SPORTS and SPORT PSYCHOLOGY
on the INFORMATION SUPER HIGHWAY

by Robert M. Nideffer, Ph.D., and Marc-Simon 'Chip' Sagal, M.A.

You can't pick up a paper or listen to the news on TV without hearing something about the internet, and how the "information super highway" is going to change everyone's life. Is the potential as great as people say?Are there any immediate implications for your performance as an athlete,coach or parent, or for your practice as a consultant? We believe thereare, but at this point in time very few athletes and professionals aretaking advantage of them, and those that are, may not be making the mosteffective use of the wide range of information and services availableon-line.

Sport psychology consultants who work with some of the world'sgreatest professional and Olympic athletes, are trying to get theindividuals and teams they work with hooked up to the information superhighway. Since most of the athletes and consultants live hundreds if notthousands of miles away, and travel a great deal, thereare some very practical reasons for getting on the world wide web.

Through the internet athletes can have access to all of the technical,tactical, and psychological expertise that is stored in various libraries andcomputers around the world. By simply typing in the right address, one cantransfer a book, an article, a training schedule, a picture, or a shortvideo clip into your computer.

One of the great things about using the web to access information is thatyou will almost always be given the opportunity to direct specific feedbackto someone involved with the site you have selected. Frequently, thesecontacts will be experts and professionals with whom you would have littlechance of communicating with, outside the internet environment. Plus, yourchances of getting a quick and personalized response from those you contactare improved because of the comparative ease with which email messages canbe sent.

One caveat, make sure to read all the information that's availableat any one particular site first. Your chances of getting a useful responsewill be much greater if you ask questions for which the answers have notalready been given. Following are a few of the resources and informationavailable to athletes on the internet.

In 1989, Dr. Nideffer published an article in The Sport Psychologist titledPsychological Services for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team (Nideffer,1989). You might have read that article. If you did, and if you had aquestion, you had no place to go. To get in touch with Dr. Nideffer wouldhave taken a great deal of effort, contacting the publisher, etc. Thatarticle, however is also available on the world wide web. If you were on acomputer and connected to the internet, you could read the article at thefollowing address:

At http://www.enhanced-performance.com/nideffer/article6.html you can find an article by Dr. Nideffer titled "Psychological Services for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team."

Our very own "Self-help and Psychology Magazine" regularly carries articles of interest to coaches and athletes in this Sport Psychology Department. Byopening the files for the other articles listed in this department. you will find information on gender issues in sport, how to use sport psychology andeven an interview with an olympic gold medalist. Answers to some of your questions are given by Dr. Cristina Versari, our Sport Psychology Editor.

Information on how the concepts from the martial arts relate to the breathing and centering and arousal control can be found at: http://www.aikiweb.com/ A tremendous amount of material including pictures, articles, and books canalso be found at that site.

To examine your concentration skills go to: http://www.enhanced-performance.com/nideffer/TAISsport.html There is a questionnaire that will help you do that. You can copy this demonstration program from the web site to your computer. The program will help you begin to identify your concentration skills and provide you withsome suggestions for improving those skills.

By typing in the address: http://www.usatoday.com/, you can not only read the USA Today sports page (for free), you can watch itget updated while you are reading.

CBS Sports is located at: http://www.cbs.com/sports. Once you are connected you can find out what sports programs are on for the week, you can email questions to the CBS Sports Show, and you can even see video highlights of big events like the 1996 Fiesta Bowl.

Interested in women's sports? Go to: http://fiat.gslis.utexas.edu/~lewisa/womsprt.html, Once there, you can read articles on gender and equality issues. You can connect with fan clubs like Gabriela Sabatini's, or Katarina Witt. There you can ask questions, get pictures, and read stories. Want to know how the field hockey team at the University of Connecticut did this week, or how the University of Tennessee did in basketball? A click of the mouse will tell you. You can check out the sports and colleges of your choice before you enroll.

Want up to the minute information about sports around the world? Go to the Sports Line at: http://www.sportsline.com

No Golf enthusiast should miss The 19th Hole located at: http://www.sport.net/golf/

Imagine you're a baseball pitcher and you're walking back out onto the mound to pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning. You're playing a game in New York and we've been watching on TV back in San Diego. We noticed that in the eighth inning you began to tighten up and started guiding the ball. We send you an email telling you to remember what we talked about, reminding you to take a deep breath, exhale slowly and say to yourself "I'm in control," just before you go into your windup. You turn on your portable computer in the dugout, read my message and smile. You go backout and strike out the side.

The examples we have provided help to illustrate the types of informationthat can be transferred from the experts to you, in a matter of seconds. Without getting on the internet, however, you won't know what you are missing.

Nideffer, R.M. (1989). Psychological services for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team.
The Sport Psychologist, 3, 350-357.

5/29/98

Robert Nideffer, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized sport psychologist. He is the CEO and Founder of Enhanced Performance Systems (EPS) and lives in San Diego.

Marc-Simon 'Chip' Sagal received his masters degree in Sport Psychology from San Diego State and works at EPS with Dr. Nideffer.

 

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