Athletic Insight - The Online Journal of Sport Psychology

Letters to the Editor

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Subj:  Why Athletes Resist Sport Psych
To:  [email protected]
       I really liked the article about why athletes resist sport psych. I think it would be more eye opening and informative to go to some highly competitive high schools, colleges, and possible minor league and professional teams to hand out the survey. Twenty athletes in random may not be that broad or experienced of a group. I played college sports at two Universities, one was ranked top 20 in Division I, and the other top twenty in Division I-AA (I transferred down). I have also coached S&C for college and high school football. I was never exposed to any psychologists, never informed, and I know I would never have had the $$$$. BUT I could have benefited GREATLY and still to this day in recreational training, and maybe in the future once I get my life settled a little, competitive power lifting or possibly mixed martial arts fighting I will compete in. I would love to discuss it more with the authors if possible.


Subj:  "Why Athletes Resist Sport Psychology" by Dr. Ferraro and Ms. Rush
To:  [email protected]
TO the Editor:
       I wanted to make some comments on the article in your last issue entitled "Why Athletes Resist Sport Psychology" by Dr. Ferraro and Ms. Rush. Of the twenty people sampled, twelve were recreational amateurs with "less than 15 hours per week" devoted to sport, which could mean Sunday morning ball with the guys. The thought of using a sport psychologist would not occur for such a casual "athlete", so it would be important to obtain supporting data as to how much they actually played, the seriousness with which they played their sport, and their ages, as well. If twelve of the twenty sampled were recreational, a desire to improve their performance through the use of a paid sport psychologist is not enough motivation to seek a doctor's services.
       My 18 year old son commented on reading the article that it was mis-titled. It is not about resistance to sport psychology (20 of them thought it effected performance), but why they don't use one. From the sampling it is clear that a majority of them just want to have fun, hence the term, "recreational".
       As an assistant coach of a high school girl's basketball team for many years, I do have a suggestion for another study. I deliver an activity workshop to my team and others based on five skills I take from my reading of sport psychology literature. They are: Being positive with self and others; Task orientation; Goal-setting; Visualization; and Practicing maximum mental and physical effort as a skill of its own. The last is based on creating success through an activity you can control, i.e. effort. The program has been read by a number of sports psychologists and psychiatrists. The program is getting good reviews and is expanding. If there is anyone interested in studying this program and its effect, I would like to hear from them via my e-mail at [email protected]
       Thank you your on-line service, I find it very rewarding and thought-provoking.

Mitch Lyons

Dear Matt and Mitch:
       Thanks for the feedback on the Ferraro and Rush's piece. It was obviously well thought out and points out some intrinsic flaws in their research. At Athletic Insight we strive to publish all points of view on the information that we publish. I am sure that they will be very interested in hearing your feedback. If you would like to contact Dr. Ferraro with your comments, I encourage you to do so at his e-mail ([email protected])
       As for your activity workshop research, I hope that one of our readers will take you up on your offer to do an empirical analysis of its benefits. Thanks for your interest in Athletic Insight.

Miguel Humara

Athletic Insight - The Online Journal of Sport Psychology: Line

Subj:  Effects of Psychotropic Drugs on Performance
To:  [email protected]
       I found your site to be quite interesting as I am in my senior year in high-school and currently working on an independent study on the issue. I am focusing on the fact that elite athletes must have a psychologically sound mind. I myself am a top runner in Canada under 19 and I suffer from depression but am coping quite well today. I would like to inquire whether anti-depressant drugs can affect my running performance? I have heard that they decrease performance, giving an athlete a lesser drive. My performance times have decreased from about 6 months ago when I started taking the drug. However this could be due to other events and factors. I think perhaps psychologically it has given me a boost but physically has perhaps threatened my performance. If you have any insight in this it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Barry S.

Dear Barry:
       Although my area of expertise is psychology not psychiatry, I can only imagine that antidepressants would be beneficial for running since they can be viewed as being "uppers." However, they might be considered to be performance enhancing drugs and could result in a drug positive screening. Anti-anxiety agents or "downers" would be detrimental to performance but again might be considered to be doping agents.
       I encourage you to explore these issues further with the doctor that is prescribing you the medication as well as any regulatory bodies there might be for your sport. I hope that this simplified response has been of some help. Thanks for you interest in Athletic Insight

Miguel Humara

We look forward to your comments and feedback.  Simply e-mail Athletic Insight.
Athletic Insight - The Online Journal of Sport Psychology: Line Mental Health Net Award Winner
Copyright 2001 Athletic Insight, Inc.
ISSN 1536-0431