Show cover of The Sport Psych Show

The Sport Psych Show

Join Sport Psychologist, Dan Abrahams, on The Sport Psych Show as he aims to demystify sport psychology for players, coaches and parents by speaking with some of the most influential people in sports performance today. Dan is on a mission to learn more about how sport psychology philosophies, tools and techniques positively impact participation, progression and performance in sport. He wants to learn more about how to drive participation – what motivational tools engage players and inspire people to play and stay in their sport. He wants to explore how players can progress quicker and more effectively – what is great practice and training? And how does learning in sport really happen? Finally, he wants to hear what his guests have to say about the psychology of performance – how do they think players can improve their ability to high perform consistently under pressure? Discover simple and practical tools and techniques by listening in to Dan’s conversations with elite competitors, sports coaches, sport scientists, and psychologists.


#283 Derek O’Riordan - The Craft of Coaching
I’m delighted to speak with Derek O’Riordan this week. Derek is Partnership Manager for Sport Scotland, the national agency for sport in Scotland. Derek works with governing bodies to support their investment for development. Derek is also a lecturer in sport management and coaching at the University of Stirling and a coach developer working in situ with coaches. Derek also coaches Rugby Union in the Premiership in Scotland. Derek and I discuss his experiences as a coach and coach developer, including: the intricacies of coach development – the differences between education and development; what healthy involvement in sport can look like for children; the role of deliberate practice; the use of attentional cues for learning and performance.
62:42 5/20/24
#282 Jordan Cassidy - Tailoring Coach Development to the Individual
I’m delighted to speak with Jordan Cassidy this week. Jordan is a Sports Scientist specialising in skill acquisition and coach and athlete development. Jordan's work is aimed at supporting coaches to best support their players and athletes. Jordan has worked across a number of sports across the globe including with the Hong Kong National Rugby Union Team as a strength and conditioning coach and then working as a sport scientist. Jordan is currently conducting research in skill acquisition and coaching at Queensland University of Technology, while working as a coach and player development consultant for clubs and schools across Queensland. Jordan aspires to support coaches to deliver more engaging and enjoyable sessions for their athletes, in their unique context. Jordan aims to encourage reflective practice and provide feedback on: empowering players within training, coaching behaviours within a session and training session (micro-planning) and training block design (macro-planning).
72:10 5/13/24
#281 Elisabeth Oehler - Coaching Across Cultures
I’m delighted to speak with Elisabeth Oehler this week. Elisabeth is a Sports Performance and Strength and Conditioning Coach.  Elisabeth has worked in various sports in multiple countries and is currently Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Saudi Olympic Training Center. Elisabeth has her own consultancy practice EO Performance. Previously, Elisabeth was the Strength and Conditioning Coach for DHL Stormers Western Province Rugby in South Africa. Elisabeth takes a holistic approach to athlete development in her coaching to make her athletes stronger, faster, and more powerful. Besides the physical performance aspects, she helps her athletes to develop mental toughness, integrity, the ability to work in a team, discipline, respect, and leadership skills on and off the field or competition floor. Elisabeth is currently undertaking a Professional Doctorate in Elite Performance at Dublin City University.
69:05 5/6/24
#280 Michael Caulfield - Building Trust with Athletes and Coaches
I’m delighted to speak with sport psychologist, Michael Caulfield this week. Michael has worked in professional sport for over 25 years. He currently supports a number of teams, organisations, coaches and athletes in elite sport. Michael has worked with teams and players in the Premier League as well as international and domestic cricket and has wide experience across many of the sporting codes. Michael is a registered performance psychologist with the Health and Care Professionals Council, having retrained in psychology after a career in sport and sports administration. Michael is a regular keynote speaker at sport and business conferences on key areas such as wellbeing, rest and recovery, sleep, developing confidence and how to cope with the range of demands placed on people in all walks of life. Michael is also a regular contributor to BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC News and Sky Sports.
