Training Students in Sport Psychology

by Public Relations

Cedarville University’s Kinesiology and Allied Health Department is dedicated to pursuing academic excellence and training students for real-world experiences through courses such as sport psychology.

Sport psychology is a key course for a number of programs in the kinesiology and allied health department, including exercise science and athletic training. Steven Patterson, assistant professor of athletic training, has taught the course for the past three years at Cedarville. He said that he hopes to see the course become a part of the department of psychology’s electives in the future.

“My goal for the class is for students to understand what goes on ‘under the helmet’ and to be able to relate knowledge gained in class to their career,” Patterson said. “We take a holistic look at issues on the mental side of sport and exercise, including personality traits, dealing with injuries, discussing violence in sports and learning about psychological skills that can help with performance.”

Patterson said that the course uses a discussion approach and is enjoyable for those who find interest in sports, psychology and class discussions.

“Even after teaching the course for so many years, I am still in awe at how wonderful the Lord has created each of us,” Patterson said.

Students shared that the course allows them to explore how to use psychology and Christian values to help athletes evaluate issues. Lauren Stapleton, a junior majoring in sport and exercise studies, said that the class is preparing her for a future career as a coach.

“I have even had the opportunity to implement class concepts to my current job as a head coach and manager for a local gymnastics studio,” Stapleton said. “The fact that I can actually use what I am learning in a work setting justifies the tuition I am paying, because I know that I am going to use my class experience to further my position and opportunities in my future career.”

Patterson has served as the director of Cedarville’s athletic training education program for the past four years. Before coming to Cedarville, he served as a visiting professor in the athletic training education program at Nova Southeastern University where he taught classes in the athletic training program, including sport psychology.

Before his faculty member positions, Patterson spent 10 years working as an athletic trainer at the collegiate level. He has also worked for USA Baseball since 2000. He traveled overseas with the National Baseball Team three times, and on two of the trips the team took home the World Championship.

Patterson received a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Vanguard University and a master’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in sport from Palm Beach Atlantic University. He is currently completing a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,300 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Celebrating 125 years of education excellence, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at