Emotions, Sport And Performance

Are you still trying to feel a certain way in order to perform at your best? Madalyn explains why you might want to consider another approach.

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS – JUNE 14 2014: Dutch team captain Maartje Paumen can’t suppress her emotions after winning the World Championships Hockey 2014.

Emotions, Sport And Performance

  • As sport psychologists and performance psychologists, we are often asked for ways to improve emotional management. So, what exactly does this involve?
  • Through variations of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, we can learn to manage our emotions in more helpful ways.
  • At Condor Performance the goal of our emotions work is mainly to teach clients how to perform at the highest possible level whilst experiencing the full range of emotions. It is not about helping them feel better or a certain way.
  • If you’d like more information about our performance psychology services, complete the form on our Contact Us page.

Please Make Me Feel Better! 

In our profession, we deal with emotions every single day. Athletes and performers often ask us how they can learn to feel better. Most of the time, this is a desire to feel a certain way on competition day. A day that is often riddled with a whirlwind of emotions from excitement to anxiety and everything in between. Our work around emotions often begins with a deep dive into reality.

We’re probably never going to feel great on these highly meaningful days. And we will certainly never feel great before and during all competitive situations. As fellow psychologist Peter Clarke mentions in this Podcast interview, “We have this thing in our mind of I gotta feel perfect, calm and confident and THEN I’ll perform well. Mate, if that’s the case, you’re going to perform well for a very small portion of the time.”

Our first job as Psychologists is to help our clients let go of the idea of wanting to control how they feel. Emotions aren’t something we have a huge amount of influence over. Athletes and performers often come to us to learn how to eliminate the “negative” emotions and replace them with positive ones.

In their defence, this is often what is taught to us from a very young age. Remember this from the movie A League of Their Own? “There’s No Crying in Baseball.” Great film but awful advice.

Emotions And Performance

During the initial Kick Start Session with new clients, we often hear stories of emotional struggles on game day. Performers often describe the many ways in which they try to control these uncomfortable feelings. We get remarkable insight into how much impact feelings seem to have on their performance. To understand how to manage emotions, we must first understand exactly what they are.

Why Do We Feel Things?

Athletes and performers need to understand why humans experience emotions. In short, they play a very important role in our survival. There are countless examples, but the classic is the natural human feeling of fear. Being afraid of snakes, for example, is jolly useful. This fear is a major deterrent to going anywhere near anything resembling a snake. Even though most snakes are nonvenomous, we typically leave them alone, mostly thanks to fear.

The Amygdala (the brain’s emotional centre) produces emotions mainly to warn or reward us. The well-known fight or flight response is basically about our internal warning system. It’s hugely beneficial in survival situations but not so much in most performance scenarios.

Survival vs Performance

So, what we know about emotions is that within a survival framework, they’re great at keeping us alive. However, emotions in the performance domain have a habit of getting in the way of us doing the things we already know how to do well. Our job as psychologists is to challenge the consensus that emotions directly impact our performance. That is, to challenge the idea if I feel “bad” (i.e. nervous, anxious, doubtful) on game day, I’ll inevitably perform “poorly”. One of the first questions we will often ask a new client is this one.

“How do you view the relationship between emotions and performance? If I were to draw an arrow between the two, which direction would the arrow be pointing, and what would this mean?”

Nine times out of ten, the response I get is something like this. “How I feel usually determines how I perform”. But if we rarely feel fantastic come performance day due to our Amygdala, then we’re in trouble, no?

The Reality Of Emotions in Sport

Little do most people know that the power we attribute to emotions makes them so problematic. We assume greats like Roger Federer are all calm before and during matches. The fact is that even the best athletes in the world feel the full range of emotions we experience before an important event. Sometimes, we forget they are humans with a pumping amygdala like you and I.