81:37 4/29/24
#279 Allan Steele - Reflections on Coaching and Leadership at the Elite Level
I’m delighted to speak with Allan Steele this week. Allan has held many positions in football including Director of Football, Technical Lead, Academy Manager in the Premier League and pro-licence coach.  Allan was Director of Football at Forest Green Rovers Football Club. Previously he held roles at Brentford Football Club – as B Team Technical Lead and Assistant Coach, and as Education and Welfare Manager and Academy Coach. Allan and I discuss his coaching and leadership experiences and approaches having worked across three different footballing cultures.
60:23 4/22/24
#278 Dr Noel Dempsey - Coaching for Performance and Life
I’m delighted to speak with coach educator and coach, Dr Noel Dempsey this week. Noel is a Senior Lecturer at the University Campus of Football Business (UCFB). UCFB is dedicated to the delivery of ground-breaking undergraduate degree programmes in the football and sports industry. Noel is a UEFA A Licence coach and has coached in range of settings, including grassroots, academy, non-league. Noel previously coached at Manchester City Football Club, The English FA for 4 years and Burnley Football Club. We discuss a range of coaching topics and Noel shares his experiences as a coach and coach developer.  
70:18 4/15/24
#277 Olivia Bramley & Dr Laura Healy – Discussing Mental Ill Health in Sport Settings
I speak with Olivia Bramley and Dr Laura Healy in this episode. Olivia is a PhD student at The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) with an interest in positive sporting environments and experiences. Olivia completed her BSc in Sports and Exercise Science at Nottingham Trent University where she was also Women's Football Club President, Women's Football Media and Communications Officer and Women's Football First team player. Olivia has just returned to the UK to play for the Women’s Championship Team, Durham. Laura is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Nottingham Trent University. Her research explores how to optimise goal pursuit in sport and physical activity for individuals and teams. This has included examining how the motivation underpinning goal striving can impact upon the self-regulation of goals and well-being. Recently, Laura has researched in areas associated with elite performance environments, including the role of personality in elite coach-athlete relationships, resilience, psychological safety and fear of failure in a national sport governing body, and the experience of release from professional football academies. We discuss a paper led by Olivia and co-authored by Laura and Dr Mustafa Sarkar which examines the mental health within sub-elite women’s sport.  You can find the paper here:
55:19 4/8/24
#276 Sarah Green - Broadening your Coaching Skillset
I’m delighted to speak with Sarah Green this week. Sarah is a UEFA A Licence Coach, coach developer and MSc student who is passionate about developing people. Sarah is Performance Coach Developer at England Netball where she works with coaches in the performance pathway (Roses Academy & Franchise Pathways) providing individualised support to develop their coaching practice and behaviours. Sarah also supports potential performance coaches through a coach development programme. Sarah is also Head of Performance at Derby County Women’s Football Club Previously, Sarah worked at The FA for 11 years. She was part of The FA Tesco Skills Programme which was a pioneering programme for 5-11-year olds delivering specialist National Curriculum football-based education. Sarah then progressed to Regional PE and Coaching in Education Manager in the East Midlands working with The Premier League to support professional football clubs with their coach development.
64:47 4/1/24
#275 Jon Mackey - Coaching for Learning and Skill Development
I’m delighted to speak with Jon Mackey this week. Jon is High Performance Director for Canoeing Ireland – managing the Olympic programme across two Olympic sports: canoe slalom and canoe sprint. Jon is also national coach for ring sports (all full contact disciplines) and lead of the coach development program. Jon’s interests revolve around research in coaching, skill acquisition and decision making, exercise science, physiology and leadership. He has a master’s degree in Coaching and Performance Science and is currently studying a Doctoral degree in Elite Performance in Sport at Dublin City University.   Jon and I discuss a range of topics around coaching including helping competitors to learn more effectively; using communication tools to help athletes acquire skill; and preparing competitors to perform under pressure.
