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