History of Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology in North America

Vincent J. Granito

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology

Published online May 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190236557 | DOI:

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The history of sport, exercise, and performance psychology in North America dates back to the late 1800s. However, these professionals typically conducted research in the area of motor learning and development, with little connection to other efforts and researchers. They struggled to forge an identity with the parent disciplines of psychology and physical education. By the 1930s, sport psychology was beginning to take shape in the form of topics that would become the foundation of the field. Professionals were also starting to provide services to athletes, such as Coleman Griffith with the Chicago Cubs in 1938. The field came into its own during the 1950s and 1960s as established research labs and educational opportunities became available to students who would go on to develop further opportunities during the 1970s and 1980s. The scholarly journals were launched, professional organizations were set up, and graduate programs were created. Exercise psychology became a subdivision of the field during the 1970s fitness craze, and performance psychology developed into a specialty in the 1980s. This rich history provides a framework for the current makeup of the field and direction for the future.

Keywords: history; sport psychology; exercise psychology; performance psychology; Coleman Griffith; Bruce Ogilive

Article.  11766 words. 

Subjects: History and Systems in Psychology ; Health Psychology

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