The Importance of Sports

Sports are more than just fun and games. From schoolyard chants to Super Bowl championships, playful competition finds its way into nearly all aspects of culture. Fighting to win draws on cooperation, concentration, coordination, and creativity—things worth striving for in their own right.

Here we offer commentary on why we care who wins, what drives us to go for the goal, and what leads to greatness on the playing field, on the chess board, or in the office. On your marks!

Recent posts on Sport and Competition

MLK and Michael Phelps: What's the Recipe for Success?

By Paula L. White M.A. on January 16, 2018 in Shape Parenting
No matter the field—academics, athletics, the arts or activism—some children in varied pursuits grow up to be adults who excel. Here's how parents help to make that happen.
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Become a Sports Emotional Master

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on January 16, 2018 in The Power of Prime
When you compete in your sport, how do you react when you experience frustration, anger, and disappointment? Do you beat yourself up, lash out at others, or just give up?
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Why Pro Sports Make Us Cry

By Steve Albrecht DBA on January 15, 2018 in The Act of Violence
Watching your football team lose can bring anger and tears.
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In Sports, Giving Up Means Giving Up on Yourself

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on January 14, 2018 in The Power of Prime
The pet peeve that gets me the most is when, in practice or competition, athletes give up at the smallest mistake or failure. When they do, they automatically lose.

Just Because It Seems Accurate, Doesn’t Make It True

By Michael Bar-Eli, Ph.D. on January 09, 2018 in Boost!
A problematic relationship continues to persist in psychology between hypothetical constructs and operational definitions.

Football Fans, Political Partisans, and Evolutionary Forces

By Gregg R. Murray Ph.D. on January 07, 2018 in Caveman Politics
Football fans and political partisans may be motivated by the same forces that motivated humans' ancestors.

Combating Sexual Abuse in Youth Sports

Children of all races, ethnicities, cultures, and economic backgrounds are vulnerable to sexual abuse.

The Obvious Which, Ignored, Makes Anyone a Jerk

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on January 05, 2018 in Ambigamy
Don't want to be a jerk? Remember that winning and being right are not the same thing.

Putting the Antic in Anticipation

By Scott G. Eberle Ph.D. on January 05, 2018 in Play in Mind
To anticipate being at play is already to be in play.
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7 Key Messages to Send to Your Young Athletes

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on January 04, 2018 in The Power of Prime
Your goal is to send these seven essential messages to your children early and often so that the messages become the healthy foundation for their athletic lives.
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How Strong Values Sustain a Team's Performance

By Michael D. Matthews Ph.D. on January 04, 2018 in Head Strong
High performing organizations maintain excellence despite personnel churn, while others fail. What makes the difference?

Anti-Perfectionism Anthems Can Silence Your Inner Critic

By Christopher Bergland on January 04, 2018 in The Athlete's Way
Is perfectionism taking a psychological toll on your mental health? Listening to songs that unapologetically embrace imperfections helped me to challenge my own perfectionism.

Is the Perfectionism Plague Taking a Psychological Toll?

By Christopher Bergland on January 03, 2018 in The Athlete's Way
Every generation of young adults from 1989 to 2016 has felt increased pressure to be perfect, according to a new study.

Be Quick, But Not in a Hurry

By E. Paul Zehr Ph.D. on January 01, 2018 in Black Belt Brain
This is a quick read about life is definitely as a journey, not a destination. It's important to take the time needed to slow down and be mindful in motion.

Nutritional Therapies for Traumatic Brain Injury

By Gary L. Wenk Ph.D. on December 22, 2017 in Your Brain on Food
Interventional studies with natural anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories via the diet are becoming attractive options for patients with traumatic brain injury.

The Strength of Local Public Schools

A local school board suspends educators and a community bands together.

Flip the Script: Turning Naysayer Scorn Into Yeasayer Mojo

By Christopher Bergland on December 21, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
"Tell me I can't, then watch me work twice as hard to prove you wrong." This quotation sums up one way to flip the script and turn a naysayer's doubt into a source of motivation.

Break the Chain of Frustration

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on December 15, 2017 in The Power of Prime
Frustration is typically defined an emotional reaction that arises when the path toward a goal is blocked and can’t be readily cleared.

What to Say to Your Young Athletes Before and After Games

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on December 12, 2017 in The Power of Prime
Nothing you can say to your kids will make them play better. But, unfortunately, you do have the ability to ensure that they don’t play well with what you say to them.

Dispelling the Nothing

By Michael Bar-Eli, Ph.D. on December 12, 2017 in Boost!
Imagery techniques should consistently be used during downtime to enhance our performance of daily tasks.

Are We Taking Concussions Too Seriously?

By Harry Kerasidis M.D. on December 11, 2017 in Brain Trauma
Taking "a hard hit" is a sign of toughness. But is pulling yourself out of action still seen as "weakness?" Dr. Harry Kerasidis explains why concussions deserve our attention.

The First Domestication: How Wolves and Humans Coevolved

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 11, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A new book argues that cooperation rather than competition between humans and wolves was important in wolves becoming dogs. The dumpster scavenging belief is dealt a serious blow.

Johns Hopkins Brain Maps Show Why It Can Be So Hard to Stop

By Christopher Bergland on December 07, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
Neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins University have identified why it's so hard to "Stop!" once your brain has given your body the green light to "go."

What You Should Do for Yourself as a Sport Parent

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on December 07, 2017 in The Power of Prime
What you think, feel, and do as an active participant in your children’s athletic lives influences how much they enjoy their sports and how well they perform.
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You Can Love Your Country and Still Take a Knee

We are more divided than ever. The controversy over "taking a knee" and honoring our country reflects how we confuse signs and symbols. Here's a better way to think about it.

Create Your Ideal Sports Training and Competitive Focus

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on November 30, 2017 in The Power of Prime
Focus is so important to athletic success because you if you’re not focused, you have little chance of doing the things that will enable you to perform your best.

It Ain't About How Hard You Hit

By Elena Blanco-Suarez Ph.D. on November 30, 2017 in Brain Chemistry
What is going on in the brain when a fighter gets punched or kicked in the head? Ex-UFC fighter Shannon Gugerty talks about his own experience.
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Teach Your Young Athletes Healthy Sports Values: Part II

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on November 27, 2017 in The Power of Prime
The valuable messages you send to your kids as they immerse themselves in sports contribute significantly to the values that will shape who they become and the lives they lead.
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Is Gossip the Key to Finding Love?

By Jen Kim on November 27, 2017 in Valley Girl With a Brain
When it comes to intrasexual competition, researchers have found, the weapon of choice for women is something that comes effortlessly: gossip.

Dr. Bob

Dr. Robert Goldman has taken goal setting and achievement to a new level. His list of firsts will leave you in awe.