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

Money, Pride, and Injury Risks in Youth Sports

There are too many people focused on making money off of youth sports in the United States, while putting the health and other interests of young athletes at risk.
pixabay, via pexels

How to Win at Sports

Can changing internal temperature make muscles stronger? Can biological clocks make you more fit?

Put Your Own Spin on It

Have you ever wondered just how far to push your body while exercising? Is pain really good for your psyche?
CCO Creative Commons

5 Keys to Making Mental Training like Your Sports Training

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on June 20, 2017 in The Power of Prime
Despite athletes and coaches saying that the mind is so important, it is the piece of the athletic performance puzzle that is most neglected.

Playing to Win: Should Youth Specialize in Sports?

Data show that more youth than ever train year-round for a single sport and travel to compete against higher-level teams. But is this good for kids?

When Coaching, Not Talent, Wins

By Steven Berglas Ph.D. on June 13, 2017 in Executive Ego
The Warriors' win holds lessons for every executive, basketball fan or not.

Dog Obedience Trials Began Because of Poodles and a Farmer

A woman's desire to prove that Poodles were not stupid useless dogs ultimately gave birth to modern dog obedience trials

6 Ways Public Swimming Pools Have Changed

Gone are the unadorned rectangular pools of yesteryear. Now, public pools are full-fledged aquatic complexes that proffer an immersive experience.

Great Performers Are Born AND Made

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on June 07, 2017 in The Power of Prime
Different pursuits have specific neurological, physiological, and musculoskeletal requirements and if you're not born with those, all of the training in the world won't help.

Psychology of Peak Performance, Continued

By David Dillard-Wright Ph.D. on June 02, 2017 in Boundless
Endurance athletes teach lessons about mental toughness for everyone.

Wonder Woman in the Ring: MMA Fighter Sarah Kaufman

By E. Paul Zehr Ph.D. on May 31, 2017 in Black Belt Brain
Mixed martial arts fighter Sarah Kaufman shares thoughts on life in the ring and the importance of role models like Wonder Woman.

The Psychophysiology of Flow and Your Vagus Nerve

New research offers fresh clues about the psychology and physiological components that come together to create what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi famously describes as a state "flow."

How Our Body Ages, Part 2

Our heart, lungs, liver and gastrointestinal tract change as we age in ways that may surprise you.

Grit, Talent, and Character

Talent and grit combine to influence individual performance, but for teams performing under high-stakes, high-stress conditions, other character attributes are necessary additions.

Gutsy Third Person Self-Talk Utilizes Your Vagus Nerve

Excessive first person "self-talk" can increase egocentric bias. That said, using "non-first-person" pronouns and your own name has been found to promote healthy self-distancing.

Tonic Levels of Physical Activity Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve

Moderate physical activity is a guaranteed way to engage your vagus nerve and create a "relaxation response" that counters the panic and anxiety of fight-or-flight responses.

Fair Contests Vs. "Fair" (Even) Outcomes

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 17, 2017 in Ambigamy
GOP antics teach key lessons about what fairness really means.

When Discipline Worsens Performance in Competitive Sports

Harsh parenting behaviour burdens the child, hindering performance.

The 80% Edge

We may want to perform at our best, but at times illness, injury, or life events conspire to limit what we can truly expect of ourselves.How then can we maximize our performance?

Psychology of Peak Performance

If you are looking for a competitive edge or trying to find more interest in life, these stories from around the web will get your juices flowing.

Exercise Researchers Find "More Is Better" Mindset Overrated

A new study reports that you don't have to spend hours at the gym—or even break a sweat—to reap psychological benefits from small doses of low intensity, easy physical activity.

Be True to Your School(s)

Sports team loyalties are similar to cultural identities. Sometimes you have more than one.

More Than Just a Pretty Face: Unmasking Furry Fandom

Recent research debunks common misconception of the furry community as a bunch of sexual "deviants" or misfits.

The Autism-Genius Connection

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on May 11, 2017 in The Human Beast
Some people are exceptionally good at focusing on rarefied abstract problems. Some of these have exceptionally high IQ. Some are autistic. Some are both.

How to Reach Higher Goals by Lowering Your Expectations

By Reid Wilson Ph.D. on May 10, 2017 in All about Anxiety
Paul Hamm had been training for this specific competition for a decade; he was on the road to a gold medal. And after his fall, the way he gets back up is inspirational.

Getting Lost in the Dance

We would all likely to experience FLOW on a more regular basis. A few easy ideas may help.

Superfluidity and the Transcendent Ecstasy of Extreme Sports

A trailblazing new study identifies some common themes that motivate people to push against their limits while transcending everyday states of consciousness through extreme sports.

Promotion and Relegation for Soccer in the USA

The United States should play the world's game the world's way. We need promotion and relegation to truly compete with the world's best at the beautiful game.

Between a Molehill and Mount Everest

Recent studies confirm that in matters of personal motivation and satisfaction, it’s not whether you win or lose; it's how hard you have to play the game.

Dual-Income Couples

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on May 07, 2017 in How To Do Life
Competition, dividing chores, long-distance relationships, time for each other.