My name is Lauren Wolters and I am a rising senior, majoring in Psychology and History. This summer I had the pleasure of working for the American Board of Sport Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Roland Carlstedt. The program takes place in New York City with a home base at the Columbia Tennis Center. The internship focuses on an applied evidence-based athlete assessment and intervention protocol developed by Dr. Carlstedt. Being a student athlete at Skidmore as well as a psychology student, this experience allowed me the opportunity to integrate two of my passions. The most significant aspect of this experience was that I was able to learn first-hand, from a well-respected sport psychologist, a variety of techniques in evidence-based sport psychology, including heart rate variability monitoring and how to interpret the data and results. Furthermore, I was also able to work first with tennis players in order to gain an understanding of the protocol and technology before transferring that knowledge into my own research project using volleyball players. Each day at the Columbia Tennis Center, I would monitor the heart rates of tennis players using a Biocom sensor and Polar V800 sensor as they engaged in training and various mental toughness exercises. After the data was collected, I later examined their results and exhibition of mental toughness throughout the matches.
For my own research, I was able to work with my teammate from the Skidmore Volleyball team using a new protocol I created by modeling it off of the work I did previously with the tennis players. Therefore, I spent a portion of the beginning of the summer doing research and adapting said protocol to accommodate an under-researched sport. Once I had completed this task I began to apply it and collect data. I gave my recruited athlete the self-assessment test battery and then corroborated those results with heart rate monitoring via the Biocom sensor. This allowed me to see if their physiological responses to stress corresponded with their self-reported level of mental toughness. Then, using the Polar V800 sensor I was able to measure the athlete’s heart rate deceleration and acceleration during real competition in order to analyze their psychophysiological ability to prepare for pressure during play. Dr. Carlstedt was very supportive of me pursuing my own interests within the program and helped me apply the knowledge I had gained to other sports.
This internship provided me with excellent research experience as well as in-depth knowledge of another field in psychology that would otherwise be relatively inaccessible to me. I would not have been able to complete this internship if it was not for the Summer Experience Fund. I had a really great summer working with Dr. Carlstedt and would recommend the ABSP internship to anyone interested in pursuing sport psychology!