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Featured Class: Sports Psychology at Golf Academy of America

Oct 5, 2015

Featured Class: Sports Psychology at Golf Academy of America

There's plenty to learn about golf when you're not on the green. That's why our rigorous academic program ensures that graduates have left no stone unturned — on or off the golf course.

In the sports psychology class at Golf Academy of America, students learn to analyze the psychological aspects of playing, teaching, coaching and training golfers of all ages and abilities. The class meets for one hour and 50 minutes, once a week, for 15 weeks.

Scott DeVaux, a Class A member of the PGA of America, teaches sports psychology at Golf Academy of America's Myrtle Beach campus, where he has been on faculty since 2006. He was a 2006 Carolinas PGA Section Teacher of the Year nominee and was named Carolinas Section Junior Golf Leader that same year.

DeVaux says that sports psychology is a challenging yet rewarding course for Golf Academy of America students.

"I especially feel anyone who wants to be a golf instructor or a coach should be mandated to take at least one sport psychology course," he says. "A huge part of teaching and coaching golf — or any sport, for that matter — is preparing athletes mentally for the game."

Topics covered in the course include motivation, goal setting, self-confidence and coping skills for stress and anxiety. DeVaux firmly believes that by trying to relate these topics to situations that occur when the student plays, or to how they can use these skills in a golf environment, they can be better prepared for challenges that may arise.

The students absolutely concur. Among the benefits of the class, they cite gaining the awareness and ability to control actions on and off the course, in addition to understanding how emotions play a role in the game and how different personality types handle those emotions, which is especially critical for those wanting to teach the game to others.

What Students Can Learn in Sports Psychology Class at Golf Academy of America:

  • Motivational theory as it applies to sport
  • Self-efficacy and confidence, and their impact on performance
  • The relationship between attention/concentration and performance
  • The Inverted "U" hypothesis as it applies to anxiety and intensity management
  • The goal setting process, and how goal setting can help with motivation and overall performance
  • Beneficial tools to use for coping strategies and psychological skills training (self-talk, relaxation techniques, imagery, etc.)
  • Aspects of an effective leader and leadership theory
  • Characteristics of staleness/burnout and how to prevent it

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