Sport psychology, confidence tricks and the dark arts
I read with interest the comments of Paulo Di Canio, the head coach/manager of Sunderland football club in the English Premier League at the weekend. Di Canio is quoted as saying that he knows all he needs to know about getting inside players minds. He also stated that he was not going as far as saying that sport psychologists should not work in football, although I think there was a big ‘but’ behind that statement that spoke volumes. I am not sure if this speaks of an insecurity on the part of Di Canio, and a fear that he might be ‘found out’ to not be the man manager he claims. Or, whether it is a lack of understanding of what sport psychologists actually do. Maybe Di Canio and other high profile critics of the profession believe that we (sport psychologists) are confidence tricksters or peddlers of the dark arts, a view that would have emerged from a lack of engagement with the profession.