The Stuttering Game: Applying Sports Psychology Interventions to Stuttering Management




Rodriguez, Daniel

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Sports performance training in athletes and stuttering management for people who stutter (PWS) have striking parallels. Emotions, especially anxiety and stress, are a prominent threat that can negatively impact movements, especially during high stakes performances for athletes and everyday speaking scenarios for those who stutter. Specifically, the dynamic relationship between physical motor and psychological components are key contributors to successful sports performance and stuttering management. Due to these similarities, the purpose of this paper is to create a theoretical framework on how sports psychology interventions that address anxiety can be applied to stuttering management to help PWS speak with minimal interference from unhelpful thoughts and emotions. Different evidence-based practices in sports psychology that helps athletes combat stress and anxiety during performance include pre-performance routines, visualization, cognitive restructuring interventions, daily goal setting, and competition simulations and plans. These sports psychology interventions can be applied to stuttering management to help PWS effectively manage their anxiety during stressful communication situations. Ultimately, these may decrease unhelpful physical reactions (e.g. tension) to the stuttering moment, which has positive correlations with reducing the impact of stuttering. A major limitation/caveat to applying sports psychology to stuttering is the fact that sports movements are learned, whereas stuttering is not a learned behavior. Thus, one needs to be cognizant that the purpose of these interventions is not to reduce/eliminate stuttering, rather to change the persons reactions to stuttering.



stuttering, sports psychology, Honors College


Rodriguez, D. J. (2022). The stuttering game: Applying sports psychology interventions to stuttering management (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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