65:56 3/25/24
#274 David Horrocks - Preparation, Deliberate Practice and Decision Making: Inside the Mind of an Elite Competitor
I’m delighted to speak with David Horrocks this week. David is a coach educator and formerly head of R and D and part of the senior management at Manchester United Football Club. Over the years, David has engaged with many organisations such as British Cycling, Borussia Dortmund, The DFB, Milwaukee Bucks, Cricket Australia, London School of Contemporary Dance, Red Bull, and Inter Miami among others. David is also a consultant to Findel Education, Veo Technologies, Carleton University Canada, and Inspire Sports and is currently running an employee health and wellbeing program for up to 6000 workers with Cadent Gas in conjunction with Whoop technologies. The early part of David’s career was spent in the corporate and government services world in technology. David has also led a paper “Preparation, structured deliberate practice and decision making in elite level football. The case study of Gary Neville (Manchester United FC and England)” and it’s this paper we discuss.
63:31 3/18/24
#273 Katie Crawford - Coaching Teamwork
I’m delighted to speak with Katie Crawford this week. Katie and I discuss how coaches can facilitate teamwork within their teams.   Katie is a PhD student at the University of Bath. As part of Katie’s PhD research, she led a paper entitled “Coaching teamwork: Team sport athletes’ and coaches’ perceptions of how coaches facilitate teamwork” along with Dr Rachel Arnold, Carly McKay and Dr Desmond McEwan. The study explored how team sport coaches might facilitate teamwork within their teams. The study was based on interviews with coaches and athletes and identified how coaches utilize the following factors to promote teamwork: team selection, roles, coach-athlete relationships, athlete-to-athlete support, favouritism, tactical systems, athlete leadership, and internal competition.
60:06 3/11/24
#272 Josh Frost - The Mental Health of Elite-Level Coaches
I’m delighted to speak with Josh Frost this week. Josh is a PhD research student at The University of Melbourne. His research is also affiliated with the Elite Sports and Mental Health Centre at Orygen, a not-for-profit Youth Mental Health Centre located in Melbourne. The centre conducts research with athletes, coaches and high-performance support staff to find ways to better support elite athletes. In this episode Josh and I discuss a paper he led entitled “The Mental Health of Elite-Level Coaches: A Systematic Scoping Review” which examined the current body of evidence to explore what is known about the mental health of elite-level coaches (i.e. wellbeing and mental ill-health), the risk and protective factors that influence coach mental health, and the relationship between mental health and coaching effectiveness.
52:17 3/4/24
#271 Karin Hägglund - Starting a Conversation about Vulnerability in Elite Sport
I’m delighted to speak with Karin Hägglund this week. Karin is a Former Swedish National team coach and National team athlete in karate. She is a five-time Swedish champion and three-time Nordic karate champion. Karin now researches how we can maintain well-being and health while performing at a high level over time. She is a PhD-student in Sustainable High-performance Coaching at The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences. Karin is former editor and writer for the magazine FLOW published by the Swedish Sports Psychology Association and was a board member of the Swedish Sports Psychology Association. Karin and I discuss a paper she led entitled “Starting a Conversation about Vulnerability in Elite Sport”. The paper provides practitioners with resources based on insights from high-performance coaches to enable conversations about vulnerability in sport. The aim is that practitioners will use these resources to stimulate reflection and dialogue about vulnerability, which may lower thresholds for help-seeking and foster sustainability in sport organisations.
53:21 2/26/24
#270 Jen Harris - Examining the Experiences, Views, and Needs of Highly Committed Children in Youth Sport
I’m delighted to speak with Jen Harris this week. Jen is an expert in the field of parenting in youth sport. As the mother of a child athlete Jen was struck how little help there is for parents and decided to help change this. She undertook a Masters degree in Sport Psychology, the focus of which was parenting in youth sport. For her dissertation she created the Super-P Approach; an easy to teach parental communication style which can significantly reduce worry levels in child athletes. Jen is now completing her PhD at The University of Edinburgh to extend the research into her Super-P Approach. Jen has also launched a business, Raising Happy Champs, which offers workshops and an extensive e-learning program to parents of children involved in competitive sport. Jen teaches parents sport psychology principals and how to apply them to improve their child’s experience of sport. In this episode we speak about Jen’s experiences as a sport parent and we discuss the results of a study Jen undertook along with Prof Dave Collins and Dr Christine Nash entitled “Let’s Hear It From the Kids! Examining the Experiences, Views, and Needs of Highly Committed Children Involved in Youth Sport”.
