Sport Psychology Tips

Some Free Sport Psychology Tips to help you perform better by leading performance psychologist David Barracosa of Condor Performance

26 Free Sport Psychology Ideas

An A to Z Guide To SportsPsychology

Although sport psychology can be a complex and quickly evolving field it can still allow for some “quick wins”. With this in mind please enjoy these Sport Psychology Tips and don’t forget to add your comments below!

A is for Attitude

It may be surprising but in our work, as sport and performance psychologists we actually don’t refer to attitude much. Attitude is just one of many type of human cognition. When a coach refers to an athlete as having ‘the right attitude’ he or she is probably suggesting that this athlete’s values and beliefs are in line with their own.

For example, both might regard sporting results as important but not as important as hard work and effort. The most interesting aspect of attitude is it is often assessed via observations (a coach watching an athlete in training). Due to this it is probably body language that is actually being appraised. Attitude, if we take the term literally, is not directly observable as it’s occurring inside the mind.

B is for Body Language

Body language is a fascinating area of performance psychology. Research suggests that it dominates how we communicate compared with the actual words we use. In sporting contexts, this makes even more sense as it is quite normal for there to be little or no verbal communication. With maybe the exception of the captains or leaders of sporting teams, most athletes of most sports don’t say very much during both training and whilst competing.

For this majority, communicating with either teammates or opponents is taking place via the body. By the body, we mean entire body from facial expressions to posture to hand gestures and everything in between. How do you improve body language? I would suggest starting out by filming yourself in a variety of situations and then watch it back with the sound off.

C is for Consistency

Sometimes we refer to consistency as ‘the holy grail’ of competitive sport. As can be read in this extensive blog by our colleague Chris Pomfret improved consistency is really just the consequence of taking the mental side of your sport seriously.

D is for Determination

Determination is very similar to the mental concept as motivation without being a synonym. Motivation, at least as defined by our coaching philosophy Metuf, is more about enthusiasm, enjoyment, desire and dreams. Determination might be a good word to refer to the actions we continue with during times in which the enthusiasm for our sport is not there. One of the most common examples of this is when the scoreboard is not in your favour (no way to win with time remaining). Yet, despite this you decide to preservative anyway. This is a great example of sporting determination.

E is for Enjoyment

The enjoyment we’re referring to in this instance is the kind that most kids tend to have towards their sport before it becomes ‘serious’. The fun of chasing the ball more than getting to it first. The issue is, this enjoyment tends to dissipate once the stakes increase. Far too many sporting coaches become far too intense during competitions due to a lack of sport psychology training during their accreditation. This is one of the many reasons why we have always wanted to work 1-on-1 with sporting coaches.

F is for Focus 

Learning to improve focus is actually one of the easier mental skills. It really boils down to knowing when and how to switch on – and then practising this like any other skill. There are many great examples of how to do this but amongst the most effective are the short performance routines that I wrote about in our last blog article. I say easier in comparison to various other mental skills which although very effective can be somewhat critic in nature.

There is no getting away from the fact that training the mind is always going to be a trickier mountain to climb due to the investable nature of what we’re targeting for improvement. For example, areas such as focus.

G is for Grit 

Grit is a term which has gained a lot of momentum recently due mainly to the works of Angela Duckworth (see YouTube video below). Grit is defined via it’s Wikipedia page as a “…non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state (a powerful motivation to achieve an objective). This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie on the path to accomplishment and serves as a driving force in achievement realisation. Distinct but commonly associated concepts within the field of psychology include “perseverance”, “hardiness“, “resilience“, “ambition”, “need for achievement” and “conscientiousness“.

Our monthly clients, as well as long-time readers of the Mental Toughness Digest, will rightly feel that many of these words – perseverance, effort, ambition are very familiar to them as they are cornerstone concepts of Metuf.

H is for Hard Work

There is simply no substitute for hard work. 

I is for Influence

Knowing the amount of influence you have on some of the more common aspects of your sport (or performance areas) is mighty useful. A great little exercise you can do is to start a simple three-column table. The heading of the first column is ‘Lots of Influence’, for the second write “Some Influence” and for the final one label it “Little Influence”.

Now start to fill in the table with whatever comes to mind. For example, you might be spending a lot of time thinking about an upcoming competition combined with memories of how you did at the same venue last year. So you might decide to put the Future in the middle column and the Past in the right-hand column – for instance.

J is for Junior Sport

If I were in charge of sport in a particular state or country I would flip funding so that the vast majority of recourses went into the junior or developmental side of sports. In other words, the best coaches, equipment and facilities normally only accessible to the top 0.1% of athletes would be diverted to athletes under the age of 16.

For example, those regarded as the very best coaches – like Wayne Bennett in rugby league – would be invited to coach junior rugby league players instead. I would make sure that whatever position was created for this had the same or greater salary as top-flight professional coaches.

K is for Keeping Going

Maybe the most powerful cue words in sport. Your mind will virtually always quit on you before your body does. Tell it to Keep Going and see what happens.

L is for Learning

There is a reason why some of the very best sporting coaches of all time – for example, Jake White – are formers teachers. They treat the process of performance enhancement as one long learning experience for both themselves and their players. The most appealing aspect of this angle is that poor performances are used as learning opportunities. Errors, for example, are considered as invaluable elements of feedback – data that can be used to inform better choices moving forward. 

