The Application of the Sign and Symbolic Reflection in Sports



This article analyzes studies of the symbolization process in sports activities. Many researchers (B. Britton, J. Van Raalte, L. Hardy, and others) note that athletes in their professional activities face a situation of uncertainty (a situation of deficit of means, of behavior models, etc.). The author shows that the peculiarity of using a symbol, in contrast to the sign, is connected primarily to the emergence of these types of situations. The analysis of experimental data shows that the symbolism in sports realizes two functions: cognitive and emotional. The symbolic image in a situation of uncertainty can document the stress associated with it, due to its transfer to the symbolic plan. Since the symbolic image does not have an unambiguous interpretation, one of its properties is the emotional strain, because of the differences between the real situation and figurative content of the symbol, thus its use can lead to increased motivation of athletes. The application of the symbolic image in the preparation of athletes offers new research directions in the field of sports psychology.

General Information

Keywords: symbolic reflection, symbol, sign, situation of uncertainty, sports activity

Journal rubric: Psychological Practice

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Veraksa A.N. The Application of the Sign and Symbolic Reflection in Sports. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2009. Vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 76–82. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Aleksandr N. Veraksa, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Head of the Department of Educational Psychology and Pedagogy, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Vice-Director of Psychological Institute, Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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