62:29 2/19/24
#269 Dr Paul Mansell & Dr Katie Sparks - Performing Under Pressure
In this episode I’m delighted to speak with Dr Paul Mansell and Dr Katie Sparks. Paul is a lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Staffordshire University. Paul completed his PhD in 2023 at the University of Birmingham which investigated the role of trait beliefs in determining stress appraisals, performance and well-being. Paul continues to research in this area, with a specific focus on stress mindset and irrational beliefs. Specifically, Paul has constructed an intervention informed by the REBT framework to enhance well-being and performance under pressure. Katie is a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Staffordshire University and is currently undertaking her PhD at University of Birmingham. Katie is also a mindfulness practitioner. She previously worked with British Rowing as a Performance Lifestyle Advisor and ran psychology educational workshops within their talent development pathway. Paul and Katie discuss the findings of a study that investigated whether a multimodal cognitive-behavioural intervention could enhance young athletes’ psychological well-being and performance. The intervention employed a combination of education and reappraisal delivered in 6 × 1-hour group workshops. Content included stress mindset, irrational beliefs, self-compassion, and imagery. They found that teaching athletes simple cognitive behavioural techniques can change their ‘stress mindset’ and, in turn, enhance their wellbeing and performance.
65:19 2/12/24
#268 Ben Freakley - A Coaches Toolkit: Developing Self-Awareness, Mastery and Resilience
I’m delighted to speak with Ben Freakley this week. Ben is a highly skilled and experienced sport psychology professional, helping athletes, coaches, and teams to achieve peak performance and reach their goals. Ben is also the founder of Ready.Set.Resilient. Ben has coached individuals, athletes, teams, soldiers, and businesses on the psychology of performance, leadership, team dynamics, and well-being for nearly 20 years. Along the way, Ben has been a NCAA Division I men’s soccer coach, mental performance coach for special operations forces, Head of Mental Performance for the Toronto Blue Jays and he now works in the MLS and USL. Ben holds master’s degrees in Sport Psychology and Sport Management from Georgia Southern University where he was an NCAA Division I athlete. He has a doctoral degree in Sport and Performance Psychology with an emphasis in Clinical Mental Health Counselling. Ben is a Certified Mental Performance Coach (CMPC) and member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP).  I talk to Ben about his experiences as both a coach and a sport psychology professional and we discuss the factors inherent in high performance coaching environments. 
62:01 2/5/24
#267 Matthew Layton - Development Practices in Professional Academies
I’m delighted to speak with Matthew Layton this week. Matt is head of youth development phase at Swansea City Football Club. He manages the multidisciplinary staff departments and the players within the youth development phase to support and coordinate their pathway throughout the programme into the professional development phase. Matt and I discuss a brilliant paper he co-wrote with Dr Jamie Taylor and Prof Dave Collins about the measurement, tracking and development practices of academies. The paper is available here 
61:31 1/29/24
#266 Dr Sam Thrower - Enhancing Wellbeing, Long-Term Development, and Performance in Youth Sport
I’m delighted to speak with Dr Sam Thrower this week. Sam is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Oxford Brookes University. His main research interests lie in the area of youth sport and specifically the psychosocial development of young athletes. He is particularly interested in topics such as parenting in sport, sport-confidence, motivational climates, stress and coping, and anti-doping in sport. Sam’s research in these areas has been published in a range of leading international journals including: ‘Psychology of Sport & Exercise’, ‘Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise & Health’, ‘Sport, Exercise & Performance Psychology’, ‘Journal of Applied Sport Psychology’ and 'Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology'. His current research focuses on parent-child interactions and the development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based sport parent education programmes. In this episode we discuss a paper Sam led about enhancing wellbeing, long-term development, and performance in youth sport.