M is for Monitoring

If you are not monitoring at least one aspect of your endeavours you’re missing out. At Condor Performance we encourage our sporting and non-sporting clients to record one or more “monthly checks”. As can be read in detail from this recent blog post these monthly checks are like our key performance indicators. As long as you know the right number of monthly checks to monitor (not too many) and the amount of influence you have on each of these results (not as much as you think) there is zero downsides to this kind of self-monitoring and plenty of upsides.


N is for Numbers

Whether you like it or not competitive sport – especially at the elite level – is full of numbers. In fact certain sports, like cricket and baseball are so mathematical in nature that the coaches of these sports would be forgiven for thinking of themselves more like statisticians from time to time. This is one of the reasons why we encourage our monthly clients to monitor their own progress – to allow them to function, even thrive in a results-oriented world. The other reasons have already been mentioned above in the M for monitoring.

O is for Objectivity

Both the M and the N above help with objectively but alone might not be enough. Objectively is roughly the opposite of subjectively with the latter being heavy on opinions with the former much more based on facts. For example, it’s quite normal for athletes and coaches to assess past performances based mostly (or only) on memory or even worse, based on the final result. This is highly subjective and a bit like any human pursuit we’d want to be careful about how much of our analysis is subjective. Objective analysis – for example, the number of missed tackles –  will be more valuable as the numbers don’t lie.

Actually, this is not true – numbers can lie but are less likely to do so than opinions.

P is for Pressure

‘Pressure’ is one of the most fascinating aspects of sports psychology. For a start, it’s 100% internal – it’s a feeling with very real physiological sensations – a little bit like hunger. Because it’s going on inside it’s less tangible and therefore harder to manage. To start with, it’s really important not to consider pressure as being good or bad. Let me use hunger to explain. Hunger, for most of us, is simply a signal for us to go an eat something. Once we do, the hunger goes away. The food that alleviates the hunger that is pressure is practice. That’s right, high-quality practice is like a pile of organic veggies.

Of course, there is also a benefit to learning to deal with hunger/pressure in case there is no food/practice available. By far the best way to do this – in my opinion – is to work with a qualified sport/performance psychologist like one of the members of our team.

Q is for Quantity and Quality

This is how we break down practice or effort. Quantity is ‘how much’ and wants to be in the right amount. Quality is how good and wants to be as high as possible. We often find it useful to multiply these together. For example, if the highest score for each is 10 then combined the highest score is 100.

What number did your last training session get?

R is for Routines

See my recent blog post for a full break down on routines.

S is for Stigma

There are still a huge number of people out there whose beliefs about what sports psychologists or performance psychologists do get in the way of us being able to help them. The stigma comes from the word ‘psychologist’ which too many people still associate with having some kind of mental problem. The general premise of working with a psychologist being a sign of weakness needs to be broken. A band-aid solution to this is to refer to ourselves as a coach or performance coaches or mental skills trainers instead. The issue with this is it doesn’t help to remove the stigma. Also, it seems a pity not to be able to use the title psychologist that took us seven or so years to earn.

T is for Time Management

Being able to manage your own time, your needs and your wants is one of the most underrated of all mental skills. I work with a LOT of young elite athletes (teenagers on track to be the world’s best in their chosen sport) and on the whole, they come to me with either poor or non-existent time management skills. Sometimes, a simple suggestion like buying a $5 diary to start recording upcoming commitments can do wonders in terms of accountability, planning, knowing when to say ‘no’ or ‘yes’ to invitations and moving their mindset more towards effort and further from results. For more on Time Managment see this separate post.

U is for Unity

If you’d like to learn more about how to improve the team unity of your team then watch the Unity video from the Metuf online program by clicking here.

V is for Values and W is for Why

Our values and beliefs guide our thoughts so if you’d like to update your daily thought processes then it can be a good idea to think about your values. By values, we really mean what you consider to be valuable or important. A nice little exercise to get the ball rolling is to simply list everything you consider to be important in your life and why. For example, you might write ‘8 hours of sleep a night’ and follow that with ‘because it helps me get the most of various training sessions the following day’. The ‘why’ part is very important as this links our endeavours to our internal motivation.

X is for eXcellence

Are you striving for excellence? Do you want to become excellent at what you do? How would you define and measure excellence? Is your training excellence? Do you know how to increase your chances of becoming the best possible athlete or coach you can be? If not get in touch and we’ll lend you a hand.

Y is for Yourself

One of the best ways of helping others is to look after yourself first.

Z is for Zest

Zest is one of the traits that we look for when we are interviewing psychologists looking to join our team of sport and performance psychologists. Do they have a passion for sports and helping athletes and coaches become better versions of themselves? If not, getting up at 5 am to deliver a Skype session to a monthly client from another country might just prove to be too hard.

Decision Making In Sport

Sport psychologist Gareth J. Mole looks at the often overlooked role that decision making plays in the outcome of sporting contests.

Decision Making in Sport
Decision Making in Sport

One of the core concepts of our Metuf model is that we break “performance preparation” down into five parts. There is some debate about the pros and cons of separating performance like this. After all, they’re all related to one another. For example it takes a certain level of motivation – a mental state – to improve muscle strength – a physical component. Our argument is that if you focus on each part as a separate entity then any “crossover” benefit that rubs off onto another area is a bonus to your improvement. Whereas lumping them all together can result in incorrectly assuming you’re doing more than you are. Decision making in sport is a great example of this. In my experience ‘in the trenches’ as a sport psychologist for the last 15 years decision making is rarely targeted by itself.

