LIQUID SPORT PSYCHOLOGY
Sport psychology is the study of how the mind influences sport performance and how sport participation can influence the mind. The interrelated nature of how mind affects performance and how performance affects mind means that sport psychology is a liquid concept. Those within sport (coaches, athletes, and their parents) need to adapt when the challenge of maintaining sport performance trickles down into how we understand ourselves in a sporting context.
I have worked with elite junior tennis players for the past 15 years and acquired comprehensive knowledge and insights about elite junior sport. I completed my PhD in 2019, studying sport psychology in elite junior tennis coaching culture because I have been fascinated by this context ever since my experiences as an elite junior player myself and now as an experienced coach.
My research into sport psychology shows that the attitudes and behaviours in sport reflect similar attitudes and behaviours that occur in everyday society. There is no final state of perfection for any of us but athletes and their coaches in elite sport search for ways to achieve marginal gains that give them an advantage over the competition.
Sport provides similar challenges to those we experience in everyday life – competition, managing relationships, resolving conflicts, evaluating success, maintaining confidence, coping with stressors. Liquid Sport Psychology uses bespoke models to help athletes and coaches understand their sporting challenges. Once you strip away abstract sports science theory you see sporting challenges for what they really are, the same challenges we face and overcome in everyday life.
Coaching is a dynamic and social activity where coaches work tirelessly to meet the needs of their athlete. Coaches like athletes are performers in their own right and it is important that coaches receive support to sustain their professional performance.
Research tells us that coaching is a challenging profession. Liquid Sport Psychology uses a bespoke model of expertise development that can help coaches understand how and why the challenging nature of coaching can influence their effectiveness, their motivation, and their professional self-understanding.
Accepting the challenges inherent within coaching combined with their possible effects on performance is the first step to creating coping strategies and coaching philosophies to promote effectiveness and well-being in coaching.
I use specialist sport psychology knowledge to give coaches further insight into coaching from 3 different perspectives (player / coach / parent). In the first consultation I discuss issues that may arise for each coach, for example:
Athlete related issues – Empathetic accuracy between coach and player, player meta perspectives and their effect on player behaviour, talent development environment.
Parent related issues – Unintentional pressure, reverse dependency, power relations in the athlete triad.
Coach related issues – Self-employment, competition between coaches, professional self-understanding.
I work with coaches to create an individualised personal development programme based on issues we identify in the first consultation. I offer the following services to coaches:
- One to One Mentoring (Face to face, telephone, or Skype)
- Coaching Psychology Seminars – LTA Accredited
My work is published by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), International Tennis Federation (ITF), and Sport Coaching Review. A list of my peer review articles are listed below:
“The Challenges Facing Young Tennis Coaches” – (ITF) – Download here
“Accepting The Challenges Of Coaching. How Experienced Coaches Adapt – (ITF) – Download here
“Preoccupation with results can be damaging for young coaches” – Download here
An autoethnography showing the effects of anxiety on a young coaches’ behaviour.
If you would like to find out more information about the services on offer please use the form below or call Dr Callum Gowling on 0787 2990251