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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Rebecca Anne Zakrajsek, Ph.D., Sport Psychology(University of Tennessee at Knoxville)
Description: This examination of the broad spectrum of research and practice in the psychology of performance excellence is organized into six parts that cover the nature and scope of sport and performance psychology; the individual psychological processes in performance; social psychological processes in performance; human development and performance; interventions in sport and performance psychology; and future directions. This is the first volume in the Oxford Library of Psychology series that focuses on this area.
Purpose: The book takes a holistic approach to sport and performance psychology, considering the life of the whole person while maintaining a central focus on performance.
Audience: According to the editor-in-chief, the handbooks in this series are meant to serve a diverse audience, such as graduate students, faculty mentors, scholars, researchers, and practitioners in psychology and related fields. This handbook is intended as a reference for psychologists, coaches, and students interested in the science of performance excellence, and it would be useful for sport and performance psychology practitioners, scholars, faculty mentors, and graduate students.
Features: This is a comprehensive review and evaluation of past and present scholarship and practice related to the psychology of excellent performance. The first part presents an overview of a broad spectrum of performance psychology issues studied today (e.g., history, ethical issues, superior performance intelligence). Part two discusses individual difference variables and their relationship with performance (e.g., attention, imagery, perfectionism). The chapters in part three highlight performance in groups, teams, relationships, and cultures (e.g., teamwork, coaching, moral behavior, gender, cultural issues) and are followed by chapters in part four that focus on human performance from a developmental perspective (e.g., expertise, talent development, and training). Chapters in part five review interventions and real issues faced by sport and performance consultants (e.g., appearance, injuries, burnout). Lastly, part six consists of one chapter in which three distinguished sport and performance consultants engage in thought-provoking discussions about the future of sport and performance psychology. Perhaps one of the best aspects of this book is its holistic approach to sport and performance psychology — maintaining performance as the central focus while considering the needs of the individual. Dan Gould and E. Missy Wright provide a particularly comprehensive review of the past and current research and practice in the psychology of coaching as well as detailed suggestions related to future scholarship. One unique chapter details superior performance intelligence, a new theoretical concept used to help understand sustained performance success; another presents a discussion of the psychology of pain and performance. The editor identifies a chapter exploring good practices of the "performance coach" as the most challenging assignment in the book.
Assessment: This is a useful resource on key issues and insights in sport and performance psychology. As the first volume in the series to examine research and practice related to the psychology of excellent performance, this book is a unique contribution to the field. Domains such as dance, music, theater, business, executive coaching, the military, and education are discussed in the context of psychology of performance excellence. Because of the breadth and depth of its information, this book is most suitable for graduate students, researchers, and practitioners in sport and performance psychology.