Specificity is Special

I often tell the anecdote of the coach who once told me he used to get his players to run up sand dunes in extreme temperatures in order (in his mind) to improve their mental toughness. Risky, risky, risky. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are some nice mental benefits of doing this (the most obvious to come to mind is an improvement in the confidence of being able to ensure extreme conditions while exhausted) but that’s a very, very small part of good mental performance.

Those familiar with our Metuf model will know that we use an analogy of the competitive athlete being like a 4 engines aeroplane. In this analogy, the actual main body of the plane is like health and wellbeing. Attached to this are the four engines. Each of which is a key aspects of sports performance. The two on the left wing are ‘below the neck’ in Technical Wisdom and Physical Capabilities. To two on the right wing are ‘above the neck’. They are Mental Toughness and Tactical Wisdom.

Tactical Wisdom is Decision Making in Sport Contexts

Recently a number of our 1-on-1 clients have been asking us for more and more input into their Tactical Wisdom. ‘TW’ is very tricky as in theory it’s entirely mental yet the coaching of these “in the moment” decisions is, and always wants to be, the domain of sporting coaches not a sport psychologists. This is one of the many reasons why it makes so much sense for us to work more directly with coaches.

I’m going to use two examples from different sports here to emphasise my point. First, the decision faced by a golfer whether to “lay up” short of a creek located just before the green or “go for it” by attempting to hit the ball directly over the creek onto the green. Second, the decision by a striker in football (soccer) when near the penalty area to “have a shot” or pass the ball to a teammate.

Risk Versus Reward

Both of these scenarios have what we call a “risk and reward” assessment to them. None of the four options mentioned are obviously terrible and therefore the goal is to train your mind to “make the best decision according to the specifics competitive situation”. Most decision making errors take place when the emotion of the moment trumps the competition situation. Here’s a clue about how to not let that happen (and yes, it requires a bit of hard work).

First, you’re much more likely to make an unemotional decision if it’s a scenario that’s been “mapped out” already. The more often it’s been mentally rehearsed beforehand, the better. This is best done by what we call the “If Blank Then Blank” exercise. Let’s go back to our two examples above.

Although there might seem like an overwhelming number of scenarios, if you really think about it there are probably only half a dozen or so. For example:

“If stroke play then lay up”.

“If match play then go for green”.

But maybe that’s too simple so these might be better:

If stroke play and a par 5 then lay up”.

If stroke play and windy then lay up”.

If stroke play and leading then lay up”.

If stroke play and less than 3 shots within the lead then lay up”.

If any another situation then go for the green”.

And for the other example, the footballer:

“If ball is on / near my right foot with no defender near then shoot”.

“If any other scenario then pass”

If Blank Then Blank”

Human brains are remarkable at learning these “If Blank Then Blank” right from when we’re newborns. Think about it; “If hungry then cry”. And it carries on all the way to adulthood. “If red or amber light then slow down and stop”. Certain commentators have and continue to object to the fact that this exercise appears to bring “thinking” into what really want to be instinctive actions.

Our answer to this is simple. There’s no escaping the fact that certain moments in certain sports require a lot of decision making. The “If Blank Then Blank” exercise simply decreases the chances of a brain explosion while under pressure. In our experience, the greatest benefit of this is the reduction of one of performance excellence’s biggest threats – indecision.

I’m not sure if I’m taking the word too literally but indecision means a slowing of a decision due to being “in the decision”. Basically the decision making process (risk versus reward) is taking longer as it’s new.

In fact, indecision is so damaging to performance it would be fair to say that you’re better off making the wrong decision quickly and with confidence rather than the right one slowly and full of self-doubt.

Gareth J. Mole (sport psychologist)

If you’d some help to improve the decision making aspects of what you do please contact us by filling in this form. We typically reply in less than 24 hours.

Getting Into The Zone

Getting Into The Zone is something that sport psychologists have been helping athletes with for more than 50 years now

What, Or Where, Is The Zone?

Competing in sport, or even coaching it, brings with it a variety of emotions and mental experiences. Rightly or wrongly the positive ones have often been referred to as ‘the zone’. It’s not uncommon for athletes to say “I was in the zone today”. One of the more common requests we get is “can you help me get into the zone”?

The Zone and its cousin Flow are both describing a kind of effortless optimal performance. For both our internal process are not getting in the way of us being able to execute our skills to the best of our abilities.

These same internal experiences more commonly create barriers to effective performance. They can test an individual’s mental toughness by challenging their ability to self-regulate and manage these experiences constructively. Note the idea of “self-regulation” because we want our clients to develop the skills to do this on their own. Relying on others (which includes us as their performance psychologist) for this is a short term solution only.

Self Regulation is Psychbabble for Managing Your Emotions Yourself

The widely used Yerkes-Dodson Inverted U Stress Curve used to suggest that we should try and always be somewhat aroused. In other words, some nerves are better than no nerves before or during pressure situations.

