Sports psychology is just beginning to firm up as a field of research, and even this sketchy attempt suggests that it may have more practical success than some other kinds of applied psychology--given, as Ryan points out, the built-in opportunities for observation and measurement. A psychologist, former athlete, and coach himself, Ryan well understands the place of such factors as desire to excel and win, the prestige of a given sport, and even (for coaches) the frustration of dealing with a college administration that would rather its sports not be too successful (since that would detract from the emphasis on scholastic achievement). And he is not averse to giving a little coaching advice where necessary: if your athlete is experiencing a regression of a particular skill under the stress of competition, keep practicing until even the level of regressed skill is acceptable. But all these considerations do not quite make a book on sports psychology: beginning coaches may find a little bit of information to use as they get acquainted with the needs of their athletes and the quirks of the field (the state of the art in personality testing, for example), but otherwise these spot observations go nowhere in particular.
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