extensively on motor timing, perception/action and decision making in sport. Much of her work involves using innovative technologies, such as immersive, interactive virtual reality to understand how perceptual based information influences the timing of action.


    Since the earliest days of competitive sport there has been a concern with how the mental and physical combine to determine sporting performance. In other words, how psychological skills can be harnessed to ensure that performance and wellness is enhanced in both the short and longer term, and for the benefit of all those involved in the wide world of sport. Many centuries later this work has now coalesced into the discipline of sport psychology, a discipline that integrates expertise and diverse contributions from a wide range of backgrounds, both academic and professional, from psychology and sport science, in the pursuit of sporting excellence.

    This collection has been brought together to give insight into the current state of play across sport psychology. Divided into seven sections that reflect recognisable fields within sport psychology, the 37 chapters, when read either separately or collectively, should provide the reader with a thorough overview of key issues that currently engage those who work in the field. Furthermore, for those who work with teams and athletes directly it is hoped that the contributions will help give you a grasp of what sport psychology can contribute to your sport, your team, or your athletes.

    Our aim was to give an insight into both practical and theoretical considerations but to present the material in a style that was accessible to the novice and expert alike. Each chapter gives insight into how the field has developed, what are the major priority areas today, and what are key findings that can help inform both theory and practice.

    While any list of key concepts can be challenged as being incomplete or skewed, we have endeavoured to bring together contemporary international literature under titles that are each discrete, easily recognisable and, in combination, we hope provide coverage of the many fields and perspectives that define modern day sport psychology. We hope you enjoy this collection; we have certainly enjoyed putting it together.

    In producing this book we would like to thank in particular Dr Gareth Watson for his contribution to the five chapters that make up Section 6. His help was much valued and appreciated by us all.

    John, Aidan, Graham and Cathy

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