This theory has two major flaws. Firstly, it overplays the role that emotions play in optimal performance. It incorrectly implies that athletes need to be feeling a certain way to perform at their best. We know this not to be true now. Both scientific and anecdotal evidence confirms that humans are quite capable of being excellent across a huge range of emotions. Secondly, the Yerkes-Dodson model suggests it’s bad to be too relaxed before you compete. This is BS. Unless you’re asleep and miss the opening whistle there is no downside to being very relaxed. In fact, if you decide to work 1-on-1 with one of our sport psychologists or performance psychologists then it’s likely they’ll introduce you to what we called the Relaxed Competition Mindset.

The Relaxed Competition Mindset

One way to begin to develop a Relaxed Competition Mindset is to understand the Zones of Awareness. These zones suggest that we can attend to information through three different zones. Zone One is an inner zone (physiological sensations). Zone Two is the middle zone (thoughts) and Zone Three is the outer zone (the five senses). When we are functioning well and coping with our situation, our awareness across these zones is balanced. This allows us to respond very effectively and efficiently. This is mighty useful in high-pressure situations because maintaining a balanced awareness means we can respond quickly to stimuli. In other words, we can maintain good levels of focus during perceived chaos.

When we find ourselves getting too caught up in one of the zones we can lose this balance. With this, our abilities can be impaired and we can experience distress, reducing the opportunity for optimal performance.

Being Outside Of The Zone

While each person is different, the way we respond to adversity can actually be quite universal. In such situations, people tend to become much more aware of their self-talk as well as their physiological state. “Oh my, I can actually feel my heart racing” for example.

When we first notice our thinking or physiology shifting in an unhelpful manner, using strategies such as mindfulness can prove effective.

When these experiences become too intense, trying to challenge our thoughts or become more aware of our body can be like we are putting fuel on an already burning fire. This is where the third zone (the outer zone) can become useful in helping us to manage.

The Five Senses

For touch, individuals competing outdoors might consider pulling out some of the grass from the field. Or tightly gripping a towel and noticing the feeling. What about taste? Eating as part of a pre-match routine can help but instead of quickly consuming the food, notice the flavours more. For each mouthful or while chewing gum, try to notice the release of flavour with each bite. With the sense of smell, noticing any smells in our environment such as muscle rub creams. For sight, individuals may ask themselves how many colours can they notice around them. Or how many people can they count wearing hats? For hearing, listening to music as part of a pre-match routine can really help get your head out of the way.

It’s Also A Matter of Timing

It should be noted that we don’t want to be considering these things while trying to execute skills. In other words, the majority of the Relaxed Competition Mindset work is down before we start competing.

Ultimately, that’s the key. We want to be able to shift our attention and focus where necessary to restore balance and composure to your internal state. In doing so, we remove some internal barriers to performance, which puts us in a position to meet our performance potential.


If you’d like our help Getting Into The Zone then below are few ways to contact us:

Performance Momentum for Elite Sport

Chris Pomfret, a performance psychologist based in Queensland (Australia), looks at the fascinating concept of performance momentum.

'Momentum in Sport' is a fascinating concept but with very little research
‘Momentum in Sport’ is a fascinating concept but with very little research

Performance Momentum; The Basics

As with many phenomena in the world of sport psychology, it’s interesting to observe people talk about momentum. If you listen closely, it’s almost as if they chatting about something tangible, something real.

At the time of writing, the Australian Open tennis tournament is in progress. Listening to commentators it would seem beyond question that there is a mysterious yet unmistakable energy. Something that ebbs and flows through each match like a tide. There is an energy that has the potential to sweep a player towards glory, or to leave them stranded. But in truth, things aren’t that straightforward.

As most of our sporting clients will know we often stress the importance of clear and workable definitions for all component of performance. If we can quantify something we can understand it and therefore improve it.

Momentum can be defined as changes to cognition, feelings and behaviour as an athlete moves towards a goal.

Positive and Negative Momentum for Performance

Positive momentum is typically described in physics-related terms such as ‘surging’ towards victory within a single contest. Or ‘riding the wave’ across multiple contests towards an end-of-season championship.

Negative momentum is often described in terms of a ‘tide-turning’ against an athlete. Some sort of resistance is experienced, or of a ‘pendulum swinging’ against them and energy being ‘lost’.

Momentum Is Not The ‘Hot Hand’

Note that momentum is different from the ‘hot hand’ effect often described in basketball. This describes those freak moments when it suddenly seems like a player can’t miss a shot. Their teammates start to desperately feed them the ball before this shooting streak suddenly vanishes. As much as the hot hand effect captures our imagination there doesn’t seem to be much evidence to back it up. Making a successful shot does not appear to increase the chances of making the next shot.

The fascinating thing about the concept of momentum is that it is almost universally accepted as fact. Research into the topic shows that people perceive momentum to be real. They act on the basis of this perception and past experiences supporting it. Simply put, athletes genuinely believe in momentum. When they think positive momentum has occurred they see it as a direct cause for their success. However, there is surprisingly little evidence to justify this belief.

But Perception Is Reality

If researchers question the existence of performance momentum and the everyday sportsperson struggles to express in words what momentum even means to them, why then is the concept so popular? One explanation is that for most human beings perception is reality. We want the world to seem as structured and predictable as possible. We find it hard to accept the idea of randomness. It’s hard for us to realise that our thinking is biased in many ways and that these biases impact on how we process information. We look for explanations in events, particularly where underlying meanings might help us in the future. Plus, we are just very poor at calculating probability.

