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Norman Triplett Dr Norman Triplett conducted the first experiment in sport psychology. His research into the social facilitation effect in cycling is a defining moment in the evolution of sport psychology. Sport psychology, like many great workings, started with a passion, which for Triplett was a love of cycling.

1920 Carl Diem The German sport administrator Carl Diem helped establish the first sport psychology laboratory in the German Sport School in Berlin. Carl Diem was also responsible for implementing the Olympic torch relay tradition that begun at the Berlin Olympics in 1936 and has took place at every Olympic games since.


Ferruccio Antonelli In 1965, Dr Ferruccio Antonelli and colleagues founded the International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP). The ISSP World Congress takes place every four years and aims to promote the research, practice and development of sport psychology around the world. The conference has visited 13 countries and this year touched down in Beijing, spreading the sport psychology web even further.


International Journal of Sport Psychology

Shortly after the ISSP was founded, the first dedicated sport psychology journal was published. The International Journal of Sport Psychology publishes empirical and theoretical articles from around the world. Behind the journal was a desire to share knowledge and give researchers a place to submit quality papers to be appreciated by like-minded colleagues.


Journal of Sport Psychology Est. Over time, sport psychology has become a more professional field of study. Much like the transition that takes place between amateur and professional sport, the field began approaching sport psychology with a more professional and systematic outlook. In addition, 1979 was the year that the Journal of Sport Psychology was established, which would go on to become a leading journal in the field.

1983 United States Olympic Committee

We often look to North America for an insight into the development of the discipline. A key moment occurred in 1983 when the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) hired a full time sport psychologist. The USOC had a target of improving performance and winning medals, something the Soviet Union, helped by psychologist A.Z. Puni, had achieved at the Mexico Olympics in 1968.


Association for Applied

Sport Psychology Est. As a research discipline develops, societies are established to share and certify knowledge. The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) began to provide certification for applied sport psychology consultants, establishing a gold standard for ethical conduct and practice. Nowadays, certification is essential if you wish to use the title sport and exercise psychologist.


Foundations of Sport & Exercise Psychology

Beginning in 1995 and now in its fifth edition, the textbook Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology has been a go-to resource for those learning about the field for nearly two decades. Sales of over 80,000 copies worldwide highlight the important role this piece of literature has played in the learning and development of sport psychology practitioners and researchers.


Psychological Fit A new millennium and the Sydney Olympics provide a fantastic platform for sport psychology to come into its own. Since the mid 90’s, there was a proliferation of research papers in sport psychology ranging from motivation to mental skills. Furthermore, large brands jumped aboard and began talking about the ‘psychological fit’ of their clothes, paying homage to the importance of thinking and feeling good, in order to produce an optimal performance.

2005 Sports & Exercise Psychology Review

Over 100 years have passed since the first sport psychology experiment and the field is now a truly international discipline. Sport psychology is recognized as a crucial aspect of the larger discipline of sport science. The subject is taught on University courses and researched around the world. A system is in place whereby aspiring sport psychologists have a wealth of knowledge and expertise to draw from in a quest to develop their own skills and further their career.

Psyched for Sport: A brief history of Sport Psychology  

An introduction to the history of Sport Psychology.

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