Sport Psychology

Whether it is engaging in recreational sport and leisure activities or competing at an international level, the application of sport psychology is broadly concerned with helping individuals attain a psychological approach to training and performance that is beneficial, rather than detrimental to individuals’ experience. Clients range from individuals looking to improve performance, manage emotions, enhance confidence, to teams wanting to be ‘pulling in the same direction’, to groups of individuals looking to find out a little more about sport and exercise psychology generally, or specific aspects (e.g. managing motivation, enhancing skill acquisition, controlling attention). 

Why should I have sport psychology support?

Psychological support is available to athletes and ‘teams’ (in the broadest sense) interested in enhancing their experience of, and performance in, sport and exercise.  Evidence suggests that individuals spend little deliberative time trying to improve their psychological approach to training and competition. While some gains occur merely as a result of the experiences individuals have as part of competitive sport and exercise, often individuals can benefit from some structured developmental psychological training, similar to how a structured physical fitness programme may improve the rate at which physical fitness is acquired.

Individuals are typically aware of instances when their psychological approach to training and/or competition is working against them, rather than in their favour. In these circumstances individuals may often approach sport and exercise psychologists to try and ‘fix’ these issues. Although, sport and exercise psychology can be reactive, it can also be proactive and developmental, building upon and enhancing the good aspects of what you may already be doing. Just as you may physically train to enhance performance, psychological training can be used to develop, rather than troubleshoot your ‘mental game’.

Who is sport psychology for?

Sport and exercise psychology is for any individual involved with support who wishes to enhance their psychological state, or approach to competitive performance. Although sport psychology support is often directed towards athletes and coaches, support can also be provided to parents, officials, and support staff (e.g. physiotherapists) who may wish to enhance their understanding of how to support athletes.

Who delivers the psychology support?

Sport Psychology support in the department is led by Dr Mark Uphill. Mark is a BASES Accredited Sport Scientist and HCPC Registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist, with over 10 years’ experience of providing support to individual athletes and teams from club through to international levels. Mark has a particular expertise in the management of athletes’ emotions (see research profile).

What can I expect if I book an appointment?

The first session typically provides you with an opportunity to talk about ‘where you’re at’ and is led by YOU. You will of course have the opportunity to ask any questions and to address any concerns that you may have, and you are not obliged to undertake any further sessions following the first appointment. At the end of the first session we will decide  together, how things might best proceed, and that will be undertaken on a client-by-client basis. For example, sometimes clients prefer to work on a session-by-session basis, others prefer to have a number of sessions directed toward a particular outcome, and others (such as managers) may request different types of support at different occasions (coach workshops, athlete ‘clinics’, and electronic support while abroad). At Sports Lab we work hard to provide a bespoke and professional service drawing collectively on the requirements of the client coupled with the best available scientific evidence.

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