Psychology graduate Adam Ahrens and Prof. Chu published article to address African American athletes’ psychological needs

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.

Faculty note: Professor Chu’s new article is featured by the Center for Self-Determination Theory

Prof. Alan Chu
Prof. Alan Chu

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.

Photo of the face a female golfer with her eyes closed laying down on the putting greens, surrounded by golf balls and a driver with the text, "M.S. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Program UW-Green Bay."

Video: M.S. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Program

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.”

Want to feel motivated? Tell yourself you ‘get to’ or ‘want to’ rather than ‘have to’

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.

Faculty note: Professor Chu advises on how to find the motivation you’ve been missing

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.

Professor Chu speaks to Sports Illustrated En Fuego about table tennis being a platform for diversity and inclusion

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.

illustration of an athlete imagining success in the stars

Prof Chu speaks with about the power of visualization for unlocking athletic and personal success

UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. (Chair of Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology) Alan Chu spoke with Nike about the power of visualization for unlocking athletic and personal success and was quoted in the article, “See It Happen to Make It Happen.” When you imagine every detail, scenario and emotion involved in achieving your goal, you’re actually practicing how to succeed with concrete actions rather than just casually thinking about achieving it…By leaving nothing—OK, everything—to the imagination, your image can feel more real,” says Chu. See it at

Prof. Chu published an article on using positive psychology to foster student engagement during the pandemic

UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. Alan Chu (Chair of the M.S. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology), published an article titled “Applying positive psychology to foster student engagement and classroom community amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond” in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology. The article discusses implementation of three positive psychology teaching strategies—strengths identification and application, growth mindset, and gratitude exercises—during the pandemic. Find activity and assignment examples, here.

Listen: Does It Matter For Athletes If The Fans Aren’t There? | Wisconsin Public Radio

From tee-ball and peewee soccer up to college and professional sports, spectators are as much a part of games as the athletes. But during COVID-19, that’s changed. We ask an expert (prof. Alan Chu) in the psychosocial aspects of sports what impact that has on sports performance.

Source: Listen: Does It Matter For Athletes If The Fans Aren’t There? | Wisconsin Public Radio

How empty stadiums play a role in an athlete’s performance and mental health

Assistant Professor Alan Chu is the Chair of the Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Masters Program at UW-Green Bay, a new program with its first cohort this fall. Chu said a fan cheering on their favorite team plays a much bigger role than we might think. “When the players see the fans, they’re able to get those attentional cues and be able to celebrate or focus on certain tasks,” said Chu.

Source: How empty stadiums play a role in an athlete’s performance and mental health