There is a certain appeal to the idea that with a little bit of luck and some hard work, one small action we take can trigger a chain reaction which will sweep us towards glory. On the other hand, perhaps there is also some small comfort in the idea that sometimes we are faced with forces working against us which can’t be controlled and we simply have no choice but to hang in there and do our best and then see what happens.

Performance Momentum; The Downside

The most obvious issue with really believing in the concept of performance momentum is when you feel like you lack some. Mentally, if you feel some past success had a lot to do with any success before that you have a mental weak point. Let me explain more.

Let’s say you are a golfer who has started to believe that birdies and bogeys come in groups. Now let’s imagine you need to par the final three holes to make the cut but you bogey the 16th hole. Instead of moving on and trying to play the best possible golf for the final two holes you might feel that the bogey on 16 has set the tone.

Perhaps there is something to those old clichés about taking things one play at a time or week-to-week?

In Summary

Now please be clear that I am not saying momentum is a myth. In fact, there are various studies that do support the existence of momentum in sport. Not surprisingly, positive momentum has a role to play in performing at one’s best. However, some findings suggest that negative momentum is in many ways ‘stronger’ than positive momentum. It seems to be triggered faster and more easily and is harder to ‘escape’ from. Is this due to the sense of helplessness it can provoke?

In the case of positive momentum, there is a suggestion that athletes may occasionally ‘coast’ or ‘ease up’. This can in turn actually impair their performance. In the case of negative momentum, athletes may choose to use this to force themselves to improve focus and boost motivation.

When the topic of momentum comes up in the one on one work I do with my sporting clients this is how I approach it. I liken it to an emotion or physical sensation – like frustration or hunger. I then encourage them to notice it and move on as per the A.C.T model.

The team here at Condor Performance welcome your suggestions for topics to address in future editions of the Mental Toughness Digest so please keep them coming ([email protected]).

We love getting comments. If you have any anecdotes related to Performance Momentum please add them to the comments section below. If you’re not that keen on people knowing it’s you just exclude you personal details. Can you recall a time when your best performances seem to all be clumped together? That you could do no wrong. Or the opposite? No matter how hard you tried you couldn’t get any momentum going?

Tennis Psychology

Tennis Psychology refers to tennis-specific motivation, emotions, thoughts and focus as well as tactics and on-court decision making.

Tennis Psychology
Tennis Psychology – The Great Ones Take It Very Seriously

We are slowly moving towards a set of values that basically replaces sports psychology with the sport-specific versions. In other words, golf psychology, tennis psychology, ballet psychology etc replacing sport and performance psychology.

In doing so we’re not treating sports as being psychologically all the same, or even that similar to be honest. If you’re a traditionalist reading this then a) relax – read one b) excellent, our SEO endeavours must be working and c) we are not talking about mental health in the context of the sport here we’re referring only the psychological aspects of playing or competing in that sport. 

Tennis Psychology Is Not Wellbeing Within The Tennis Community

So tennis psychology is not the discipline applicable when working with a tennis player who has crippling bipolar disorder. Rather the field of tennis psychology is what helps tennis players and coaches improve mental aspects directly related to tennis.

Plug Alert: Of course the psychologists who consult for Condor Performance can and do assist with both of the above. In other words we help with wellbeing as well as sporting mental toughness. For more on why it’s useful to keep these two “mentals” apart then read this blog post here.

Tennis is, of course, most commonly played one versus one. Therefore the M, E, T and the F from Metuf are all essential parts of tennis psychology. But the U – which stands for Unity – is not irrelevant either due to the fact that many tennis players play doubles and/or team-based competitions (such as the Fed Cup and David Cup).

In fact, it’s interesting to observe the tennis career of Australia’s Sam Stosur who despite having a reputation for being a little mentally vulnerable as a singles players is one of the world’s best doubles and team players. If you factor in the U as being a part of the best definition of mental toughness is would be hard to say that SS doesn’t have a strong mental game.

The Big Four of Tennis Psychology

But the real clues when it comes to being mentally the best on court relate to The Big Four mental aspects of sports:

  • Motivation; In many ways the core of mental toughness and overall performance. When you improve your enthusiasm, passion, desire every aspect of your tennis benefits.
  • Emotions; John McEnroe would have won a lot more than seven Grand Slams has he worked on managing his emotions.
  • Thoughts; Learning to think more about the areas that you have a lot of influence over will have a huge impact on your tennis psychology.
  • Focus; Do you have a pre-point routine that allows you to refocus before the start of each point? If not then get in touch and we’ll show you how.

Tennis Psychology Includes Tactics

And let’s not forget decision making here. Very few sports have the same amount of decision-making requirements compared with tennis.

So when we refer to someone like RF as being the best of all time what we’re actually saying is he’s worked out a way to become really, really good at the above. Sure, he’s technically great and physically good enough but it’s his tennis psychology that makes him a legend.

A quick on-court tennis psychology video is currently being produced and will be placed here when ready.

The Coach Whisperer(s)

The Real Coach Whisperers

Sporting coaches are amongst the most obvious benefactors of performance psychology services.