66:04 1/22/24
#265 Dr Shakiba Moghadam - Mental Health Literacy
I’m delighted to speak with Dr Shakiba Moghadam this week. Shakiba is a chartered psychologist with a specific focus on community psychology, as well as sport and exercise psychology. Shakiba currently lectures in psychology and Sport and Exercise psychology at Solent University.   Shakiba graduated with a first-class honours degree in BSc Psychology from the University of Portsmouth and completed her MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology at the University of Portsmouth. Shakiba’s research predominantly focuses on mental health literacy and athlete mental health, experiences of women athletes in male dominated sports, human rights violations in sports, and the experiences of marginalised communities such as refugees and asylum seekers. She is one of four leads on the British Association of Sport and Exercise Science’s SEPAR equality, diversity, and inclusivity workshops where much of her work focuses on providing training on cultural competence in practice for upcoming sport and exercise psychologists. Shakiba is also the Chair of the British Psychological Society’s Human Rights Advisory Group.
68:32 1/15/24
#264 Dr Charlie Corsby, Prof Robyn Jones & Dr Andrew Lane - Contending with Vulnerability and Uncertainty: What Coaches Say About Coaching
This week I’m delighted to speak to Dr Charlie Corsby, Prof Robyn Jones and Dr Andy Lane. Charlie is a Senior Lecturer in Sport Coaching at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Charlie holds a UEFA ‘A’ Licence coaching qualification. Alongside his academic responsibilities, Charlie is the Head Coach for Cardiff Met FC BUCS1 programme.​ The focus of Charlie’s research relate to the everyday complexities and affairs of coaches, particularly relating to ‘influence’ and ‘control’ within the coaching context. Robyn is Professor of Sport and Social Theory and a former Associate Dean of Research at Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK. Robyn’s research area comprises a critical sociology of coaching in respect of examining the relational nature of the work, and how practitioners manage the power-ridden dilemmas that arise. The purpose is to generate critical insight into an important part of cultural life, namely that of sports participation, and how that complex experience is framed by coaches Andy is a Senior Lecturer in Sport Coaching at Cardiff Metropolitan University. He is currently the Programme Director for the BSc Sport Coaching Undergraduate degree and teaches across undergraduate and post graduate programmes. Andrew also currently supervises a number of post graduate students within coaching and coach education and is a member of the Schools Social Science ethics committee. We discuss a paper co-written by Charlie, Robyn and Andy entitled “Contending with vulnerability and uncertainty: what coaches say about coaching”.
63:52 1/8/24
#263 Prof Chris Harwood - Settings Goals for Competition and Achieving Them Through Mental Skills
I’m delighted to speak with Prof Chris Harwood this week. Chris is the Director of the Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement (SHAPE) Research Centre at Nottingham Trent University (NTU). He is a Professor of Sport Psychology at NTU where his research focuses on the psychosocial aspects of athlete development, wellbeing and performance including the roles of the coach, parents, and the wider social and organisational environment. Chris is particularly focused on the integration of psychological principles into youth sport settings and his applied research is characterised by working with the support system around young people. Chris is also prominent in the area of professional development, supervision and training of sport psychologists in the UK and international systems.  We speak about Chris’s research over the past 30 years, focusing on Achievement Goal Theory, Reflection-in-Action, and the 5 C’s: Commitment, Communication, Concentration, Control, and Confidence.
80:50 12/18/23
#262 Dr Ian Peek - Ill Mental Health: The Dark Side of Professional Sport
I am delighted to welcome back Dr Ian Peek in this episode. Ian has been a golf coach for 35 years. He is currently consulting with the Swiss Golf Federation supporting the coaches at national and regional level and supporting parents at some of the leading juniors in the country.   Ian helps his clients achieve their goals whether that’s transitioning to a new level of achievement or maintaining their position at the top of their sport or industry. Ian is also a PGA Master Professional - the highest educational level in The PGA - which recognises PGA Members who make a significant effort to improve themselves as golf professionals and maintain the highest degree of excellence for themselves and their operations. In this episode Ian and I discuss the mental health challenges that professional sport competitors face when competing at the very highest level of their game. 
