The Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation in collaboration with the International Society of Sports and Exercise Psychology has launched the maiden Ghana Society of Sports and Exercise Psychology (GHASSEP).
The ceremony was under the theme “Embracing Sport and Exercise Psychology Application for Optimal Performance and General Well-being in Ghana”.
Speaking at the ceremony the Special Advisor to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Owusu Ansah, assured that government would support GHASSEP. “It is a worthy step to bridge academia and industry”, he noted. He lamented that sports in Ghana has developed at a slow pace. “The level of development is not established by the results attained in performances”, he argued.
Dr. Ansah called on government and other key players to collaborate towards changing the status quo in the Ghanaian Sports industry. He lamented about the fact that research conducted by academia were being left on the shelves of libraries instead of being useful to the development of the Sports. He urged academia to engage stakeholders through research dissemination so that they could make recommendations for implementation to improve sports.
Sharing his thought on the psychological problem being faced by the Black Queens at the ongoing Africa Women’s Cup of Nations tournament, he noted that the Minister of Youth and Sports has admitted that if stakeholders like the University of Cape Coast were to have been involved in the preparatory stages, the situation would have been avoided.
The Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology Education, Prof. Joseph K. Mintah, used the opportunity to call on government to engage the service of experts in the field of Sports Psychology at the preparation stages and during tournaments. “What prevents us from using our experts? Why do we have to wait until we have crisis?” he queried. “As l speaks Ghana Black Star has no sport psychologist attached to it”, he lamented.
He stated that Sports Psychologists must be involved at the early stages because their interventions would not work overnight as they involved various processes. “Ghana should count itself blessed to have handful of sport psychologists in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation of UCC who are dedicated to training more psychologists”, he noted.
The Vice President of the International Society of Sport Psychologist, Prof. Tatiana Ryba, was worried about the low representation of Africa in the Society adding that “it is only a Nigerian that represented Africa in the Society”. She, however, expressed the hope that with the creation of GHASSEP the situation would change for better. “I hope with the creation of GHASSEP there will be enough collaboration at the African level to be able to get a voice to the global world”, she stated.
The Head, Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Dr. Daniel Apaak, revealed that socio-cultural factors influence Sports Psychology consultation services. “Reasons that have been adduced to explain this apparent lack of receptiveness to sport psychology consulting by male athletes are perceived stigmatization associated with sport psychology consulting, having less confidence and less personal openness towards Sports Psychology” he noted. According to him, some athletes preferred working with a consultant of the same race or ethnicity. He explained that these social norms and stereotypes dictate that male athletes should be tough and masculine, and should not exhibit or disclose any emotional problems. He stated that cultural influences were major blockades to the success of Sport Psychologists, and therefore, must be factored into their services as it played important role.
Dr. Apaak called on stakeholders to join forces to project Sports Psychology in the country. “The purpose of launching this Society is to provide a platform for all stakeholders in Ghana to come together to ensure that our athletes are given the best psychological support necessary to excel in their chosen sports”, he noted.
The National President of the Psychological Association of Ghana, Dr. Erica Danfrekua Dickson, entreated Sports Psychologists to join the Association.