Advanced Sport and Exercise Psychology

Science & Technology
Sport Science
Course Code
SPSC 4231
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
The course provides an in-depth and advanced exploration of the field of sport and exercise psychology. It situates sport and exercise behaviours and experiences within developmental, psychological, psychosocial, social-cultural, and environmental contexts. A main focus throughout the course will be the application of theories and research to practical settings and situations within sport and exercise. Students will be asked to consider course topics from multiple perspectives and demonstrate a critical awareness and understanding of issues related to diversity in sport. Students will also demonstrate their ability to devise and conduct a mental training program in sport and exercise psychology and evaluate its effectiveness.
Course Content

1. Mental Training Programs

1.1 Interventions and Strategies

1.1.1 Goal setting types
1.1.2 Assessment strategies
1.1.3 Best practices
1.1.4 Imagery
1.1.5 Self-talk
1.1.6 Arousal regulation
1.1.7 Attentional control

1.2 Conceptual Frameworks of Mental Excellence

1.3 Program Planning and Delivery

1.3.1 Assessment and objectives
1.3.2 Design
1.3.3 Delivery
1.3.4 Debriefing
1.3.5 Monitoring and evaluation

1.4 Season and Annual Planning

1.4.1 Focus plans 
1.4.2 Periodization of mental skills training

1.5 Personal Mental Training Program Development

1.6 Working With Teams

1.6.1 Developing team norms and culture
1.6.2 Team communication
1.6.3 Team cohesion and team building
1.6.4 Team dynamics
1.6.5 Role of the coach

2. Developmental Sport and Exercise Psychology

2.1 Self-Esteem, Self-Concept and Physical Activity

2.1.1 Theoretical aspects
2.1.2 Research on the development of self-perceptions 
2.1.3 Factors and strategies influencing self-perceptions
2.1.4 Psychological skills training and children
2.1.5 Implications for best practices

2.2 Developmental Model of Youth Sport

2.2.1 Theoretical aspects
2.2.2 Research on development and expertise in sport
2.2.3 Factors and strategies influencing psychological development
2.2.4 Implications for best practices

2.3 Environmental Influences on Development

2.3.1 Motivational climates

2.3.2 Self Determination Theory (SDT) in sport and physical activity

2.3.3 Parents in sport and physical activity

2.3.4 Peers

3. Advanced / Contemporary Topics in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Instructors will generally be free to choose the topics they think will most engage students, usually from the following list:  

  • Mental health and wellness in athletes, coaches, referees, and others sport staff
  • Psychology of injury and rehabilitation 
  • Psychology of recovery and regeneration
  • Overtraining and burnout in sport
  • Career transitions in sport
  • Violence and aggression in sport
  • Moral development through sport 
  • Preparing mentally for major competitions (e.g., Olympics/Paralympics/Worlds)
  • Coaching psychology
  • Coach-athlete relationship(s)
  • Power imbalances in sport 
  • Development of expertise in sport
  • Clinical issues in sport and exercise psychology 
  • Aging and involvement in sport and physical activity (masters athletes)
  • Personality in sport and exercise psychology
  • Indigenous experiences in sport and physical activity
  • LGBTQ experiences in sport and physical activity
  • Gender, physical, and racial diversity in sport and physical activity
  • Gender and cultural considerations in sport and exercise psychology
  • OTHER -topics that may be current, relevant, and/or of personal interest/expertise 
Learning Activities
2. Discussion groups
3. Practical applications
4. Field observation and/or video observation
5. Self-study via print or online materials
6. Reading assignments
7. Online discussion groups
8. Instructor tutoring
  • Lecture
  • Collaboration and discussion groups
  • Practical application and case analysis
  • Field observation and/or video observation
  • Self-study via print or online materials
  • Reading assignments
  • Online discussion groups
  • Instructor mentoring
Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. Evaluation will be based on the following:

Mental Skills Training Program 20-30%
Advanced Topics Presentation 20-30%
Mental Skills - Student Led Workshops  15-30%
Reading Questions and/or Assignments 10-30%
Participation 0-10%
Total 100%
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the successful student will be able to:

  1. Investigate psychological skills training programs within sport and exercise settings.
  2. Design, deliver, and evaluate a personal sport/exercise mental training program.
  3. Identify the role of development as it relates to sport and exercise psychology behaviours and experiences.
  4. Explain how psychological, psychosocial, cultural, and contextual factors influence enjoyment, engagement, and performance in sport and exercise.
  5. Apply psychosocial skills interventions as a coach, teacher, and exercise leader.
  6. Identify the role of theories, conceptual frameworks, and research in sport and exercise psychology and related professions.
Textbook Materials
Will be decided by course instructors. Potential resources include:
Course Pack with readings from journal articles, and relevant book chapters.

Consult the Douglas College Bookstore for the latest required textbooks and materials. A list of recommended textbooks and materials is provided on the instructor's course outline which is available to students at the beginning of each semester. 

Example text books may include:

Advances in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Horn, T.S., Smith, A.L. (current edition). Human Kinetics Publishers.



60 credits, including SPSC 1164 and SPSC 2231


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for SPSC 4231
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV KIN 266 (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023