Document Type


Publication Date


First Advisor

Gary Senecal




The majority of research in the field of sports psychology focuses on quantifiable, evidence-based, universally applicable theory. Current evidence-based programs of intervention are heavily based on symptomatology and often ignore the lived experiences of athletes; an unspoken assumption seems to exist that events, dialogue, and emotions will elicit identical responses from all athletes. Many clinicians find a large portion of their work focused on the subfields of mental imagery, motivation, emotions, and teamwork. Each topic has a dominating theory, which is typically derived from the concepts of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. While CBT certainly has its benefits, its shortcomings are evident in cases where the disposition and actions of athletes deviate from expectation. An extensive literature review can provide background on the aforementioned subfields, which allows for further development of theory that emphasizes the individuality of the athlete. The goal of this paper is to analyze the existing literature and reframe prevailing thought through an existential, phenomenological perspective. Through this research, it is hoped that a viable alternative to existing theory will be provided and a methodology will be developed that can enhance the field of sports psychology in education, research, and clinical application.


Faculty-sponsored research



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