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Archive for July, 2011

The Psychological Effects of Youth Sports

Author: Helping Psychology

Sport psychology is a controversial issue. Some believe that participating in a sport, especially a full contact one such as American football, could possibly cause aggressive behavior. Others believe that those who are more aggressive seek to play more aggressive sports. Then there are others who think that sports allows for a productive way to let aggression out in a socially organized and controlled environment. Finally, there are those who claim that simply watching the sports could cause aggression in viewers.

The issues surrounding sports aggression and sport psychology are dynamic to say the least. These issues become doubly dynamic and the arguments for every side more emotionally driven when the arguments are applied to youth, however. The question is simple: Does participation in organized sports (or sports in general) create overtly aggressive young athletes?

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The experts are split. In one study published by Michigan State University, Vern D. Seefeldt and Martha E. Ewing point out the longstanding tradition of bonding by playing sports. They even suggest that playing on a sports team is a healthy part of learning how to communicate while also commending organized sports for improving children’s physical attributes such as their motor skills.

Still, they also suggest that there are possible negative outcomes of organized sports when, for instance, an athletic youth cannot reach goals that are expected of him/her. This inability to compete with peers can lead to alienation, anger and, yes, aggression. Still, this aggression is not the sort of aggression that most think about when asking if sports—really, the violence of sports—cause violence in youth.

The other main problem that experts face when working in sport psychology is giving the term ‘aggression’ a definition. Aggression, like other abstract terms, is hard to identify and actually has many different definitions in the academic world. For instance, a volleyball player, although aggressively trying to win a point, would usually not be considered as aggressive as a football player or even a soccer player. Aggression is dynamic, because it is used for the benefit of the player but could, if unchecked, hinder the player’s progress resulting in penalties. Many experts, Seefeldt and Ewin included, would argue that sports actually teach youth how to channel their aggressive energy. Still, some are not convinced and would argue that playing sports actually teaches youth athletes to be violent.

So, the verdict is… inconclusive. It seems that sport psychology is as difficult to generalize as regular psychology. Really, each individual sports player is different and handles emotions differently.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/psychology-articles/the-psychological-effects-of-youth-sports-4824537.html

About the Author

Helping Psychology is your guide to learning more about the Psychology profession and the opportunities that are available in this dynamic discipline sponsored by Argosy University.

Are you interested in sport psychology? Visit here.

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The Meaning of Meaning

Author: Mike Lally

Whether we are aware of it or not, we constantly look for meaning in everything we do. Of course, linguistically this makes the word “because” very powerful. If a reason is provided for a request, however inconvenient or unpleasant, it makes the request more difficult to turn down. We want to do things that are familiar and the brain conveniently and seemingly independently “fires” neurons of certainty to keep us comfortable and happy. This constant activity can make changing any situation where we feel limited or unresourceful difficult to alter. We become stuck and feel powerless to adapt.

What can be done to make change more accessible and transformation more possible? First of all we can reflect on the meaning we give to many things that we are subjected to. Strangely enough, it is amazing how simple it is to reframe any meaning we attach to something if we are prepared to make the effort. Once we understand that the brain is eager to keep us in a state of homeostasis it becomes easier to stop and reflect on alternative thinking. We have to challenge ourselves and let the unconscious know we want to think differently. This act uses innate creativity and is strengthened by using both hemispheres of the brain.

When we experience an event, we can develop a habit of stopping, reflecting and thinking: What is happening here? What else could this mean? Often we will never really know what the actual situation means, but thinking this way will allow us to broaden the way we habitually respond to a given situation. It is useful to consider that the information is just that…information, and data is open to interpretation and often ambiguous in nature. Let’s face it, data can mean just about anything!

However, interpretation of the data will determine the action that will be taken and often we simply respond habitually and fail to contemplate that there may be a better way to think about the situation. Once habitual reframing takes place it can lead to making more informed and creative decision making.

Now, what is wrong with certainty, you may ask. It’s worked well for me and why should I start to become something I’m not? Well, there is a trap in thinking along conventional, habitual lines. Does your thinking derive the benefits you ideally want? Do you make meaning in the most effective manner? Does your “certainty” get the outcomes you desire? This is where the “thinker and prover” is demonstrated, often to our cost. We busily make sure that everything that happens proves what we think it means. Confirmation is a lightning fast response to what we perceive to be true. But is it? Even when the evidence is sketchy it is amazing how we can adjust it to fit our model of the world.

Thinking differently, even fearlessly, can have a profound effect upon the quality of life. It can open up the possibilities and prevent you from overlooking potential opportunities. If you have been guilty of believing you cannot do something, how uplifting could it be to believe it may be possible? Challenging, but possible. Why saddle yourself with these self-imposed limitations?

Keep in mind that meaning is just interpreted data. Then think about the data in as many ways as you can. Consider the situation in VAK terms – what else could the sights sounds and feelings represent? Throw in smells and tastes if appropriate. Open up your internal dialogue and ask yourself: What else could this mean? There’s no need to restrict yourself; just as the question and wait for the fireworks from your creative juices to do its thing. You can create any meaning you wish and you can decide this is preferable to remaining stuck with no options. Get into this habit and don’t be surprised if opportunities begin to become more accessible.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/psychology-articles/the-meaning-of-meaning-4995415.html

About the Author

Mike is one of Australia’s finest Neuro-Linguistic Programming trainers. He is a sought-after executive coach, speaker and workshop presenter. He is a leading source of NLP, influence, hypnosis, body language and emotional intelligence skills. He has worked as an Information Technology Manager, an Investment Administration Manager and a National Client Services Manager.

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