A Historical Look At Sport Psychology
The Beginning of Sports
Sports have been around ever since Ancient times, maybe even sooner. “Traditionally, the Olympic Games began in 776 B.C.E.”, but there is speculation they might have occurred sooner. (Crowther, 2007) Sports and successful athletes were very important to the Greeks and their culture. Greeks were very competitive not only in sports, but in all aspects of life.
Descartes philosophizes about passions of the soul. I think of human’s passion for sport when he writes, “The perceptions we refer to our body or some of its parts are those we have of hunger, thirst, and our other natural appetites, to which may be added pain, heat, and the other affections that we feel as in our members and not as in objects outside us.” (Brennan, 1998) Sports are a passion and, for some, it is their career. Have you ever heard the saying that sports are 30% physical and 70% mental? The 70% mental is where sport psychology comes in to play. Sport psychology studies that mental part of sports that has tactics of how to perform to one’s best ability.
“Dombrowski contends that the ideas of Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus shed important light on issues—such as the pursuit of excellence, the concept of play, and the power of accepting physical limitations while also improving one’s body—that remain just as relevant in our sports-obsessed age as they were in ancient Greece.” (Crowther, 2007) Socrates thought that physical training is mandatory, “For in everything that men do the body is useful, and in all uses of the body it is of great importance to be in as high a state of physical efficiency as possible.” (Weiss, 1969) More thoughts from Socrates, “Why even in the process of thinking, in which the use of the body seems to be reduced to a minimum, it is a matter of common knowledge that grave mistakes may often be traced to bad health.” (Weiss, 1969)
Plato recommended that young men went to learn from the master of gymnastics,...