Applying Critical and Creative Thinking Sports Psychology and Motivation

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

John R. Murray


Most research has contended that athletic performance can be directly influenced by the type of psychological and motivational approach used. However, it is evident that many coaches do not truly understand the meaning of motivation or its influence on performance. Throughout this thesis, we will take an in-depth view of what sports psychology and motivation both mean, as well as factors that may influence them in a productive manner. Applying critical and creative thinking concepts to sports psychology and motivation seems to assist in providing a better understanding not only as to what they actually are, but also as to how the integration process leads to a more positive approach to educating, evaluating and understanding athletic behavior. The end result, of course, is a heightened level of performance on the part of the individual as a result of the manifestation process. This thesis takes a close look first at critical and creative thinking before focusing on sports psychology and motivation. As will be displayed, there does exist an overlap of concepts, strategies, and components of the two areas which further supports the benefits of applying CCT to sports psychology and motivation. Once the two areas of study have been reviewed, the thesis will look to integrate them in such a way to encourage ongoing positive interaction and communication (oral and written) between coaches and athletes. The instrument that is developed provides an opportunity for coaches to evaluate motivation and self-confidence levels in athletes, as athletes are asked to also evaluate themselves. It allows coaches to become familiar with the true meaning of motivation, and it insures that coaches are able to recognize and address unproductive motivational behavior. In summary, this thesis will support the need to use CCT to best understand sports psychology and motivation. The instrument provides an example of how this can be done, with the end result not only being a more positive athlete and atmosphere but also improved athletic performance.


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