Their ability to welcome and embrace these emotions and perform at a high level with them present has made them so good in their performance domain. The ability to do this is a skill that can be developed by anyone. And just like learning the right [biomechanical] technique, the earlier this becomes a habit, the better.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

The main coaching framework we work within at Condor Performance is known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT (pronounced “act”) for short. This approach suggests that trying to get rid of unwanted emotions creates a lot of psychological distress. This psychological distress is almost always worse than the original feeling.

This often has a maladaptive impact on our behaviour (or, in this case, a negative impact on our performance). This is because we are trying to fight something we don’t have a lot of influence over. Attention is then taken away from basic muscle memory. Suddenly, a 4-foot put isn’t as easy as it was on the practice green earlier that day.

Through the mindful nature of ACT, we can learn to reduce the impact of emotions. How? By building awareness, making room for them, and learning to let these feelings come and go without a struggle.


ACT is an umbrella term for a range of mindfulness-based skills, with acceptance being one of the most useful and important. Through the skill of acceptance, our goal for athletes and performers is to help them open up to the uncomfortable feelings they experience as part of the human condition before accepting their presence and allowing them to be there rather than trying to avoid them. The idea behind acceptance is that if we learn to make room for emotions in our lives (without trying to fight them off), their power is ultimately diminished. ACT assumes that the struggle with and fighting off these emotions gives them their power over our actions.

The “Noticing Self”

There is a part of us that feels, and then there is a part that notices that we feel a certain way. Performers need to learn to notice their emotions as they arise and build more awareness of them – why? Because our default response to uncomfortable feelings is to turn away from them – try to suppress, avoid or escape them, or distract ourselves from them. This is problematic regarding the motor skills required in most sports. It stops you from doing what you are naturally very good at (e.g. kicking a soccer ball, etc).

A trap we often fall into in performance settings is getting sucked into this default response. Eventually, we become so caught up in getting rid of uncomfortable emotions (an impossible task) that we can’t be intensity aware, present and focused on what we must be doing.

To help athletes and performers develop the noticing skill, we ask them to practice intentionally and consciously noticing and acknowledging uncomfortable feelings. We might ask them to tell themselves what they feel silently. For example, “I’m noticing anxiety”, or “I notice I’m feeling worried”. Through accepting and noticing emotions, we can learn to sit with the discomfort and reduce its impact on our actions (motor skills).

Emotion Validation and Commitment

Without acknowledging the presence of uncomfortable emotions, we can invalidate our own experiences. When our most inner and private emotional experiences feel invalid, we risk falling victim to that unhelpful emotion default response (suppress, avoid, escape, distract). Following this, our default cognitive response is often “I shouldn’t feel this way” or “I should be able to handle this better”.

But at the end of the day, a choice must be made. The athlete or performer can choose to:

  1. Feel uncomfortable emotions and choose not to commit to their actions or
  2. Feel these uncomfortable emotions and commit to their actions despite them.

Through mental toughness training, we aim to empower individuals to choose the latter. With the help of skills such as acceptance, noticing and validation, the decision to commit becomes much easier. 

Learning to Embrace Emotion

At Condor Performance, we aim to guide athletes and performers towards a healthier relationship with emotions. Think about how boring life would be without them!

We know happiness only because we’ve experienced sadness, so it is important as part of the human condition that we choose to welcome all emotions, pleasant and unpleasant. In the performance domain, we often view emotion negatively, but rather than looking at it as a sign of weakness, we can see it as a sign that we’re living. If you need help in doing this, then get in touch.

Mental Skills For Younger Performers

“Mental Skills For Younger Performers” is the transcription of a 2024 Radio Interview that Darren Godwin did with Radio New Zealand.

Our very own Darren Godwin recently interviewed with Radio New Zealand, and his advice was so beneficial we decided to transcribe it and convert it into this brand-new feature article entitled Mental Skills For Younger Performers. Please add any and all questions and comments at the bottom, and Darren will endeavour to reply to each and every one. Note some edits have been made to the original to make it easy to read.

Catherine [The Interviewer]:

In parenting, we’re talking about how to help sporty kids deal with the psychological impact of winning, losing, and the pressures of competition.

