Emotions in sports are orchestrated, with a diffuse emotional state guiding players’ and fans’ behavior. Elite athletes internalize the scripts given to them by coaches, while media pundits prompt fan emotions and shape the atmosphere of the game. In some cases, these emotional processes even forge a connection between sports and national identity. But how do these emotions work? What are the key components of the process? What are the most important considerations in sports psychology?
First, let us look at what makes a sport a “sport”. There are numerous types of sports, including basketball, baseball, football, rugby, and cricket. Several of them require a high level of physical fitness. Besides physical fitness, sport can also improve a person’s confidence and self-esteem. Whether an athlete is a professional or amateur, he will develop his or her skills as a result of playing the sport.
Ancient cultures, such as the Chinese and the Aztecs, participated in ball games. Interestingly, archery matches were staged with much fanfare. During the games, the archery companies marched behind their patron saints. While the sport of archery was generally a religious ritual, lower-class people also played other forms of the game. These rituals often included grand feasts, and drunkenness was a norm. In the second century ce, Greek physician Galen even recommended that children engage in ball games, claiming that it is good for their health.
Apart from reducing risk of various diseases, sports provide an environment for a healthy lifestyle and physical activity. The social benefits of sports are particularly important, especially for young girls. Girls tend to have lower self-esteem than boys and many believe that their body only serves as a tool for attracting boys. In fact, statistics compiled by the Women’s Sports Foundation show that physical activity and participation in sports has significant benefits on young girls’ mental health. Girls who take part in school athletics are more likely to be less prone to drugs, pregnant and three times more likely to graduate from college, compared to girls who don’t play sports.