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Sport psychology

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Sydney fans had much to celebrate after beating Hawthorn in the 2012 AFL Grand at the MCG in Melbourne.Can the Swans do it again this year? AAP Image/Joe Castro

Who will be the weakest link on AFL Grand Final day?

Hawthorn has recovered after a rough patch this season, with key players shaking off injuries and its tenacious coach returning after a health scare. So why have the Hawks earned their spot on Saturday’s…
After a nine-match winning streak, Richmond lost to Port Adelaide by 57 points in last week’s elimination final. AAP/David Mariuz

How finals fever can make a footy player better – or worse

The AFL final series – with the semi-finals starting today – is one of the most ferocious and toughest contests we will see in Australian sport. Behind the scenes, there is no doubt a fair percentage of…
We’ll do better next time. Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

Don’t blame England World Cup failures on inexperience

England’s footballers have had their worst ever start to a World Cup – and, bar a miracle, face an early exit. So begins the inevitable search to understand the cause of this calamity. The squad’s inexperience…
Even if you’re not this enamoured with football, here’s some insight into the players' minds. Moazzam Brohi/Flickr

Mind games: a World Cup guide for armchair psychologists

Fan or foe, chances are over the next four weeks you’ll catch at least parts of World Cup matches, whether through bleary eyes in the wee hours or snippets on the evening news. If you’re unfamiliar with…
It’s natural for athletes to experience some anxiety in the lead up to an event, but sports psychology can prevent it affecting their performance. porschelinn/Flickr

Chill out, cool down … athlete anxiety at the Winter Games

Whether an athlete is competing at the Olympics or Paralympics, anxiety management is one of the most common psychological issues experienced. Anxiety is an unpleasant emotion with distinctive features…
Jana Pittman, an accomplished summer Olympian, will compete in the bobsleigh event this week in Sochi. AAP/Dean Lewins

Switching sports: Jana Pittman’s psychological hurdles

Jana Pittman has always been fast on the athletics track, but now she has the opportunity to display not only her speed, but her strength and versatility, when she becomes “the muscle at the back” of a…
That’ll be 42 broken bones and still skiiing. Mike Egerton/PA

The fear factor: coping with anxiety at altitude

The nature of competitive sport involves athletes putting themselves in high-pressure situations in which they are being constantly appraised, and Sochi is no different. So it is unsurprising that the…
Brendan Fevola was followed by controversy throughout his AFL career: would a ‘person formation’ focus in team sport culture have helped him? AAP/Dave Hunt

‘Culture’ in team sport: corporate speak or vital for success?

The inventive English journalist Dave Hill (who is as comfortable writing about politics and culture as he is about sport) published a book, Out of His Skin, in 1989 dealing with - among other things…
Questions have arisen over the cause of Victoria Azarenka’s extended break during her semi-final match. AAP/Joe Castro

Panic stations: Azarenka’s ‘extended break’ and the science of choking

A controversial extended medical break taken by tennis world number one Victoria Azarenka after losing five match points in her match against Sloane Stephens has raised the issue of “choking” in sport…
One does not simply jump from a building … extensive preparation is essential. Channel 7/Colby Swandale

BASE jumping from the Rialto: plain stupid or something else entirely?

Late last week four men entered a restaurant on the 55th floor of the Rialto tower in Melbourne, had a couple of quiet drinks then leapt from the balcony. Much of the commentary of this event described…

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