The importance of sport psychology in school sport
The primary aim of this investigation was to determine whether the application of Sport Psychology in the coaching of school sport is a necessity or a luxury. The study revealed that school athletes desire further information about Sport Psychology and want the services to be more available. Teacher coaches need some form of formal training in Sport Psychology to enable them to execute their coaching task effectively. For example, they need to be aware of the psychological importance of the development of values associated with sport, the prevention of burnout in a young athlete, how to deal with aggression in sport, the effect of motivation in sport on academic performance, the fundamental cause of anxiety in sport, the fact that female athletes are likely to be relatively more comfortable with male authority figures as coaches, etcetera. The empirical research revealed that discrepancies exist between the perceptions of teacher coaches themselves, of boys and girls, of participants in different sport codes and of coaches and sport pupils in general, regarding the importance of factors affecting sport participation. Finally, the findings show that teacher coaches and their athletes/players differ significantly in their judgement of the factors contributing to motivation in sport and teacher coaches are not aware of the anxiety their young athletes experience before sports meetings. These findings can mainly be attributed to a lack of knowledge regarding the psychology of the child.
Key words: Teacher coaches, perceptions of coaches and athletes, sport psychology.