Performance psychologists do not necessarily equal performance psychology.

The psychology of performance, as a branch of psychology pretty much is what the title suggests a domain within psychology that focuses on the way the mind works (or needs to work) to be able to perform at a high level when it counts time after time. The ability to perform, when it matters is a key characteristic of many performance environments within human endeavour including: sport, business, surgery, the emergency services, the military, and aviation. Those performers who

Shooting yourself in the foot: How anger and aggression aimed at sports officials impacts upon perfo

This weekend has seen an unprecedented step taken by amateur football referees in the UK. 18-year old local football referee Ryan Hampsen has led the ‘striking’ of over 2000 local league referees in response to the foul and abusive behaviour they are often exposed to on a weekly basis. This has been further compounded by the high profile case of Leandro Bacuna. The Aston Villa utility player was sent off in last week’s game against Derby County for pushing the linesman follow

Contemporary and innovative practice: CPD in Sport and Exercise Psychology

Across the world a significant time and effort is invested within the profession of sport, exercise, and performance (SEP) psychology in qualification, accreditation, and recognition schemes. Understandably this is very important, we need to ensure everyone who operates under the banner of sport and exercise psychology is appropriately qualified and fit for practice. However, this intense focus on qualification does appear to often be at the expense of continuing to develop t

What should we be teaching trainee sport, exercise and performance psychologists?

As we approach the start of a new academic year in many UK University’s and the running of many Masters degrees in sport and exercise psychology, it is a perfect time to ask the question ‘what should we be teaching trainees’? The first and most obvious answer is psychology. The majority of Masters courses in the United Kingdom (UK) are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). In order to gain BPS accreditation you need to demonstrate that you cover a range of sp

Professional development after ‘qualification’ for sport psychologists

While attending the International Congress of Applied Psychology (ICAP) 2014 in Paris this week I have been fortunate to be able to attend many excellent presentations so far. However, a couple of comments by one specific presenter has started me thinking. The presentation was delivered by the Belgian Professor of Sport Psychology Paul Wylleman. Paul made two really interesting points. First, he questioned whether it was really possible for one consultant to be able to delive

But they said they were a sport psychologist!

It continues to be a frustration of my’n that the profession (sport & exercise psychology) in the UK continues to lack any real clarity for the end user. In physiotherapy or medicine it is very straight-forward. Physiotherapist job adverts, for example, ask for membership of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and registration with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).  Doctor vacancies require certification by the the General Medical Council (GMC). On the face of

How long does it take to build a new team?

The sacking of Paulo Di Canio yesterday, by English Premier League team Sunderland Football Club, got me thinking about how long Head coaches/managers should be given by team/franchise owners before they look to make a change? There are a number of perspectives from which the timing of this sacking can be viewed. In terms of the 2013-14 season Di Canio has been sacked after just 5 games, or 36 days. In total Di Canio had been manager of Sunderland for 4 ½ months and in that t

Five ways a sport psychologist can help to improve performance

I still regularly come across the perception of sport psychologists as practitioners who ‘fix’ broken players or help to rebuild individuals once things have gone wrong. However, as all practitioners know this is only a small part of what we do (as sport psychology consultants). Indeed speak to the physical practitioners such as physiotherapists and doctors in sport and they will argue that prevention is much better that cure. This is true of the mental side of performance. E

The psychology of cricket

To coincide with the Launch of my new book titled ‘Psychology of cricket’ that I have co-authored with Dr Jamie Barker I thought I would share a few thoughts on the psychology of the game in my blog post this week. Cricket is an interesting game, with many facets, but I think a significant aspect of cricket – like many sports is confidence. Form is everything in cricket. Players often talk about either being ‘in form’ or ‘out of touch’. But what does this term ‘form’ actuall

How to measure effectiveness as a sport psychologist

Increasingly in a range of spheres of life professionals are required to measure, report, and demonstrate impact. This is seen as how the things that they do, and the services that they provide result in a change for the better. In funded sport in the UK there is an increasing focus on ‘a return for our money’ approach where sports and teams have to demonstrate to the purse string holders just how each service that is employed or purchased helps to achieve the sports strategi

Sport psychology: A great career choice!

With all the bad news out there at the moment about the economy, employment, debts, and the cost of living I thought it was worth reflecting on the job that I do as a sport psychologist. I have had a passion for the discipline ever since studying it as part of my A-levels at school (too many years ago to think about). That initial exposure to the subject ignited a passion in me for understanding the mind and it’s impact upon sports performance and participation. This determin

Consultant models of practice: The reality is much more fluid.

Throughout my initial education as a sport psychologist I was treated to a constant diet of four main approaches to working as an applied consultant: cognitive, behavioural, humanistic, and psychodynamic. At the same time I was taught that in sport-psychology the most common approach was cognitive-behavioural, and pretty much instructed that that is the way that it should be, and how I should work. I also find it interesting that I was taught about the psychodynamic approach