Melbourne-based provisional psychologist Darren Godwin works with Australia’s largest sport and performance psychology practice, Condor Performance. Professional sports teams have the services of psychologists to help players navigate the ups and downs of competition and their own doubts and motivation. Darren says tween and teen athletes and their parents can benefit from the same assistance. Thanks for being with us.

Darren Godwin [The Interviewee]:

Hi, Catherine. Thanks for having me. How are you doing?


Really good. I want to make an observation at the outset, and that is what we’ve seen, and it’s become a source of some angst and debate about what seems like a growing kind of professionalisation of high school sports in particular. We’ve got schools with academies and kids in training programs. I have spoken to some physiologists worried about the level of training that some are going through while their bodies are still growing. What’s your starting point, and what’s happening in Australia concerning the sorts of quasi-professional sports that kids are coming up against quite young?


I think there are probably a couple of factors that can contribute to that, and one might be just that our world is more connected than ever before, so we can access and see people who do incredible things more easily. There are a lot of people who do incredible things around the world. So perhaps that pushes or incentivises us to start introducing that earlier and earlier into some of these education systems.


Some schools compete on this basis, and it’s not like, in our case, rugby and rowing and whatever haven’t always been sports where schools have prided themselves or built their reputation. Still, this idea of academies and quasi-professional training does seem to have spread. It’s just an observation. Is this what is on your mind, or is it more just in general for any young person playing competitive sport they’re going to come up against those highs and lows?


I think it’s more just a general sense of it. Sport offers some unique experiences that I think can provide a lot of areas to grow and develop as a person, and I think there are a lot of parallels between just some of the nature of things that happen within sports. How can we develop skills that support and enhance people to learn, grow, and handle those challenges life will throw our way, too?


Another general observation. You’ve gone there already in some ways. We seem to be having a generation that, for various reasons, is dealing with rising anxiety or has to manage anxiety. Your reference to how interlinked everything is and the overload that can be put on young brains and nervous systems is one factor. A pandemic interrupting their schooling and regular routine is another. But in general, is that on your mind also that resilience is something we need to work on with a generation of young people?


Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s helpful to acknowledge a mental skills component that we culturally don’t introduce to our younger audiences. We look at the systems and the education systems, facilities, things we’ve got set up there, there’s more of an emphasis on the knowledge, the learning and the connectivity, but not so much on the mental skills development. So, we are trying to build the capacity to learn how to handle those challenges and build resilience.


So, where do you begin? Let’s get some parameters around the kind of ages that we’re talking about, what’s appropriate, and what’s helpful at different ages and/or stages of development.


Sure. In my experience, at least, we work with anyone between the ages of ten, and maybe the oldest I’ve worked with is sixty-eight. So it can be for a variety of things. It could just be someone who is looking to be highly competitive. It could be someone just looking to enjoy their weekend competition more. A lot of what we do to support them is to help them with things like confidence in their skills and abilities, the confidence to execute what they’ve practised in any given conditions, the composure to manage their emotions under stressful situations and the commitment to trade-off, I guess, what might seem like something hard in the short term, but it’s going to provide a long-term benefit.

So when we look at those age brackets, the developmental brackets we’re talking about, young kids, we try to accentuate the fun and keep them involved.


We want them to have fun, right?




We don’t want to stress them out.


Social development, it is a highly social period for youngsters. They’re trying to connect with themselves in the world, so at a young age, we’re saying, “Hey, let’s look at the fun side of things a little bit more.”

Teenage years, it’s becoming a lot more social, but they’re becoming a lot more independent. They’re trying to figure out who they are and what they want to be in this world. So that is typically when we start to see more competitive things show up and still the same thing. It’s trying to help them understand what they want to do that’s going to help benefit them in the long run.


Let’s come back to those three points you’ve already touched on that are all interrelated. Let’s break them down. Let’s start with confidence. It’s about doing what you’re trained to do, but many things can get in the way, right?

