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"Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play…it is war minus the shooting."

George Orwell

Sport, Psychology and Christianity

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Brian Hemmings, Nick J Watson and Andrew Parker,Ed., London, Routledge, 2019 ISBN 978-0-8153-4910-5

The book contains 12 chapters which look at aspects of sports psychology from an explicitly Christian perspective

Identity in sport: reflections on welfare, performance and consultancy practice within a Christian worldview - Nick J. Watson

Watson argues that traditional views of identity are “diametrically opposed to a Christian theological perspective of identity as described in the Bible” and then seeks to apply the Christian understanding of identity to the cauldron of competitive sport.

Pursuit of excellence the perils of perfectionism - Richard D. Winter

Winter discusses “the fine line between the pursuit of excellence and the perils of perfectionism” and how even among Christians, one’s view of God can influence how one deals with the tension. He draws on a study of 99 elite athletes in the United States.

The sport psychologist and chaplain supporting welfare - Brian Hemmings and David Chawner

This chapter is written by a sport psychologist and a sports chaplain who have worked together over a period of five years in English professional cricket, examining how the roles complement each other. There is an excellent 3-page section on role of the chaplain in a UK context.

Christian beliefs and behaviours as health protective, resilience, and intervention factors in the context of sports injuries - Diane M Wiese-Bjornstal

The chapter discusses how Christian beliefs and behaviours can be contributors to sports injury prevention and health care. The chapter explains how athletes can use internal and external religious resources to cope with stressful life events.

Religion, Spirituality in injury rehabilitation - Damien Clement et al

While there has been some research on understanding psychological responses to injuries the ground-breaking aspect of this chapter is to look at how religion and spirituality can be incorporated into the sport injury rehabilitation process.

Beyond pastoral care: Biblical applications for consulting - Michael J Mosley

“A purpose of the chapter is to recommend an expansion of the sports chaplain’s role in the domain of sport to include spiritual concerns within performance issues, based on Scriptural expertise”. There is also some discussion of the scope for co-operation between chaplains and sport psychologists.

Mind Body soul: a foundational model of performance – Mark Cheney

The chapter discusses how a Christian athlete can manage the tension between the demands of succeeding in their sport and the call of their faith, suggesting that integrating mind, body, and soul is a positive approach.

Sin shame and adverse performance in Christian sports persons - Anthony Maranise

The chapter discusses ways in which Christian sport psychologists can engage helpfully with sportspersons encountering adverse performance as a result of preoccupation with sin.

Catholic perspectives on sports psychology - Mark Nesti

A key focus of this chapter is thatathletes need to be treated as persons, recognizing that sport involves the whole person and that the person and their athletic role are inextricably woven together. Nesti is convinced that that performance and athlete welfare are intimately connected.

Integrating Christian faith into sport psychology consulting - Tevor J Egli and Steven Waller

The authors note that there are very few applied sport psychology models that directly address consulting with Christian athletes. Their purpose is to provide “an additional theoretical framework for sport psychology practitioners to utilize when working with Christian athletes”.

Working with religious and spiritual athletes - Mustafa Saarkar, Denise M Hill and Andrew Parker

Believing that religion and spirituality are important areas to consider within applied sport psychology, the authors suggest that when working with athletes of religious and spiritual persuasion, practitioners should focus on cultural awareness, cultural knowledge and cultural skills.

Sport Psychology and Christianity: The importance of reflective practice - Emma Huntley and Nichola Kentzer

The aim of this chapter is stated as “to present an overview of RP [Reflective practice] And to offer suggestions about how sport psychologists and sports chaplains might use RP as a mechanism for the development of their individual and collective practices”.

While the book is a technical and academic psychology book, it is written at a level that is accessible to the interested reader, who is not a professional psychologist. I found much of interest in it



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