63:22 12/11/23
#261 Prof Mark Williams & Prof Nicola Hodges - A Skill Acquisition Framework for Excellence
In this episode I’m delighted to welcome back Prof Mark Williams and Prof Nicola Hodges to speak about skill acquisition in sport. Mark Williams is a Senior Research Scientist at The Institute of Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC)- a not-for-profit research institute of the Florida University System and is affiliated with several Florida universities. Mark was previously at the University of Utah, where he was professor and chairman of the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation. Mark has held various senior leadership positions Liverpool John Moores University, University of Sydney and Brunel University, London. Mark’s research interests focus on the neural and psychological mechanisms underpinning the acquisition and development of expertise. He has published almost 300 journal articles in peer-reviewed outlets in numerous fields including exercise and sports science Nikki is a Professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver in the School of Kinesiology. It is at UBC that Nikki runs the Motor Skills Laboratory where she studies the mechanisms of motor skill learning. Her research focuses on processes involved in watching, learning and predicting from others and how practice should be best structured to bring about long-term enhancement of motor skills and high-level performance (particularly in sport). She has been involved in sport-consulting and she has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and chapters.
83:20 12/4/23
#260 Dr Daniel Fortin-Guichard - What Makes a Great Athlete? Psychological Characteristics of Talented Players
I’m delighted to speak with Dr Daniel Fortin-Guichard this week. Daniel works as a Postdoc fellow at the University of Toronto where he specialises in talent identification research through psychological characteristics. Daniel received his PhD from Université Laval in psychology with a specialty in perceptual-cognitive skills in sports. In parallel with his thesis, Daniel worked with the Quebec Remparts hockey team as an advisor to the scouting staff. Each year, Daniel travelled the Province of Quebec and the Maritimes with the scouts to measure the players' psychological and perceptual-cognitive skills. In this episode we discuss a paper that Daniel led which looked at the identification of “sleeping” talent using psychological characteristics.
58:08 11/27/23
#259 Dr Keith McShan & Dr Whitney Moore - The Coach-Athlete Relationship From the Coaches’ Perspective
In this episode I’m joined by Dr Keith McShan and Dr Whitney Moore. We talk about coach-athlete relationships. Keith is Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at Missouri State University. Before joining MSU, Keith was an active high school basketball and football coach in Canada. Keith has worked for organisations such as Football Canada, Duke University Men’s Basketball Camp, and the Corporation of the City of Windsor. Keith is an active member of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) and The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). Keith is the current faculty advisor for the Kinesiology Research and Career (KRC) Club.  Whitney is Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at East Carolina University. Prior to this, Whitney was an Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas and an Associate Professor at Wayne State University. Whitney previously owned and was the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for MOORE Training. Her company focused on providing high-quality training for youth and adults. In this episode we discuss a fascinating paper Keith and Whitney edited entitled “A systematic Review of the Coach-Athlete Relationship From the Coaches’ Perspective”.
60:13 11/20/23
#258 Dr Mark Aoyagi - Exploring Performance Excellence
I’m excited to speak with Dr Mark Aoyagi this week. Mark is the Co-Director of the Master’s programme in Sport and Performance Psychology and Professor in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver. He is also the founder of the Center for Performance Excellence. Mark’s areas of expertise include performance excellence, team effectiveness, and achieving meaning, satisfaction and fulfilment through sport, work, and life. He is a recognised sport psychology consultant and has worked with several professional and Olympic teams and athletes as well as NCAA athletic departments and developmental athletes. Mark is active in several professional organizations including the International Society for Sport Psychology, American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). In this episode Mark and I speak about theories of performance excellence.
