Credit points





EXSD199 Psychology of Sport

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

In prescribing and delivering sport performance programs, effective practice requires the use of evidence-based behavioural strategies that align with the unique needs of those in performance settings. This is consistent with the professional standards for many accreditations, including those for Exercise Science. This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of the psychological influences on performance and well-being in sport settings. Students will explore evidence-based psychological, interpersonal, and leadership skills for use in performance settings, as well as the role of psychology in contemporary sport issues.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the Attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1Critique athletes’ use of psychological skills and how they affect performance and well-being
LO2Evaluate interpersonal skills and leadership practices in relation to performance and well-being
LO3Examine contemporary issues in sport from a psychological perspective including that of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
LO4Understand theories and evidence underlying the psychological influences on performance and wellbeing in sport settings


Topics will include

  • Mental skills for performance enhancement and well-being in sport settings 
  • Interpersonal skills development  
  • Models of leadership in sport 
  • Contemporary issues in sport 
  • Multicultural and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in sport

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategies of this unit are designed to allow students to meet the aims, learning outcomes of the unit, graduate attributes of the University and professional accreditation standards. They are intended to reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. This unit fosters student-centred active learning and accommodates diverse student needs. It includes a combination of self-paced, online learning and real-time classes. Early and additional feedback on learning, and tailored support, are provided to facilitate students’ transition to university. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to engage actively with unit content and learning activities.

The unit contains three distinct modules that complement the learning outcomes. The first module considers the psychological skills athletes can employ to enhance their own performance and well-being. The second module focuses on the leadership styles and practices coaches can use to influence the performance and well-being of athletes. The third module takes a contextual perspective and considers contemporary issues and challenges that professionals in high performance settings might face and how to react to them. Learning is scaffolded within and across activities with the intention of combining knowledge and promoting deep and critical thought. Strong emphasis is placed on scientific enquiry and the links between theory, evidence, and practice. To support this emphasis, learning activities engage students in independent thought, collaborative discussions, and applied practice.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with the University assessment requirements. The first two assessment tasks requires students to critique athletes’ use of psychological skills and how they affect performance and well-being. The third assessment task has students evaluate interpersonal skills and leadership practices in relation to performance and well-being. The final assessment task asks students to examine contemporary issues in sport from a psychological perspective. In addition to these summative assessment tasks, students will have the opportunity to engage in the dynamic world of exercise and sport science by participating in or observing applied work. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment 1: Athlete Performance Task 1

Enables students to critique athletes’ use of psychological skills and how they affect performance and well-being  


LO1, LO4

Assessment 2: Athlete Performance Task 2

Enables students to critique athletes’ use of psychological skills and how they affect performance and well-being


LO1, LO4

Assessment 3: Leadership Task 

Enables students to evaluate interpersonal skills and leadership practices in relation to performance and well-being. 


LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment 4: Case Study Task 

Enables students to examine contemporary issues in sport from a psychological perspective. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Cecchini, Fernandez-Rio, J., Mendez-Gimenez, A., Cecchini, C., & Martins, L. (2014). Epstein’s TARGET Framework and Motivational Climate in Sport: Effects of a Field-Based, Long-Term Intervention Program. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching9(6), 1325–1340.

Cheon, S.H., Reeve, J., Lee, J., & Lee, Y. (2015). Giving and receiving autonomy support in a high-stakes sport context: A field-based experiment during the 2012 London Paralympic Games. Psychology of Sport & Exercise 19, 59-69. 

Hemmings, & Holder, T. (2009). Applied sport psychology : a case-based approach. Wiley-Blackwell 

Vella, S. A., Oades, L. G., & Crowe, T. P. (2013). A pilot test of transformational leadership training for sports coaches: Impact on the developmental experiences of adolescent athletes. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 8(3), 513-530. 

Weinberg, & Gould, D. (2019). Foundations of sport and exercise psychology (7th edition.). Human Kinetics.

Williams, & Krane, V. (2021). Applied sport psychology : personal growth to peak performance (Williams & V. Krane, Eds.; 8th edition.). McGraw-Hill Education.

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