The Psychology of Concentration in Sport Performers: A Cognitive Analysis

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9780863774447: The Psychology of Concentration in Sport Performers: A Cognitive Analysis
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First published in 1996. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

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The capacity to "concentrate" effectively, or to exert mental effort on the specific task at hand while ignoring distractions, is widely regarded by athletes, coaches and psychologists as the key to successful performance in competitive sport. But what exactly is "concentration"? Why do athletes often "lose" it, paradoxically, at the very time they need it most? Can it be measured? Furthermore, how successful are the various psychological techniques (e.g. "visualisation" or mental practice) which are alleged to enhance concentration? Unfortunately, until now, these questions have remained largely unanswered due to such problems as the atheoretical nature of research in sport psychology and the reluctance of cognitive psychologists to explore how the mind works under the real-life pressures and distractions that are commonly encountered in sport. Therefore, this monograph fills a gap in the field by exploring the attentional processes of athletes through a theoretical framework derived from contemporary cognitive psychology. Using a wealth of sporting examples, the author, who is Official Psychologist to the Irish Olympic Squad, argues convincingly that research on the "mental side" of athletic performance offers exciting possibilities for increased collaboration between sport psychology and cognitive science (e.g. with regard to such topics as meta-attention, expertise and the study of emotional influences on skilled performance).

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Aidan Moran has produced an outstanding resource on concentration and sport performance. Moran's clear writing style manages to combine the detail and precision necessary for a scientific work with the accessibility of a professional guidebook. This text is designed to be a standard on the bookshelf of any serious student, academic, or practitioner interested in concentration and human performance. The Psychology of Concentration in Sport Performers will likely stand as a primary resource to researchers and practitioners for years to come. It could be used as a graduate level text. Even more so, it is a valuable reference book for any psychologist or educated professional concerned with the process of concentration in human performance. - J. P. Simons, Victoria University Melbourne, Australia in The International Journal of Sport Psychology

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