One on one... with Dan Gould

Specialist in Applied Sport Psychology, Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University. Includes online only answers.

One inspiration
My high school baseball coach. Our teams were just average until he came to the school. He talked a little differently than our other coaches, did things differently like having us wear practice uniforms, set formal goals, and focused on little details. Looking back, he taught me more about the psychology of excellence than anyone else during my formative years.

One book psychologists should read
Good to Great by Jim Collins.

One favourite Olympic memory
Marching with the US team in Opening Ceremonies at the Nagano Winter Olympic Games.

One little known benefit of sport for children
Numerous psychological benefits can be derived from participation but are much more likely to come when sport is facilitated and coached by qualified competent adults. Much of the public, however, assumes just by playing sport automatically leads to a number of psychological benefits.

One context outside of sport that sport psychology can make a significant contribution to
Business – many applications from sport psychology research and practice resonate well there.

One cultural recommendation
Watch the movie Seabiscuit. It conveys a great deal about psychology and the role sport can play in human existence at the personal, social and societal level.

One thing that you would change about psychology

Urge those in the field to try to think more about what we can better do to reach individuals who are not as attracted to psychological ideas as we are.

One regret
In high school I regret not paying more attention in my math classes because I did not see how X or Y could have practical application. Weaknesses in those areas made taking advanced multivariate statistics courses extra hard, although I was able to prevail and learn a great deal.

One thing that organised psychology could do better

Translate research into practical and easily understandable guidelines that less educated and interested people can use.

One challenge you think psychology faces
How to find ways to generate external funding to support research efforts.

One nugget of advice for aspiring psychologists
Recognise that those with whom you work, consult or teach are as much a source of knowledge about psychology as we are. Learn from them and never stop learning from them.

One alternative career path you might have chosen
Becoming a high physical education school teacher and coach.

One great thing that psychology has achieved
Helped us better understand the human condition in all its varied elements.

One problem that psychology should deal with
How to ensure the optimal development of youth, regardless of race, culture and economic condition.

One final thought
Try to find a career or aspect of psychology about which you are passionate. That way, you can work a lifetime without really working!

One hope for the future of psychology

We can determine ways for people to better understand, get along, tolerate and appreciate and respect one another.

One proud moment
Receiving an all-university award for excellence in teaching.

One hero/heroine from psychology past or present
University of Illinois psychologist Coleman Robert Griffith, the father of North American sport psychology.

One moment that changed the course of your career
I unexpectedly did not get into the undergraduate university that I most desired. A high school guidance counselor and former physical educator and coach in my home town who did not know me that well called her alma mater and got me into that college, which at the time had one of the most innovative sport science programs and top young faculty in the country who mentored me and exposed me to sport psychology and sport psychology research as an undergraduate student.

One psychological superpower I’d like to have
Ability to read minds of others, especially subconscious thoughts and motives. That way, I could better help them achieve their goals.

One hope for the future of psychology
We can determine ways for people to better understand, get along, tolerate and appreciate and respect one another.

One proud moment
Receiving an all-university award for excellence in teaching.

One hero/heroine from psychology past or present
University of Illinois psychologist Coleman Robert Griffith, the father of North American sport psychology.

One moment that changed the course of your career
I unexpectedly did not get into the undergraduate university that I most desired. A high school guidance counselor and former physical educator and coach in my home town who did not know me that well called her alma mater and got me into that college, which at the time had one of the most innovative sport science programs and top young faculty in the country who mentored me and exposed me to sport psychology and sport psychology research as an undergraduate student.

One resource
The widely used undergraduate textbook I co-authored with Robert Weinberg (2011), Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology, because it probably introduced more students to sport and exercise psychology than any other book published to date.

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