Last year, I had the opportunity to write a feature about the captain of the women’s basketball team. The feature is sectioned off into six different “mini stories,” and the first and last one focus on how timing can change everything. I want to explore the topic of timing more by gathering examples of athletes making split-second decisions, and I also want to research the thought processes behind these decisions.
Here’s an excerpt from my project proposal: “For this project, I want to focus on the idea of “the whims of fate.” Many life events, especially in sports, depend on split-second decisions. Following that split-second decision, things can either unravel dreadfully quick or come together unimaginably well. I want to explore the topic of timing and human character because life requires people to make decisions that will change the course of their lives. Specifically, I want to focus on sports. These life-changing moments are exemplified in sports with buzzer-beaters, Hail Marys, and overtime shootouts. In the most important second of the game, will an athlete sink or swim?”
One genre that seems prevalent when Googling “sports and decision making” is the academic research paper. Here’s a link to one I just read: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042814052720
The abstract stresses the importance of making the right decision in sports: “At the elite level, coaches and athletes appear to consistently make good decisions in situations that are highly temporally constrained.” I don’t want my paper to be this scientific throughout, but it might be interesting to focus on basic science for a portion of the project. I’m considering it more now that I’ve read some research behind it.
Another form of media I saw that could help are Sports Illustrated’s Brain on Sports Podcasts: “ ‘This is Your Brain on Sports’ is a new podcast from Sports Illustrated in which SI executive editor Jon Wertheim and Tufts University psychology professor Sam Sommers explore the intersection of sports and human nature—what the world of sports has to teach us about who we are, what we care about and the forces that shape our behavior.”
Here’s the link to this week’s episode: http://www.si.com/more-sports/2015/09/28/brain-sports-podcast-abusive-coaching-effects
Because I can see an article on the topic I’m focusing on being published in Sports Illustrated, I enjoyed seeing that podcasts focused on sports psychology come out every week. It’s not a “text,” but someone had to write out the topics professor Sam Sommers and editor Jon Wertheim discussed each week. Each podcast is about a half hour long and goes over a different topic within sports psychology.