Research has long shown that physical performance is not solely rooted in such factors as muscle development and physical training; instead, other factors, such as personality and motivation also play a role. Because of these variables, the field of sport psychology exists to understand the elements of physical performance that reach beyond the physiological realm. The study of sport psychology is a two-way street: it considers the role that psychological factors play in athletic performance, but it also considers the impact that athletic performance can have on psychology.
One of the most important fields of study of sport psychology is that of personality. Athletes who excel in their field often share a number of similar traits, including mental toughness, motivation, and self-confidence. Understanding these shared traits can help in the creation of programs to support athletes as they strive for personal and professional greatness. Sport psychology also focuses on young athletes; by understanding the psychological and cognitive effects that youth sports can have, particularly those with far-reaching physical implications, changes can be made to improve safety and performance. Finally, sport psychology also works to improve coaching tactics. When athletic leaders understand the psychology of their athletes, they can incorporate training protocols and motivational techniques that can be more effective. This can produce better performance results and a more positive experience for all those involved in athletics, no matter what the level.