APA Cosponsors Event Highlighting Sports Psychology

Four sports psychologists gathered in Washington, DC, July 2, 1996, to speak at 'Psychology and Olympic Caliber Performance: A Science Writers Seminar,' sponsored by APA and the Exercise Science Program of the School of Medicine and Health Science at George Washington University. Psychologists Robert Singer, PhD, Joan Duda, PhD, Dan Landers, PhD, and Shane Murphy, PhD, presented their research in the field and discussed the importance of mental training to the enhancement of elite athletes' confidence and sports technique.

Dr. Duda, from Purdue University, presented her research on the relationship between mental motivation and athletic performance. She is currently the sport psychologist for the U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team.

Dr. Landers, from Arizona State University, emphasized the need for proper exercise to reduce negative sleep and stress patterns. He also discussed the significance of goal-setting and that athletes can benefit from low-intensity exercise.

Dr. Murphy, of Gold Medal Consultants and the author of the new release, The Achievement Zone, discussed his work in which he teaches athletes to concentrate on more than just the result of their event. His aim is to shift their focus from a fear of losing to the individual factors it takes to be the best.

Dr. Singer, from the University of Florida and President of the APA Division of Exercise and Sport Psychology, discussed the role of mental acuity in professional tennis players' games. Through the use of diagrams and slides, Dr. Singer demonstrated the procedures he uses to improve an athlete's performance.

The four psychologists also shared experiences they've had working with top-level athletes, including participants of the 1996 Olympic games. They all gave their individual renderings of the important role that psychology plays in discovering key factors in training that have increased athletes' ability to perform.

Reporters from USA Today and the Journal of NIH Research were among the attending media.

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