But I wonder if we should start with number two, managing emotions and stressful situations. You’ll often see this in young kids, you’ll spot probably the champion at a very young age because they seem to manage to be calm. They seem to focus on fixing a mistake or concentrating on what they will do next. Then there’s someone else who’s angry, frustrated and throwing the tennis racket. So how do we begin to introduce and help kids with the skill to manage their emotions and the stress of competition? What sorts of things would you do?


When we’re talking about emotions, I always try to explain there are two components. One is the internal experience that’s happening with that emotion, what do we feel and the other is the expression of that emotion, what do we do?

So we try to separate the two so we can acknowledge and accept that you’re a human being and it’s okay to have all these emotions. They show up because it’s helpful for our survival and/or something matters to us in that moment. We don’t get emotional about things we don’t care about, so something matters to us at that moment.

So it’s building those mental skills to acknowledge, understand, and accept what emotion is showing up for me now, as well as how I express what I want to express. If we want to go one step further (what you said is I’m here with a task in front of me), how do I shift my focus to the task in front of me if that’s what’s most important?


So first of all, it’s that old thing as always with young people – validate what they’re feeling.




There’s also the … it’s dubbed red to blue, right? Athletes learn this at all levels. There’s your immediate rage reaction, stress reaction, or worry reaction, and you want to get to the calm blue ocean part of the brain to deal with the issue. In what ways would you deal with, say, an early teen or a mid-teen on the emotion in the moment? Is it a simple breathing skill or a calming skill? Is it self-talk? What kinds of skills can they add to their repertoire quite young?


Oh, I think maybe a mindfulness practice is probably something that they can start to do. Mindfulness is defined by two main points. One is contact with the present moment. And two is a reduced judgment of what’s happening in their current experience.

Like with all things, preparation is going to benefit this the most. So it’s trying to help and guide athletes to practice these things in advance so they’re not left in a situation where they must scramble and work out something on the fly. I guess a mindfulness practice is something that can be helpful. It can just start with a minute or two minutes of just observing and watching different experiences that are happening, tuning into one or some of our senses, what we see, smell, taste, touch or hear, and that can often be a good way to recenter us back into this moment right now.


Let’s work through perhaps the anticipation of a big event and the nerves and anxiety that can build over the days ahead. Is mental rehearsal still a big thing? Does it help to visualise where you’ll be, what you’ll be feeling, what you’ll be doing, where your locker will be, and where your gear will go? Is that something you can help develop as a skill as well?


Absolutely. Yes. Mental imagery, visualisation, and mental rehearsal are fantastic skills to help with our preparation. These mental skills have many benefits. First, you’re repeatedly putting yourself in that situation and becoming more familiar with it. Trying to recall with detail the things that you want to focus on, where you want to be, what you want to do and how it’s going to go, and that it’d be deeply connected to what you’ve trained and what you’ve practised.

Visualisation is also very accessible. If you can’t make training that day for whatever reason, it can be done in your home. It can be done alongside your training. Some good research shows the benefits of doing it alongside training, and it can be done when you’re injured. So it keeps you connected with the task and what you need to do.


It could also be very basic. I mean, it’s not necessarily just about the skills that you want to rehearse mentally. It can be like, “Okay, I’ve got a stressful day tomorrow. I’ve got to be ready to go at this time. What time am I getting up? I’m going to shower. I’m going to have my breakfast. I’m going to pack my bag, or I’ve got my bag packed.” Walking through all the steps that can cause stress and pressure. Right? It’s the anticipation of practising what you will go through.


Yes, absolutely. Another point to what you said is that it’s an acceptance or a connection. We’re not trying to avoid the stress that’s happening the next day.


We’re walking into it.


We’re walking into it.


So, with nerves and anxiety, what ways do you talk this through with young people? They are here to help us, that they can feel unpleasant, but that they serve a purpose? How do you help them harness them rather than be overrun by them?