The Coach Whisperer

Recently, there was a large article about an individual who has become known as the coach whisperer. To keep this article ‘above the waist’ I will refrain from mentioning his name. Nor will I be linking to the abovementioned article online. Instead, I will discuss a number of common themes that have been in the various news articles that I have come across about the coach whisperer:

  • He works (has worked) mainly with sporting coaches
  • The work he appears to be doing is highly psychological in nature
  • He charges for these services
  • He is open about not having any formal qualifications

I am not going to criticise the coach whisperer; mainly due to the fact that I have never met him and prefer to hold off on judging people I do not know. Instead, I shall comment on each of the above. I will describe how they relate to the work that my colleagues and I are currently doing with sporting coaches.

Helping Coaches Become Better Mental Coaches

From memory, I started working with my first sporting coaches around 2010. That means that for the initial five years of our existence we worked with only athletes and other performers. That coach, who I still work with today for two months a year, had one simple request. She asked me to help her become a much better mental coach. And by mental coach, she really meant mental toughness coach rather than a mental health coach. And so we got to work upskilling her mental toolkit. Which, by the way, was not that empty to start with!

It might be worth mentioning that at no point during our many Skype consultations did I actually whisper. In fact, if anything, the conversations have been the opposite of whispering with a reasonable amount of amicable shouting not being uncommon.

Of course, when you work one-on-one with someone for that long it’s virtually impossible not to spend some time on mental health and wellbeing. But when we did, it was to help her as a person, a mother, a wife and ultimately as an employee. At no point were we trying to help her become a mental health expert in her own right.

Coaching Is Highly Psychological 

I remember once having a meeting with a top-level soccer coach and during the meeting, he said: “I am actually the sport psychologist of the team”. I knew what he meant so chose NOT to interrupt him. Only in my head, I said in Australia one can’t refer to oneself as a psychologist with being registered with AHPRA. What he meant, of course, is that being a sporting coach has always been and will always be highly psychological in nature.

Think about it for a second. One of the most sought after attributes of the world’s best coaches is their ability to motivate people. Motivation is arguably the cornerstone of sport psychology and it’s no coincidence that the M from Metuf – our online mental training course – stands for Motivation.

I have read anecdotes about how the coach whisperer motivates the coaches he works with (and therefore their players). These methods are nothing like the ones we use – taken from sports science.

Be Careful What You Pay For

There are rumours that the coach whisperer charges a lot for his “services”. These alleged amounts are significantly higher than the cost of working one on one with a member of the Condor Performance team*. I have always stood by the belief that anyone should be able to give away psychological advice away for free. In other words, do all the counselling and coaching you want with your friends and family as long as no money is changing hands.

But this all changes when there is a fee involved. When you buy something, whether it be a product or a service, you expect value for money in return. In other words, the more you pay the more you should get in return.

I recently upgraded our family car and spent almost exactly double compared with the last time we bought a vehicle. But in my view, this has resulted in us getting a car that is about twice as good – for our purposes – compared to the last one. I was happy to pay more, as got more in return.

There is a story about the coach whisperer working with the head coach of the Queensland Rugby League team during this year’s state of origin series. It’s alleged he charged around $5000 an hour for his advice and told everyone – including those he worked with – they would beat New South Wales three games to zero. In the end, NSW won the series 2-1.

Be careful what you pay for.

*At Condor Performance we charge by the month not by the session and the average spend is between AUS$130 and AUS$350 a month. For this, the client will typically get between 60 and 90 minutes of sessions time. Furthermore, they will get unlimited email and text message support from their psychologist.

We are really confident that our fees provide excellent value-for-money and return on investment. If you want to put this assertion to the test just email [email protected] and ask for a breakdown of our current fees.

How Important Are Qualifications?

My final point is about the controversial topic of qualifications or lack therefore. The coach whisperer is apparently quite proud of his lack of recognised credentials – often boastfull in fact.

As many of you either know or would have worked out the entire Condor Performance team are psychologists. In other words, due to us all living in Australia, we are all fully registered as psychologists with AHPRA. The best way to get an understanding of the benefits of choosing a psychologist, over say a ‘whisperer’ is to listen to my answer to this very question here.

Since I first started working with our first sporting coach in 2010 the ratio of coaches that make up our growing client base has slowly improved. In fact, on the cusp of 2020 close to a fifth of all of the individual client are sporting coaches.

If you are a sporting coach looking to improve your mental toolkit the best place to start is to complete our MTQ-C below.

Golf Psychology

We know more about the psychology of golf than ever before. This article addresses some of the basics of Golf Psychology as we know it in 2020.

The Psychology of Golf
The Psychology of Golf

Golf Psychology Combines Both The Mental and Tactical Aspects of Golf

At Condor Performance we have always worked with a lot of golfers. In fact, since we started providing performance psychology services we’ve worked with more golfers than athletes of any other sport.

One of the many bonuses of this is that we have really come to know the weird and wonderful game of golf well. Our collective familiarity with golf is now so good that we might consider using the term ‘golf psychology‘ to describe what we do with golfers.

In the future, it’s likely the concept of sport psychology will be replaced by performance psychology. When this happens, a psychologist with considerable experience within a performance area (like golf) should be allowed to call themselves a ‘golf psychologist‘. I would happily and confidently refer to the entire Condor Performance team as golf psychologists in golfing contexts.

Why Do We Work With Some Many Golfers?

Golfers are amazing at understanding that their sport is very psychological in nature. Every golfer that has ever played the game has found out the hard way that good swing mechanics will only get them so far. Maybe it was because of a lapse in concentration that resulted in a four-putt. Or just the natural frustration of not knowing why the ball sometimes goes where you want it to and sometimes it doesn’t. Most golfers don’t need to be convinced of the fact that their sport is mostly won and lost between the ears.

