Cho Soo-kyung: Sports Psychologist who guides Korea’s national athletesMost of us can remember the heated zeal and excitement that we felt during the recent 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. The sports players who participated in the games or even won medals will be honored for a long time in our nation’s history. Behind many of them was an important figure, Cho Soo-kyung (’92, Human Movement and Performance), who has been guiding athletes psychologically so that they can maintain a healthy sports life.
Sports psychology is an academic area that studies the psychology of players in sports performances. A sports psychologist applies these theories to the actual sports players. Specifically, a sports psychologist assists athletes in a psychological way so that they can demonstrate their greatest capacity during competitions.
Cho is the first sports psychologist in Korea who officially established a business, named Cho Soo-Kyung Sports Psychology Lab, for consulting athletes. Graduating from Ewha, Cho studied sports psychology in the graduate schools of both Ewha and Boston University in the United States. She also was awarded a doctor’s degree back at Ewha. She has assisted many national athletes in various areas such as golf, swimming, figure skating, rhythmic gymnastics, yachting, shooting, and more. Professional sports players visit Cho voluntarily for assistance or they get connected to Cho through the companies that sponsor them.
“When studying abroad at the U.S., I had participated in an internship program in assisting the training of junior sports players. There, I thought, ‘why not bring a similar system and consult the sports players in Korea?” Cho said when asked her motivation to become a sports psychologist.
Cho said that since the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, the interest in sports psychology has steadily increased in Korea. However, compared to the United States and other European countries, sports psychology is not yet recognized as very significant in Korea. Those who want to study it at a professional level have to go abroad. Cho mentioned that sports players need the training in techniques, physical strength, and psychology in order to display their greatest capacity in competition. These three elements are the most important for sports players, so a systemized program in sports psychology should be established in Korea as in other countries.
As for Cho’s personal dream, she said that an integrated educational center where sports players can not only be trained from a young age but also learn in various areas other than sports is needed in Korea.
Sports needs rationality and logic in order for the players to get the best results in such harsh and competitive conditions.
“The principle of competition also exists in our lives. Ewha students should pull out as much as they can from their college life in order to win competitions. Students should neither boast of themselves when winning nor be self-critical when losing,” Cho said.
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