It is argued that knowledge of the traditions of Western philosophy can play a valuable role in applied sport psychology. A contrast between sophist and Socratic ideas from Athens of the 5th-century BC is used to demonstrate the contribution a sound philosophical foundation can make in professional practice. Sophists are technique driven and concerned solely with specific skills that produce successful performance results. Socratics, in contrast, encourage rigorous personal examination and improved knowledge of self as the only meaningful pathway to personal happiness. The application of each philosophy to counseling situations such as fear of failure and eating disorders is described, and the potential role of philosophy and the humanities in the education of sport psychologists is discussed.
John Corlett is with the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada N9B 3P4.