I think just a little bit of education comes along with that. For example, just trying to understand the physiology, the biology that we have and how our body works, and these things are ultimately here to help us.

Then, if you break down the actual things that are happening physiologically for us, things like our heart rate going up, meaning we’ve got more blood going to our muscles, which means we’re going to be more ready to use those muscles with strength, power, and flexibility. Our pupils are dilating, and we can see things more clearly and easily identify moving objects. Usually, that alertness, that energy in our body, means that our reaction time is consistently sharp. So when you go through all of these things, and you ask an athlete this kind of things that benefit your sport, almost all the time, they’re going to benefit their performance or their sport in some way.


It will also benefit school work, exams, and other things that cause stress. How do you approach negative self-talk? Some people seem to have a natural talent for turning things around, and others, it’s always, “I won’t win this. I’ll get this far. I’m ahead, but I’m going to muck it up.” How do you talk through that self-talk intervention with people at this age?


I think it’s interesting at a young age because they haven’t necessarily had as much time to go further down that self-talk route and develop a habit or relationship with that self-talk.

So I might say something like if we’re going to cross a busy intersection and there are four lanes of traffic with cars and there are no lights and they’re all going very quickly, we’re going to think about … probably what we would say is negative things. “Oh, I might get hit by a car.” It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but it’s a very helpful thing to think about.

So it’s just trying to build this relationship that sometimes, as these negative things arise, can we practice identifying the context? What’s this situation? What’s happening right now? What’s important to me right now? Then, if it is important, let’s pay some attention to it. And if it’s not, we can practice letting go, and it’s that letting go part that I think is important in some sporting contexts because the sporting context triggers some of those things quite a lot.


Here’s a really good point actually to this point. “Like many kids his age, my 14-year-old dreams of a career in professional football. The chance of that working out is minuscule, but it’s all he wants to do. He detests the idea of doing anything else. He puts so much pressure on himself to perform and is crushed if he doesn’t shine on the park. Should I encourage him to chase his dream or be realistic? I’m torn.”


That’s a great question. It’s tough, and I think for parents out there, it’s just trying to guide them and go along with your child and help them discover it for themselves. It’s not to say that they can’t go down that path and then later find out that it’s not something meaningful for them. But it’s worth also just continually having conversations with them. “What’s important to you? What are you willing to try to do to see how this goes?” And try to be a supportive and open person who walks them along that journey with them. There will be moments where it’s hard, and I think we’re trying to be there for them in all moments, not just moments of success.


What happens over time, of course, and a lot of athletes (most athletes) find this out is they want to be this or that, but they’re not going to make the professional league. Still, they may have a very rewarding emitter or quasi-professional role. They may become sports psychologists or trainers or whatever.

It’s about focusing on the joy of participating in the sport. Hard, I know, when they’ve got very specific dreams, but ultimately, that’s what you want to be doing. Also, what do you learn in chasing a goal, whether or not it’s achieved?

I guess that’s another point to discuss. Setting goals can come to ones that you know you will tick off: “I’ve done my training this week, I’ve done this, I’ve done that. I’ve done the next thing, ” and those beyond your control. It is really important to teach kids about effort in any area. You focus on what you can do and reach for what’s beyond your control, but you accept it’s ultimately beyond your control. Yeah?


Yes, absolutely. That’s another great mental skill to start learning early, and they work well through the life cycle. It is the ability to identify what we can and can’t control. The tricky part happens when we think we have more control over something than we do. It’s often the case in sports, but yes, it can be as simple as writing things down on paper and trying to gauge yourself, maybe out of ten. Ten is for anything that I think I can guarantee. One, it’s a complete fluke that it happens. How much influence do I think I have over these things?


So, you can have a goal of winning the tennis tournament, but what you need is the mental attitude that what you can do is all your preparation, all your training, all your readiness, your best performance. The goal of winning is what you are reaching for, but you can’t control that. That is a skill that great performers will learn somewhere along the line. And this is arguably one of the most invaluable mental skills for younger performers, correct?




