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SPEX304 Sport Psychology

An in-depth examination of the role social psychological variables play in participation and performance in sport. Principles and application of Mental Skills Training to enhance performance are also considered.

SPEX 304 provides the theoretical and empirical evidence that underpins sport psychology practice. The importance of psychological factors in sport is widely recognised by athletes and coaches. This paper will explore, in depth, important psychological concepts that influence participation and performance in sport. It will also explore some of the effects participation in sport has on psychological responses. These psychological concepts will be explored from a theoretical perspective with critical analysis of the sport psychology literature. Specifically, the origins of sport psychology and the research methods used to build the sport psychology evidence base are discussed. Then drawing on this evidence base, the concepts of motivation, anxiety and stress, self-confidence, concentration/attention, mental skills training (MST), and sport-based life skills development will be examined.

Paper title Sport Psychology
Paper code SPEX304
Subject Sport, Physical Education and Exercise
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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PHSE 205 or SPEX 204
PHSE 334, PHSE 534
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science

Suitable for students interested in the psychology of sport, social psychology, sport coaching, physical education, sport and exercise science.


Professor Ken Hodge (

Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator and Lecturer: Professor Ken Hodge

Paper Structure

The paper covers seven topics:

  • Introduction to the origins of sport psychology and research methods employed
  • Motivation for sport
  • The relationship between performance and stress and anxiety
  • Self-confidence
  • Attention and concentration
  • Mental Skills Training (MST)
  • Sport-based lifeskills development
Teaching Arrangements

Tutorial attendance is compulsory.


There is no compulsory textbook. A reading list will be provided, which details the book chapter or research articles that complement each lecture. These readings will be available online and through course reserve in the library.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

On completing the paper students will demonstrate:

  • An in-depth understanding of theory and current research evidence relating to the psychological factors important to participation and performance in sport
  • An in-depth understanding of how the sporting environment influences the psychological outcomes experienced by athletes

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 10:00-10:50 9-14, 16, 18-22
Thursday 10:00-10:50 9-14, 16-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 10, 12, 16, 19, 21
A2 Tuesday 12:00-12:50 10, 12, 16, 19, 21
A3 Wednesday 10:00-10:50 10, 12, 16, 19, 21
A4 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 10, 12, 16, 19, 21
A5 Tuesday 13:00-13:50 10, 12, 16, 19, 21