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Minor Sport and Exercise Sciences - 22 EC

Period 1,2,3,4
Sport and physical exercise are activities that are at the heart of modern-day society. With obesity and other sedentary lifestyle-related illnesses quickly becoming the nr.1 preventable death cause in many western countries, governments stimulate their inhabitants to participate in sports and become more physically active. At the same time, elite athletes enjoy the attention of millions as they engage in international competitions and see their achievements broadcasted around the globe. In this interdisciplinary 22EC minor program you will get an introduction into key disciplines in the study of human behaviour in sport and exercise settings. For example, how do central and local governments stimulate sports participation? How do elite athletes deal with the pressure to perform well? What happens in the human body while exercising? And, how are complex movements coordinated in the brain? In a series of interconnected courses the minor program “Sport and Exercise Sciences” will provide answers to these questions (and many others) and introduce you to the theory and research that is behind them. In addition, this Minor offers students the opportunity to conduct a critical review of the literature relevant to the field of Sport and Exercise Sciences.


Sport Psychology - 4 EC (period 1)

Coordinator: Dr. P.K.C. (Pepijn) van de Pol
Course code: SOW-PSB3BE20E
Sport Psychology examines human behaviour in sport situations. Sport Psychological research is targeted towards the determinants of sport-related behaviour (i.e., person and environment) and the effects of that behaviour in terms of performance and health. This concerns elite sports (e.g., why do some athletes perform better under high-pressure than others?) as well as physical exercise in general (e.g., what motivates children to participate in sports?). Sport psychological research aims to explain and predict sport-related behaviour. In sport psychology practice, sport psychologists aim to influence the motivation, cognitions and emotions of athletes to improve the performance of teams and individuals. Against this background, the course Sport Psychology presents and overview of important sport psychological theories and research. Course lectures and theme-specific ‘practicals’ will address both scientific and applied issues connected to each of the course topics.

Sport Sociology  - 4 EC (period 1)

Coordinator: Dr. H. (Hidde) Bekhuis
Course code: SOW-SOB3025
In this course students learn to apply a sociological perspective to sports participation. Stimulating physical activity through sports is something that involves both central and local governments in most countries, as well as enterprises, schools and citizens (volunteers). Sports can rely on a great deal of sympathy, yet is also often the subject of anti-pathy and distrust. Sport touches upon broader issues such as health, social inclusion, lifestyles and identities, but also violence and aggression. That is what makes sports such a fascinating subject for sociological analyses. In this course we will look at the origins of sports, its development into a full grown social practice, participation rates and explanations for non-participation, its connection to other fields such as public health and well being, and the available literature and datasets (e.g. Eurobarometers, Eurostat-data, ISSP). At the end of the course students have learnt to apply a sociological perspective to the field of sports, and will be able to transfer these capabilities to other fields such as health enhancement (smoking, eating) and cultural participation.

Sport Physiology (Moving Questions) - 4 EC (period 1)

Coordinator(s): Dr. Coen Bongers
Course code: MED-MIN05
This minor intends to gain knowledge needed to apply the principles of exercise physiology in (medical) practice and in a scientific context. The minor starts with an introduction in the field and a recap of the general physiology of the respiratory, circulatory and muscular systems, which are the important organ systems in exercise physiology. Next you will learn to perform several exercise tests, which are used in the clinic, in research and in sports practice. In the following weeks the respiratory, circulatory and muscular systems will be addressed. The effects of acute and chronic exercise on each of these organ systems will be discussed via lectures, working groups and practicals. Also the interaction between diseases of these organ systems and exercise is part of the minor. Furthermore you will learn to interpret exercise test and even diagnose patients by using exercise tests.  In the final weeks of the minor you will learn the principles behind training and you will apply this knowledge by developing a training program for an athlete or a patient, based on the principles your learned.

Human Motor Control and Sport - 4 EC (period 2)

Coordinator: Prof. Dr. R. (Ruud) Meulenbroek
Course code: SOW-PSB3BC30E
This course covers a wide variety of topics in human motor control and sport. In particular, the focus will be on the neurocognitive basis of perception-action couplings that are relevant for individual and team sports. Imagine catching a ball. How is its position processed by the brain, and how do you ‘predict' the best way and moment to stretch your arm and catch the ball? Could mental practice improve sport performance? What is the effect of anxiety on performance when playing an important game? What is the maximum speed of information processing facilitating sport achievements? How do people coordinate their muscles, joints and limbs when synchronizing their actions purposefully? The course will provide answers to these and related questions and provide insights into the psychological background of the phenomena, their interrelationships and, where relevant, how you can affect them. Other things that are covered are the effects of motor imagery on sport performance and the coordination of perception-action processes in team sports.

Literature Review Sport and Exercise Sciences - 6 EC (period 3 and 4)*

Coordinator: Dr. P.K.C. (Pepijn) van de Pol
Course code: SOW-PSB3BE21E

This course provides students who follow the ‘Minor of  Sport and Exercise Sciences’ the opportunity to conduct a critical review of the literature relevant to the field of Sport and Exercise Sciences. The topic is chosen by the student in agreement with the assigned supervisor. However, the topic needs to be based on the content (i.e., required materials and literature) as offered in the other courses as part of this Minor Sport and Exercise Sciences.
After selection of the topic the student will be assigned to a supervisor who is an expert in the research field of the selected topic. Supervision will consist of 6 hours of supervision.

After successfully completing this course, students are able to:

  • Define a relevant topic and research question based on an systematic search and selection of peer-reviewed literature in the chosen field of study.
  • Critically evaluate the selected literature (e.g., used theoretical frameworks and research methodologies) in a systematic way.
  • Present the findings in logical and structured manner through an academically written report.

*This course is only open for students who successfully completed the other four courses as part of the Minor Sport and Exercise Sciences. There is a limited number of places available for this course: A course admission interview may be a part of the admission procedure. Planning and time scheduling of supervision will take place in consultation with the supervisor.