Coleman Griffith

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Although Coleman Griffith has been coined the “Father of sports psychology”, there were others before him who experimented with sports psychology but never dedicated the time to get it off the ground. One who took interest before Griffith was Norman Triplett between 1895 and 1919 according to Davis, Huss, and Becker (1995). Triplett’s experiments became a starting point for sports psychology, based on his observations of the sport of cycling. In this experiment he involved the physical task of winding fishing reels. He incorporated the physical task of winding fishing reels, an experiment he named Dynamogenic Factors in Pacemaking and Competition, which was published in 1898 (Cox et al., 1993). Unfortunately, Triplett’s work did not motivate others to follow in his footsteps of similar research and as a result from 1920 - 1930 Coleman Griffith took the reigns. As a result Triplett’s work became the first sports psychology research study in America, while Griffith was the first to do systematic sport psychology analysis (Cox et al., 1993).
The purpose of this paper is to first introduce Coleman Griffith the psychologist, the second purpose is to provide a review of Griffith’s work in sports, and the final purpose is to fast forward almost a decade later to sports psychology after Coleman Griffith.
Who was Coleman Griffith?
Dr.Coleman Griffith was born May 22, 1893 in Guthrie Center, IA. He attended college in Illinois at Greenville College where he played varsity baseball until graduating in 1915. After teaching at his alter malter for a year, Griffith moved on to the University of Illinois where he earned his PhD in 1920. Between 1918 and 1922 Griffith made a “series of informal observations” on “psychological factors involv...

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