Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Perception and Utilization of Sport Psychology Services among Athletes of Tertiary Institutions in Lagos State of Nigeria

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Perception and Utilization of Sport Psychology Services among Athletes of Tertiary Institutions in Lagos State of Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study sought to investigate how athletes of tertiary institutions in Lagos state perceived sport psychologist and the levels at which their service is utilized, thereby drawing the attention of tertiary institution authorities and other stakeholders to the usefulness and importance of sports psychologist in the attainment of optimal performance in sport and also to help them attain their aims of winning in any competition using sport psychology principles. The sample used for this study was two hundred and ten (n-210) athletes selected from six federal and state tertiary institutions in Lagos state of Nigeria which included University of Lagos Akoka, Lagos State University Ojo, Yaba College of Education Yaba, Federal College of Education Akoka, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education Ijanikin, and Lagos State Polytechnic. The descriptive survey design was used and the respondents were selected using purposive sampling technique. Perception and Utilization of Sport Psychology Service Questionnaire (PUSPSQ) was used to elicit opinion from respondents. The test retest reliability value obtained for the instrument using Pearson Product Moment Correlation Co-efficient was 0.86. Data was analysed using frequency counts and percentage for demographic data while Chi-square was employed in determining the level of significance between the hypothesized and observed values at .05 alpha level. The result of the findings revealed that athletes did not know whom a sports psychologist is leading to the lack of employment opportunity for the sport psychologists in Nigeria.

Keywords: perception, utilization, sport psychology, tertiary institutions.

INTRODUCTION

One of the major contributory factor to excellent in sports performance is psychology. Sport psychology is the branch of sciences involving science of psychology applied to sportsmen/women in athletic situations (Gould, 2008). The sports psychologists endeavour to assist in stabilizing the emotion of the athletes so that inspite of all the problems associated with competition they are still able to cope and perform well through psyching processes. With the expansion of opportunities for athletes in the developing world of sports, many athletes have expanded their search for ways to enhance their performance. This means not only working to maximize physical skills, but also striving to master mental skills so that optimal performances can result.

Many athletes would agree that optimal sports performance involves just as much, if not more, of a mental component than a physical one. Furthermore, it is often the case that when two athletes or two teams of athletes with similar physical abilities match up against one another, the deciding factor in who comes out victorious may depend on who is stronger mentally. Hence, the job of sport psychologists may be important to many athletes, as it is these professionals who are specifically trained to work with athletes on developing the mental skills necessary for improved performances.

While some athletes view sport as a business, others may participate in sport for the sheer enjoyment, for health reasons, to be a part of something, or to improve their personal development. Athletes who have these motivations for engaging in sport may also be interested in working with sport psychologists, as they may wish to maximize their human potential in sport and in life. Although there is an increasing demand for sport psychology services, it is still evident that many sport practitioners (i.e. athletes, coaches) view sport psychology skeptically (Wrisberg & Martin, 1994). Because sport psychologists are in a "helping profession," some contend that stigmas may be attached to anyone who seeks their assistance. For example, Ravizza (2008) suggests that a "shrink" image is connected with some athletes' perceptions of sport psychology and that because of such an image, athletes may hesitate to seek their services. …

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