Dr. Alan Chu, Chair of the M.S. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology program, recently received recognition from the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) for his participation in the Sport Psychology Registry during the 2020-2022 biennium, including consultations with national and junior national teams on mental skills (e.g., stress management, mindset) during the pandemic. See more information about the USOPC Sport Psychology Registry.
In order to successfully lose weight and keep it off, you need to set goals to make sustainable lifestyle changes a reality. But goal-setting is an art in itself, and vague pie-in-the-sky resolutions like “get in shape” or “lose 30 pounds this year” are rarely enough to keep your motivation up for the long haul. They also don’t give you the framework you need to take action.That’s where SMART goals, or goals which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound, give you the roadmap you need to be successful. “SMART goals are motivating because they provide a clear timeline and performance standards which can be challenging, yet attainable, for you to work toward,” explains Alan Chu, PhD, director of the Motivation and Performance Research Lab and chair of the Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology master’s program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. “Because they’re specific and measurable, they also allow you to monitor your progress and adjust your goals accordingly along the way.”
This increases your sense of autonomy or self-control and helps you shift your perspective from “I have to” eat healthier and exercise to “I want to” create new habits to get me closer to the life I desire, thus empowering you to make positive changes, adds Alan Chu, Ph. D., director of the Motivation and Performance Research Lab and chair of the Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology Program at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay.
It is not uncommon for individuals, including athletes, to set goals to meet performance demands or achieve certain performance outcomes. However, how often do we set goals related to self-care? UW-Green Bay Prof. Alan Chu, Chair of the M.S. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Program, published a peer-reviewed blog article on “Goal Setting and Monitoring for Self-Care: Facilitating a Mindful and Grateful Attitude” through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). This article highlights the importance of setting goals to take care of ourselves through mindfulness and gratitude practices that are applicable to athletes and also the general public.
Adam Ahrens, a recent Psychology graduate, and Assistant Professor. Alan Chu, Chair of the M.S. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Program, published an article titled “Motivation Is Not Always Black and White: Attending to African American Athletes’ Psychological Needs for Sport Involvement” in Strategies: A Journal for Physical and Sport Educators. In this article, they reviewed prior research that highlighted the psychological needs of African American athletes and translated them to coaching practices. Read the full article online.
Assistant Professor and Chair, Alan Chu (M.S Sport, Excercise, and Performance Psychology) and his colleagues published a new article that shows high school athletes might be less active when coaches are disempowering, such as using punishing and yelling techniques. This article is featured by the Center for Self-Determination Theory, one of the most established motivation theories to explain human behavior and psychological needs.
To read the full feature, visit this LinkedIn page.
To learn more about Chu’s Self-Determination Theory publications, visit the International Scholar’s profile.
When you apply to the Master of Science in Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, you will learn how to help athletes and other performers like musicians, actors, and business professionals enhance their performances by harnessing the power of psychological skills. Meet instructors who will share with you the scope of the program and walk you through the two vocational tracks available. Learn from students who talk about their career goals and how the M.S. Sports, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Program set them on the path to fulfilling their dreams. They also share their experiences of learning from CMPC-certified professors and of interning with Division I Athletics.
Video Transcript M.S. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Program
This master’s program in Sports Exercise and Performance Psychology is ideal for any students who want to get more scientific knowledge working with athletes on improving their performance through psychological skill training.
We do expand beyond just the sports setting. When our students become CMPC credentialed, they can work with say an exercise participant who is looking to set goals to improve their health. We can work with music professionals in terms of singers or actors that may be experiencing anxiety before a performance. We can help them manage that anxiety. We can work with military personnel. Help them better manage their focus and concentration, so that they can be at their optimal best while they’re on that mission.
“I was really attracted to the fact that they give you your own kind of personal track. So, there’s the Applied track and then Thesis track. My main career aspiration is to work baseball because that’s a sport that I’m extremely passionate about. There’s the thesis track which will be really imperative in working with a professional sports team because they typically look for people who have research experience a Ph. D. and as well as that applied experience.”
“With the Applied track, I have the opportunity to do internships throughout the second year that I’m here, which will allow me to work with different athletes in order to gain that experience I would need to be able to work with them professionally.”
“Having Division 1 Athletics is a very amazing opportunity for a student to work with high-performance athletes. Students on our Applied track have in their curriculum two semesters worth of internships with the UWGB Athletic Department, the Music Department, the Green Bay Blizzard as well as Bellin Health and students also have the opportunity to establish their own internship opportunity if it’s a good fit for them.”
“It was pretty imperative that I go to a university that had instructors that were CMPC certified. So, the advantages of having your CMPC certification is that it acts as evidence that you have achieved the highest standards within the sport exercise and performance career field. To be able to have that certification is the first step being able to work with athletes, which is what I really would like to do as a future career.”
“My instructors have been fantastic, have been amazing, and have really helped my experience here just be absolutely wonderful and I’m very appreciative towards that.”
In the WebMD article titled “Getting Motivated to Start a Workout Program,” UW-Green Bay Chair of M.S. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Alan Chu is quoted on how to make realistic plans, focus on fun, “fake it until you make it,” and find workout buddies to stay motivated. In order to sustain the motivation, we can tell ourselves we “get to” or “want to” rather than “have to” exercise. These evidence-based strategies apply to not only exercise settings but also other areas of our lives.
Chair and Assistant Professor Alan Chu (Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology) shares with The Medium about how to find the motivation to do schoolwork, exercise, eat healthily, or help others to do so, based on scientific research in motivation.
“If we want to motivate people in the long run, we can’t do that using external rewards or punishments … We should, instead, create an environment that satisfies autonomy, competence, and relatedness to foster people’s internal drive to act,” says Prof. Chu.
This site has the full article.
Chair and Assistant Professor Alan Chu (Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology) spoke recently with Sports Illustrated about table tennis being a platform for diversity and inclusion. Prof. Chu has been a competitive table tennis player and internationally certified coach who actively promotes table tennis participation among individuals with diverse identities from various cultural backgrounds. He also helped create table clubs at every institution he has been including UW-Green Bay.
“Table tennis is readily accessible. It’s a sport that physical ability doesn’t limit players from participating,” Prof. Chu says. Table tennis athletes defy stereotypes. “In table tennis, elite athletes come in all different physical sizes; the best athletes in the world are indeed usually not the tallest or most muscular. Regardless of people’s able-bodiedness, they can be great players!” For instance, Paralympian Ibrahim Hamadtou plays table tennis with his mouth.
For the full article and video, see the SI En Fuego website.