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Does Prayer Before An Athletic Competition Affect The Overall Performance Of The Athlete?

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Question: Does prayer before an athletic competition affect the overall performance of the athlete?

Introduction
In today’s society prayer has been a pivotal part of many athletes’ lives. The rituals before a competition can often make or break a quality performance for that athlete. While interning with Fordham University Athletics, I had the opportunity to interact with an array of athletes. Watching these different athletes participate in their pre-game rituals has sparked my interest in this research topic. Does prayer before an athletic competition affect the overall performance of the athlete? In this study, I attempt to investigate the relationship between religion and prayer and an athletic competitor. Does prayer result in an
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In researching this topic, one very significant academic work, “The Use of Prayer in Sport: Implications for Sport Psychology Consulting” by Nick J. Watson and Daniel R. Czech (2005) explores the new found importance of religion and spirituality in sports, and how the public interprets and observes an athletes religious rituals. As both Watson and Czech (2005) are sport psychologists, their research examines the importance of religion, its effect on an athlete’s psychological state, as well as the affect it has on athlete’s overall performance in competition.
Watson and Czech (2005) first define religion and spirituality so as the reader can fully understand what the author’s writing and research findings mean. The terms religion, spirituality, and prayer, can have different meanings amongst different cultures, so it is important the reader has concrete definitions in mind prior to reading the article. The authors define religion as “. . . a system of beliefs in divine or superhuman power, and practices of worship or other rituals directed toward such a power (p.2).” This for example is Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism. The definition of spirituality is much broader and can be defined “from a religious or humanist perspective, where personal meaning is derived from whatever people believe to be ultimate, and valued in and of itself (p.2).” The focus of their research article is prayer in sport
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