Darren, thanks very, very much. Darren Godwin is with Condor Performance. He’s a performance psychologist with Condor Performance in Australia.

Sport Psychology Into The Future

Sport psychologist Gareth J. Mole muses about where sport psychology is headed and guesses what the field will look like in 2050.

What will sport psychology look like in the year 2050?

Back From The Future

Ok, readers, I borrowed a time machine and just returned from the year 2050. And you will not believe what I saw. Doncaster Rovers F.C. won the English Premier League yet gain. And sport psychology is nothing like it is in 2024. It’s mainstream, normal, and regarded as the most important part of competitive sports.

Forecasting the future is one of the most remarkable aspects of being human. No other species can do it quite like we can. But it’s both a blessing and a curse. The upside is our ability to plan and do things three moves ahead of our opponents. The downside is wasting mental energy, such as “I just know I am going to play poorly tomorrow”.

Sport Psychology In 2050?

During several interviews between UK sport psychologist Dan Abrahams and his guests on the highly recommended The Sport Psych Show, he asked them to imagine using a time machine to go back in time. I thought it might be fun and thought-provoking to use it to go into the future instead!

In this article, I will predict what the sport psychology landscape will look like 25 years from now. Like Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale (creators of the Back To The Future Trilogy), I will make some educated guesses. Feel free to save a copy and then get in touch in 2050. This might be hard as I plan to be fully retired by then.

Let me know how accurate or inaccurate they turn out to be. I will not, in this article, focus on the problematic aspects of future-based thinking. But I will say this. We now know that one of the key aspects of sporting mental toughness is being able to focus at will on the present moment. In other words, there are many occasions in a competitive sporting situation in which we literally want to ‘turn off’ our ability to think about the future. More on this will be discussed in another article (which, when written, I will link here).

3 Majors Changes To Sport Psychology Are Coming

I hypothesise three major changes in the coming decades to dramatically change what sport psychology looks like. My predication is that the following will occur or have happened by the middle of this century.

  • The phasing out of generic (non-sport specific) sport psychology.
  • The phasing in of much greater checks about qualifications (or lack thereof).
  • A spike in sporting coaches working 1-on-1 with sport psychologists/performance psychologists. And the first few head coaches are, in fact, sports psychologists themselves.

I will now go into more detail about each of the above.

Phasing Out of Generic Sport Psychology

By the end of this decade, it will be universally accepted that the ‘interventions’ used to help someone with clinical depression are different from ‘the mental tools’ used to motivate a mentally well athlete whose training enthusiasm has dropped. For those who are reading this who think this has already happened, trust me, it hasn’t. But we are getting there.

This move towards more specificity will continue past 2030. More and more people will accept that snooker and boxing are too different to be aided by the same psychological tools. There are so many sports now, and we can’t pretend they all have the same mental requirements and solutions.

Let’s Consider A Couple Of Key Questions

  • How much do the general strategies used by most (non-sport) psychologists apply to athletes and coaches who are trying to improve the mental aspects of their performance or coaching abilities?
  • How ‘transferable’ are various mental skills from one performance area to another? Or even from one specific sport to a different sport?

When trying to answer the first question, we must be careful not to imply that all psychologists use the same models. However, some well-established frameworks are likely to be more prevalent than others. That is for sure. So, how easily do these methods apply to sport and performance? The simple answer, in my opinion, is ‘about one-third’.

For example, if the athlete is functionally well (without a recognised mental illness) then at Condor Performance we would not focus significant attention on a long and detailed history of the client’s mental health and wellbeing. We would most likely measure it via the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale every couple of months to keep an eye on it. However, most sports psychology sessions would be related to the mental aspects of the client’s sport.

This is not to say that some mental methods we often use from the get-go don’t have clinical origins. But the final versions presented to our clients would be largely unrecognisable to our non-performance colleagues.


