Rebranding sport and exercise psychology for the 21st century

Reflecting on my professional career to date I have always been very interested in how we as a profession are perceived by the ‘real world’ and potential clients. There are broader questions that emerge about what constitutes a profession, but they are beyond the scope of this month’s blog. So back to the main topic, I have become increasingly interested in the breadth of our specialism / interest. The UK government register for practitioners (HCPC) refers to registered Sport

Psychology or sport science? The international dilemma.

Increasingly I am beginning to appreciate that the discussions in the UK about whether sport psychologists should emerge from a psychology or sport science tradition reflect an international debate. In the UK the British Psychological Society (BPS) and the British Association for Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) have been engaged in this debate. The UK government inadvertently got involved in the mid 2000s when looking to protect the title ‘psychologist’ but this has not r

How objective and supportive is the audience?

Often in sport ‘the media’ get chastised for being too quick to judge, or biased in their views. However, this is often less more rational and more balanced that the views of many supporters/fans who regularly attend, and the number many times that number who do not. There have already been a number of examples of these views this Autumn, reflecting the fickle nature of ‘supporters’. Probably the starkest example of this so far is that of Arsenal Football Club manger Arsène W

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

Performance and mental health: Why they are inextricably linked

In the world of performance sport and the drive for results a focus on good general mental health is often lost. In the rush to deliver key mental skills, to test performers under pressure, or to enhance decision-making skills general mental health can get overlooked. This is a concern as a robust bedrock of good mental health is fundamentally important to successful performance, and success over the long term. The pressures associated with performance at the higher levels ar

Game changing innovation and advancement

It was interesting last week with the 20th Anniversary of Shane Warne’s amazing ‘ball of the century’ to dismiss Mike Gatting on day two of the first test of the 1993 Ashes series (4th June 1993), at Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester. The delivery was special in itself, but also special in the context of the game of cricket as it has been recognised as a key factor in the revival of leg spin bowling. While the ball itself was amazing I am particularly interested in ho

Success, Attribution and decision-making

I have watched the events of the last few days in sport play out with some interest. In particular Laura Robson’s fantastic victory against Venus Williams in the first round of the WTA event in Rome 6-3, 6-2; the sacking of Roberto Mancini by Manchester City Football club, and Tiger Woods latest tournament victory. With Robson the thing that struck me was that while she talked about how she had played in the post-match interviews it seemed to be more about the reasons why Ve

How do you find a sport psychologist?

I always think this is an interesting question. If I was a member of the public and I wanted to find a consultant where would I go? For medical conditions the process is relatively straightforward. You go and see you doctor (GP in the UK) and if you then need specialist support they refer you on to the relevant expert consultant. The process is relatively similar for mental health issues. The doctor will refer you on to a service or to individual practitioners who have been v

Is it time for sport and exercise psychology to go their separate ways?

It is interesting that in the UK, and many other countries, the psychology of sport is grouped with the psychology of exercise. This takes place both in terms of the educational training routes offered and the professional/academic literature that underpins these educational routes. This is interesting as you can argue that much of exercise psychology shares significant links with the area of health psychology, you could even argue that exercise and health psychology are bett

Who is psychologist to the sport psychologists at the Olympics?

Well we are almost there, after years of planning, training, and preparation athletes from across the world have been putting the finishing touches to their preparations for the Olympic games in London. While all the sport psychologists who work with these athletes have already earned their money, there is still one final job to do. Athletes may have done all the preparation, but the hard part is yet to come. Performing on the day and coping with the emotional and mental chal