Interestingly, many golfers think the famous Yogi Berra quote was about golf when in fact it was about baseball. The actual direct quote from 1925 was “Baseball is 90 per cent mental. The other half is physical.” Somehow this evolved into a version uttered by golfers the world over that “golf is 90% mental”. But is it?

Golfing success, like with any individual competitive sport, is made up of about half non-golfing aspects and half very sporty elements.

Golf Psychology and the Metuf Model

Our Metuf model includes the below analogy of the golfer being like a four-engine plane. The main body of the plane is mental health and wellbeing – and would contribute about half towards golfing success.

Golf Psychology
Golf Psychology starts with mental health and wellbeing.

This half needs to be prioritised first. Why? Because it’s more important to be a happier person than an excellent golfer. The other half consists of the four pillars of modern sports science. Physical, Technical, Tactical and Mental. Tactical is obviously psychological so when I think about golf psychology I am also thinking about on-course decision making.

I recently watched the episode of the Netflix docu-series Loosers featuring Jean van de Velde. During which he reflects on the heartbreak from his famous last hole of the 1999 Open Championship. I was 23 at that time which was the peak of my obsession with all sports but I couldn’t remember most the details. On watching the episode it reminded me that it was a decision making error than actually cost Jean victory that year. On the final hole, with a three-shot buffer, he decided to try and carry the “burn” protecting the green. He didn’t choke, he made one very poor shot selection. The right decision, of course, was to lay up well before the burn.

Golf is 25% Mental To Start With

So golf starts out being 25% mental and then increases from that point due to the fact that it commonly gets ignored – but not by everyone.

A growing ratio of our sporting clients are actually coaches rather than athletes. Many of these coaches are golf coaches or instructors. They come to us when they realise that traditional coaching pathways fall woefully short when it comes to helping them become great mental coaches. We love this approach to golf psychology. The sport psychologist upskilling those in the trenches with the golfers. We literally teach them how to help their golfers master the mental games from the very time that they take up golf in the first place.

Pre Shot Routines Are Essential

A great example of the benefit of this approach is through the use of Pre Shot Routines. PSRs are at the centre of golf psychology because they focused on the 10 to 15 seconds before each short. As my golf clients know after you have established a basic swing I believe that every shot – included those in practice – should follow a PSR. I have seen golf coaches break down into tears when I explain to them that golf shots in practice without a PSR is not actually golf practice at all. Ball bashing, maybe but it certainly doesn’t resemble what will take place out there on the course.

Below is an old video that I dug up to explain how to develop Pre Shot Routines for golf. Note, the video is outdated now so I suggest you watch with curiosity more than trying to copy every single element.

Only 1.5% Of A Round Of Golf Is About The Swing

You need to remember that about the 98.5% of a round of golf – for pros and amateurs alike – does not involve hitting a golf ball. Defined from the start of the backswing to the end of the follow-through. Do the maths if you like:

4 hours = 240 mins to hit, let’s say 80 shots. Each of those shots takes about 2 seconds. 80 multiplied by 2 = 160 seconds or about 3 minutes. So about 3 of the 240 minutes of a round of golf requires “swing mechanics”. Or another way to look at it is 3 hours and 57 minutes of a round of golf has nothing to do with how well you can hit the ball. That’s 98.5% in case you’re still doing the maths.

But don’t take my word for it. Here are some my top favourite golf psychology quotes from golfers you might have heard of.

Great Mental Game Golf Quotes

It’s such a psychological and mental game, golf, that the smallest wrong thing at the wrong time can distract you from what you’re trying to achieve.

Lee Westwood

You could have all the tools in the world, but if you really don’t want to be there, or if there’s something that’s off course that’s playing on your mind. The game of golf is so mental, and if you don’t have everything in the right order, it’s very difficult to win golf tournaments.

Jason Day

Rest is huge because if you’re sleep-deprived, that can definitely run into the mental side of the game and can definitely hurt your game if you’re playing tournament golf.

Jason Day

Staying in the present is the key to any golfer’s game. Once you start thinking about a shot you just messed up or what you have to do on the next nine to catch somebody, you’re lost.

Paul Azinger

If you are a golf coach looking to improve the way you coach the mental side then start is by completing our Mental Toughness Questionnaire for Coaches here.

If you’re a golfer then fill in our Mental Toughness Questionnaire for Athletes and one of our “golf psychologists” will get back to you.

Rugby Union Psychology

Sport psychologist Gareth J. Mole – born in South Africa, educated in England and lives in Australia – is a world leader in the mental side of rugby union

The Most Recent Rugby World Cup was full of Rugby Union Psychology

Observations of The 2019 Rugby Union World Cup

Due to the fact that many readers of The Mental Toughness Digest come from countries where rugby union is not a major sport then let me quickly start this article by providing a quick summary and context of the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019 – where rugby union psychology was everywhere!

The first point to mention from a psychological point of view is that the Rugby World Cup is by far the most valued prize in world rugby. In other words, unlike many other sports that all have several majors competitions nothing comes close to the RWC for rugby playing nations.

