Although Sports Psychology is still relatively new, a tremendous amount of interest has been generated by the potential of psychological principles to enhance athletic performance. In particular, the tenets of cognitive-behavioral theory, my particular field, has led to more effective clinical techniques which have been appealing to sport psychology consultants. As a result, psychological methods were implemented to enhance performance prior to solid research support. However, recent reviews of studies conducted in the last twenty years have shown psychological methods to be useful in the area of sports performance enhancement (Greenspan and Feltz, 1989; Weinberg and Comar, 1994).
Much of the research in this area has focused on individual sports or individual skills for team sports as that allows for better experimental designs. As the research base has grown, it has become possible to select particular sports, especially those that are individually based, and examine the literature for the factors that influence performance. A number of studies have specifically focused on enhancing performance in the martial arts, as the martial arts are conducive to empirical study, given their nature and the reasons that individuals participate in the martial arts. Columbus and Rice (1998) examined written descriptions of reasons individuals participate in martial arts and found four themes: 1) criminal victimization; 2) growth and discovery including challenging self mentally, physically, or spiritually, and facing fears; 3) life transition and wanting to get life in control; and 4) task performance and seeing martial arts achievement as contributing to achieving in other life situations and tasks. Several of these themes involve a desire for life enhancement, likely due to the view of the martial arts as a way of life rather than simply a sport. Many of the mental skill strategies used in sports psychology have been found to be effective in achieving peak performance throughout life’s experiences (Orlick, 2000).
|Number Of Pages||58|