A great example of this would be our approach to goal setting. When we help our clients set goals, we often introduce a level of accountability to these targets that some mental health practitioners might find objectionable.

But from our standpoint, this level of accountability is a key ingredient in helping them get to the next level. It can be confronting for the client (‘You committed to 5 hours of practice a week, this didn’t occur, what happened?’), and we will use that to further the discussion by asking lots of ‘why’ questions.

A practitioner with more of a mental health angle might default to just making the client feel better about this type of non-compliance. (‘You committed to 5 hours of practice a week; this didn’t occur, totally understandable given the current challenges’).

Another example might be mindfulness. Mindfulness looks rather different when doing something at home with few outside distractions than the version you might use in the arena. And the version you might use on the golf course is hopefully only partially the same as what a competitive tennis player might adopt.

How Transferable

So, how ‘transferable’ are mental skills from one performance area to another? Or even from one specific sport to another? In answering this question, I often use the rule of thirds. About one-third of the mental ideas are due to generic sport psychology principles. Another third wants to acknowledge that although Olympic Bob-sleighing and Clay Target Shooting are both sports, they are vastly different pursuits. And the final third is further adapting the mental training program to that individual. To that person’s personality and learning styles. Two clay target shooters should never be treated the same.

In other words, the sports psychology services we’d deliver to a competitive pro golfer with a drinking problem and a rugby league coach looking to improve their coaching abilities might only have a 15 to 20% crossover. One of the commonalities between these very different hypothetical clients might be the use of some key aspects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

For example, educational processes around “we are not our thoughts” might be useful for both. I have found a Behaviour-first approach universally beneficial in my sports psychology work regardless of who I am sitting in front of.

Some Sports Are Mentally Very Similar

Although I predict a phasing out of generic sport psychology, we need to remember that some sports are psychologically very similar. When you put the technical and tactical aspects to one side, the same mental tools should work for certain sports. The best example that comes to mind is the work we do around Short Performance Routines to aid concentration and execution under pressure. In helping a golfer create or improve his or her Pre Shot Routine(s) the principles will be almost identical in working a snooker player on their PSR.

Greater Checks about Qualifications

This is how I think it will work in 2050. If you want to charge a fee for advice on X then you need some approved qualification in X. No exceptions. So, if you want to be a personal trainer who goes to people’s houses and gives fitness advice in exchange for a fee, you’ll need to be genuinely qualified. I gather the whole physical conditioning industry is trying to make this happen.

Psychology for elite sports is years behind our S&C friends, but we will catch up. Over the next 30 years, there will be a gradual phasing out of entities charging a fee for psychological advice (even if they call it something else) who don’t have some kind of approved training in psychology.

This is a very difficult area, and I suspect that more than a few tears will be shed along the way. The hardest part will be to get everyone to agree on what ‘approved training in psychology’ means. And then afterwards, educating the public in such a way as to reduce assumptions that Mindset Coach and a Sport Psychologist are one and the same.

More Coaches Working 1-on-1 With Sport Psychologists

This has already started to happen. In 2005, I worked with no sporting coaches. In 202,4 roughly a third of all my monthly clients are coaches. The premise is very simple. Coaching education programs worldwide lack highly effective mental toughness training elements. We could try and improve all of these coach ed programs or even ask the coaches to do ‘approved training in psychology’, but there is an easier and better way. All sporting coaches, especially at the elite level, will be working behind the scenes with a genuine expert in sporting mental toughness.

This coach-sport psychologist collaboration will eventually result in sport psychologists taking up positions as assistant coaches. Then eventually getting the ‘top job’ themselves. When this happens, and these professionals are successful, and stick with the title of sport psychologist over Head Coach or Manager whilst in the top job, we can then say we’ve made it.

If you are a sporting coach and want to get ahead of the curve, then start by completing this questionnaire. This questionnaire will assess, amongst other factors, your current mental coaching abilities. One of our team will then contact you within a day or two with details about how to work alongside of of our team of sport/performance psychologists.