Sport Psychology Syllabus

Instructor: Peter Thompson, Ed. D. (candidate), MS; BCC
95 Allens Creek, Building 2, Suite 324
Rochester, NY 14618

Office Hours: By appointment

General Course Objectives

1. To develop a strong base of knowledge in the ever-expanding field of sport psychology, including the ability to locate and interpret research.
2. To enhance each students awareness of psychological skills training (PST) as it relates to success in sport and life.
3. For each student to continue to develop a comprehensive and personalized approach to psyching for sport, maximizing potential, and enhancing their personal leadership skills.
4. For each student to develop an understanding of the critical issues pertaining to the field of sport psychology.
5. For each student to apply their learning in this course to their lives, and to their chosen fields(s) of endeavor.

Pedagogical Approaches: Lecture, class discussion, class presentations, small group work, film study, case study, in-class writing, and experiential exercises.


Weinberg, R.S., & Gould, D. (2015). Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology. (6th edition). Human Kinetics Press: Champagne, IL

Gallwey, W.T. (1997). The Inner Game of Tennis (revised edition). Random House: New York, NY

Orlick, T. (2013). In Pursuit of Excellence (5th edition). Human Kinetics: Champaign, IL.

Gonzales, D.C. (2016). The Art of Mental Training: A Guide to Performance Excellence (collectors edition). GonzoLane Media.

Theoretical Frameworks: Assigned articles:
Dweck, C.S. (1999). Self-Theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development.
Fredrickson, B.L. (2001). Broaden-and-Build: The role of positive emotions in positive psychology.
Deci, E., & Ryan, R. (2002). Self-Determination Theory; Cognitive Evaluation Theory
Elliott, A. (2006). Achievement Goal Theory.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975). Flow.

Course Outline:

Jan. 24
Introduction to course/Group Cohesion/
Readings Due: Weinberg & Gould 7, 8
Experiential activity

Jan. 31
Readings Due: Weinberg & Gould chptr. 4, 12
Quiz: Weinberg & Gould (Jan. 24)
Film clip from Hoosiers

Feb. 7th & 14th
Neuropsychology and Cognition
Readings Due: Yarrow, K., Brown, P., & Krakauer, J. (2009) Inside the brain of an elite athlete: The
neural processes that support high achievement in sports. Nature Reviews Neuroscience.
Gallwey, pgs. 3-114
Quiz: Weinberg & Gould (Cumulative)
Experiential activity

Feb. 21
Readings Due: Gonzales pgs. 2-54; Gallwey 114-135
Experiential activity
In-class writing assignment

Feb. 28
Team Dynamics/Personal Leadership/Confidence
Readings Due: Weinberg & Gould chptr. 9, 14
Orlick, pgs. 2-55
Film clip from The Legend of Bagger Vance

Mar. 7th
Achievement Motivation Theory/Goal Setting
Readings Due: Weinberg & Gould chptr. 3, 15
Elliot, A. (2006). The hierarchical model of approach-avoidance motivation. Motivation and Emotion,
30(2), 111-116.
Quiz: Weinberg & Gould (Feb. 28 & Mar. 7)
Film clip from Senna & The Wrestler

Mar. 14th
Self-Determination Theory/Flow Theory
Readings Due: Deci, E., & Ryan, R.M. (2008). SDT: A macro-theory of human motivation
Cszikszentmihalyi, M., & Nakamura, J. (2014). The concept of flow.
In-class writing assignment
Experiential activity

Mar. 21
Readings Due: Dweck, C.S. (1991). Self-theories and goals: Their role in motivation, and development.
Fredrickson, B.L. (2001) The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. The
broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions.

Mar. 28
Coaching Behaviors/Communication
In-class writing assignment
Experiential activity
Film clip from Hoosiers

April 4th
Youth Sport/Character Development/Healthy Approaches to Competition
Readings Due: Weinberg & Gould chptr. 22, 24
Quiz: Weinberg & Gould (Apr. 4)
Film clip from The Wrestler

April 11th
Planning for Excellence
Readings Due: Gonzales 54-114; Finish Orlick
Group work

April 18th
Planning for Excellence
Readings Due: Finish Gonzales
In-class writing assignment
Group work

April 25th
Case Study Presentations

May 2
Research Presentations

May 9
Final Paper Due


Quizzes are designed to ensure that students have faithfully completed the previous weeks reading assignments. Each quiz will consist of seven general questions in the form of multiple choice and short answer. If you have completed the reading, these quizzes will be easily answered. Students wishing to maximize their grade have the option of submitting a two paragraph write-up of the questions they answered incorrectly for ½ credit. Quizzes will be given on Jan. 31, Feb. 14, Mar. 7, and Apr. 4. Each quiz is worth 5% of your grade, for a total of 20%.

In-class writing assignments:
Four times throughout the semester students will be asked to write in class for 15-20 minutes on a combination of the previous week’s readings and/or that day’s experiential activity/class discussion. These will primarily ask for your opinions and personal experiences, but you are expected to apply your learning and show evidence of intelligent thought. In –class writing assignments will be on Feb. 21, Mar. 14, Mar. 28, and Apr. 18. Each will be worth 5% of your grade for a total of 20%.

Case Study:
As part of a group project, students are asked to present a case study of an athlete in distress, including the development of a psychological intervention based on course learnings. Presentations should discuss the circumstances in sufficient detail, identify the specific issues involved and then discuss how, as “experts” in the field, you would go about helping the athlete/team/coach resolve their issues, leading to enhanced performance. Case studies will then be presented in class. Grades will be determined by both a group self-study, as well as an assessment by the entire class. This project is worth 15% of your final grade.

Research Presentation
Students are asked to present to the class a brief synopsis of a research issue or theoretical framework in the field of sport psychology. The presentation should be no more than 5 minutes in length and provide an overview of how this topic relates to the field, how it has been utilized, and also include your perceptions of its efficacy. Class handouts should be provided. Upon request your instructor will assist you in finding a relevant research topic. This presentation is worth 15% of your final grade.

Class Participation
Your opinions, questions, confusion, ideas, thoughts, etc…are seen as essential to the success of our class. Therefore, so is your attendance. Since we meet weekly, a second absence will result in a grade reduction of 5%, a third absence 10%, etc…You are also encouraged to verbalize in small and large group discussions, writing assignments, and papers. My goal for the course is to facilitate discussion and offer some experience to the group. Ultimately, my hope is that we all learn from each other and offer support and constructive challenges to any and all ideas. As a result, your class participation is worth 15% of your final grade. This will be determined in combination of your self-assessment as well as mine.

Quizzes = 20%
In-class writing assignments = 20%
Case studies = 15%
Research presentations = 15%
Class participation = 15%
Final Paper = 15%

Please PROOF read your assignments before turning them in.
All assignments must be turned in for the student to receive a passing grade.
Late assignments will result in a ½ grade drop.
Please keep a copy of all assignments.
Students missing more than 3 classes should strongly consider dropping the course.
I am looking forward to teaching this class, and exploring new knowledge with each of you. My ultimate goal is for everyone to apply these concepts in both your athletic and personal lives in support of your flourishing!