Self-Regulation and Sport Psychology: Nurturing an Emerging Symbiosis

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Wisconsin—Madison
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This paper attempts to demonstrate the interdependence of research and theorizing on self-regulation and sport psychology. The process of maximizing sport performance was conceptualized as a self-regulatory problem. A five-stage model of self-regulation was presented to show the usefulness of this perspective. In particular, the model of self-regulation applied to this problem indicates that athletes should: specify their goals, establish commitments to change, manage their physical and social environments to facilitate pursuit of goals, execute the components of self-regulation to achieve goals (self-monitor, self-evaluate, self-consequate), and attempt to generalize changes achieved via the development of obsessive-compulsive styles of self-regulation. Recent findings in the self-regulation literature were reviewed to show how this conceptualization should be refined. Several applications in sport psychology were then described. This analysis supports the conclusion that (a) sport psychology provides an excellent medium for testing principles of self-regulation, and conversely, (b) self-regulatory models and principles can lead to effective interventions in sport psychology.

A version of this paper was presented as the keynote address on sport psychology at the meeting of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity, East Lansing, MI, May 30, 1983.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dan Kirschenbaum, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, 1202 W. Johnson St., Madison, WI 53706.

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