KIHU - Research Institute for Olympic Sports

High Performance Unit of Finnish Olympic Committee - Research and Development Program

Research areas

Contact information

  • KIHU - Research Institute for Olympic Sports
  • Rautpohjankatu 6
  • 40700 Jyväskylä
  • Finland
  • Tel: +358 20 781 1500
  • Fax: +358 20 781 1501
  • Business ID: 1574321-0

KIHU online

Science for Success III -kongressi 11.-12.10.2011 Jyväskylässä Kihulook SRD Oy Fast Motion


Sport Psychology


Niilo Konttinen
  • Niilo Konttinen
  • Researcher in Sport Psychology
  • tel: +35840 5429817

Sport psychology aims at enhancing athletic performance through the application of various psychological methods. The athlete's situation is examined holistically, also considering the social environment.

KIHU's central research areas are:

Our key principle in sport psychology research is to carry out applied research in order to support the practical psychological training implemented in the various sports. In addition to research, a further central competence area of sport psychology covers different psychological services and consulting.


KIHU applies a wide variety of essential psychological research methods to sport psychology, including interviews, observation, psychometric tests, and questionnaires. Moreover, different biomechanical (e.g. force platform) and physiological (e.g. EEG registration) measuring methods can be applied to various sports, which provides a more holistic picture of the phenomenon.

The services of sport psychology are often based on a specific problem experienced by the athlete, unrelated to training (e.g. quantity of training) or competitive performance (e.g. technical errors). The most common psychological problems faced by athletes are competition stress, concentration problems, lack of motivation, and loss of self-confidence.

Cooperation between the athlete and the psychological training expert can start even if the athlete has no particular problem associated with competition or training. In such a case, the objective of the cooperation is to enhance the athlete's mental readiness. It is essential for athletes to learn to utilize their prior experiences when repeatedly trying to reach the limits of their performance in competition.

Discussions with the athlete are a central method in psychological training. Particularly important are the discussions and meetings which also involve the athlete's personal coach, conducted during the competition season. Furthermore, training can include the application of different mental training techniques, such as imagery and relaxation training.


KIHU's recent partners in research and service activities include the Finnish Shooting Sport Federation, the Finnish Archery Association, the Football Association of Finland, the Finnish Swimming Association, and Finnish Athletics.