63:33 11/13/23
#257 Dr Alison Maitland & Jenna Ashford - Achieving Your Potential in Sport and Life
In this episode I’m joined by Dr Alison Maitland and Jenna Ashford to talk about their new book “Drop the Struggle: A Transformative Approach to Achieving Your Potential in Sport and Life”. Alison is a widely recognised and experienced HCPC registered and BASES accredited Sport Psychologist. She has a PhD in elite sport and uses her expertise in human performance in a wide range of settings in sport and businesses around the world. Alison has helped elite athletes achieve World Championship titles and Olympic success. Jenna is a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist and Performance Consultant, working with top athletes, CEO's at global companies and within sectors including education and healthcare. Jenna is also a passionate sportswoman and represented England Hockey and played in premier league teams all over the world. Their book, “Drop the Struggle” is based on scientifically proven techniques from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and takes a radically new look at the mental side of reaching your potential in sport. It has been written for athletes, coaches and anyone wanting to achieve more and provides a practical kitbag of ways to succeed. It will teach you a sustainable way of dealing with difficult thoughts, managing your emotions and harnessing them to help you perform to the best of your ability.
52:27 11/6/23
#256 Dr James Munnik & Prof Leon Van Niekerk - Developing Psychological Skills and Rational Thinking
In this episode I’m joined by Dr James Munnik and Prof Leon Van Niekerk. James is a Counselling Psychology Lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. James has worked with a number of athletes in his own private practice as a high performance mental coach in psychotherapy and counselling. He has special interests in sport/exercise psychology research and Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT) theory and practice. Leon is a Professor of Psychology at University of Fort Hare in South Africa. He is a registered Counselling Psychologist and has his own psychology consultancy practice where he focuses on the provision of sport psychological services to individual athletes and teams. Leon’s research interests are in the psychological well-being of athletes. This includes topics such as the development of mental toughness, sport identity and life roles, burnout, stress and anxiety among athletes, the effectiveness of mindfulness during competition, mental health in sport and the psychological health benefits of exercise. In this episode we discuss a paper entitled “Recommendations for Integrating Psychological Skills Training (PST) into Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT)” which was led by James and co-written by Dr Martin Turner and Leon.
81:17 10/30/23
#255 Dr Chris Mesagno - Choking Interventions in Sports
On this week’s episode I speak to Dr Chris Mesagno. Chris is a sport psychologist, a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Victoria University, and a Research Fellow at the Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University.  Chris has over 20 years of research expertise in stress, anxiety, attention and concentration skills and has successfully developed theory-matched interventions to improve performance for highly anxious and “choking-susceptible” athletes. Chris also worked, and continues to work, with numerous athletes from a range of team and individual sports to enhance mental skills for better performance and mental health outcomes. Chris maintains a robust academic research profile with more than 50 research articles and book chapters and has given various presentations at national and international conferences. This international research profile has been recognised with awards and keynote conference presentations within sport and exercise psychology. In this episode we focus on a paper led by Dr Peter Gröpel and co-written by Chris entitled “Choking interventions in sports: A systematic review”. The purpose of the paper is to provide an overview of studies that have tested interventions used to alleviate choking. The results of the paper may help athletes and coaches select and implement effective strategies and methods to improve performance under pressure.
66:56 10/23/23
#254 Dr Ella McLoughlin & Dr Rachel Arnold - How Stressors Influence Sport Performers’ Health, Well-being, and Performance
In this episode I’m joined by Dr Ella McLoughlin and Dr Rachel Arnold. We discuss a paper that was led by Ella which examines how stressors influence sport performers’ health, well-being, and performance. Ella is a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Nottingham Trent University. Her research interests span the topics of lifetime stressor exposure, the enhancement of health, well-being, and performance, and psychophysiological responses to acute stressors among athletes. Ella is a member of the Sport, Health, and Performance Enhancement (SHAPE) Research Centre. She has published in peer-reviewed journals in the area of stress, health, and performance and has presented her work at national and international conferences. Rachel is the Academic Director (Doctoral) and a Reader in Sport and Performance Psychology at the University of Bath. Rachel is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, registered Practitioner Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council, accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist with the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Chartered Scientist with The Science Council, and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Rachel’s research looks at how individuals and organisations can optimally manage stress to enable thriving, predominantly in sport but also in high pressure domains. She has published widely in leading peer-reviewed journals on the area of stress, performance, and well-being.
54:20 10/16/23

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