The Rugby World Cup is played every four years with New Zealand (The All Blacks) taking out the two previous editions in 2011 and 2015. The nine William Web Ellis Trophies have only been won by four countries in total. In fact eight of these nine have been taken home by just three nations – South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

This means that strong rugby union nations such as Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, Japan and Argentina have never gotten their hands on the Rugby World Cup.

The Pool Stage of a Rugby World Cup

As a handful of countries dominate the sport the initial stages of the competition are a little strange. Powerhouse countries often beat ‘minnows’ by scores more common in cricket than rugby.

This means a much higher degree of predictability about who will make the final eight compared with a FIFA Soccer / Football World Cup for example. All four previous winners of the Rugby World Cup made it through to the quarter-finals of last year’s event. Furthermore, three of these rugby unions superpowers got through to the semi-final as well with only two-time winner Australia missing out on a place in the final four. Wales beat France to play only their 3rd ever semi-final.

Like most sports, it’s really at the pointy end of the competition – the knock-out stages where the mental side really kicks in. By ‘mental side’ we don’t just mean sporting mental toughness but tactics as well. Decision making, especially that required under pressure, is an entirely psychological process.

Semi-Final One

During the first semi-final that saw the mighty All Blacks take on The Poms (sorry, I mean the English) the game started with a little controversy. The English team, coached by a true lover of mind games Eddie Jones, lined up in a giant V whilst facing the The Haka.

England started their mind games well before the opening whistle in their semi-final against New Zealand. Rugby Union Psychology was in the air.

England was later fined for this which is something I disagree with. I am fine with one country being allowed to have an extra psychological boost just before the opening whistle. However, it should be left up to the opposition to decide if and how they observe or respond to this.

Of course, as is pointed out in this previous edition of the Mental Toughness Digest it’s never possible to really know what factors result in a win or loss in sport. But I suspect that New Zealand was slightly distracted by England’s unorthodox Haka response. England won the match comfortably 19 – 7.

Semi-Final Two

In the other semi South Africa beat Wales 19 – 16 in one of the least attractive games of rugby union you’ll ever see. Tactics completely dominated this game with The Spingboks kicking the ball as often as possible. In my work as a performance psychologist I am becoming more and more involved in the tactical side. This is especially true in the one on one work we do we coaches. Yet even I was stumped about why South Africa would want to give the ball away as often as they did. I suspect the brains trust knew something that I didn’t because The Boks scraped into their third Rugby World Cup final.

On the form of the two semi-finals England were clear favourites to take home the trophy after the final in Yokohama on 2nd November. But form is a hugely overrated concept in sport – it’s a reflection of the past which is completely uninfluenceable.

The Final – An Epic

It was obvious right from the start of the final that the English players were trying far too hard. What, surely it’s not possible to try too hard – I can hear you think? Oh yes, it is my friends.

One of the cornerstones of our mental coaching model – Metuf is the idea that the hard work and effort needs to be kept in the preparation basket. The main aim of sporting competitions is to be as relaxed as possible.

Let me explain why. Motor skills such as catching, passing or kicking a rugby ball fit along a continuum of automaticity. On the one extreme the action is “cognitive” which means is thinking is needed to attempt this skill. Think of a child learning to ride a bicycle. On the other extreme is the Autonomous Stage. Think about the action of brushing your teeth as an example. These action can and should be executed with little or no mental effort. In fact, the less mental effort you apply the more likely your best version of these motor skills will appear.

The Law of Reverse Effect

It is for this reason that my colleagues and I at Condor Performance are such advocates of what we called The Relaxed Competition Mindset. A concept that is based on a theory called The Law of Reverse Effect.

“The greater the conscious effort, the less the subconscious response”. Or understood another way. “Whenever the will (conscious mind) and imagination (subconscious) are in conflict, the imagination (subconscious) always wins.”

Despite having a coach who has a great understanding of the mental side England tried too hard in the Rugby World Cup final. Over-eagerness negatively impacted by their skills.

A Relaxed South African Side

On the flip side a relaxed South Africa kept things simple. They also changed the tactics that they’d used in the previous six games of the tournament. Suddenly they stop kicking as much and ran the ball. The English game plan was in tatters who would have been expecting them to kick.

All of these factors contributing to an emphatic 32 – 12 win. A result that saw “The Boks” equal The All Blacks tally of three World Cup wins.

What is truly remarkable is that six of the nine Rugby World Cups have been won by only two countries – South African and New Zealand.

It is impossible to really know why South Africa and New Zealand are pulling away from the rest. My best guess is it has a lot to do with how seriously they take the mental and tactical side of their coaching development programs.

Concluding Comments ~ Rugby Union Psychology

I will end this article by encouraging you to watch the press conference below with triumphant South African coach and captain. Psychological clues are everywhere. For example, just after winning the most sought after prize in world rugby they’re already planning for the Lions tours two years from now. Enjoy and as always use the space below to add your own thoughts and questions.

Rugby Union Psychology

Author of this post and leading rugby psychologist Gareth J. Mole is one of nine psychologists from Condor Performance.

Cricket Psychology

The sport of cricket is particularly demanding from a psychological point of view – which makes for some mentally very tough cricketers

Jonty Rhodes - Cricket Psychology
This image courtesy of the Mumbai Indian IPL franchise

I think it’s reasonable to say that there is no sport quite like cricket. Certainly from a psychological point of view. Of course all sports are mentally challenging. Many require only certain kinds of mental skills for performance consistency.

Cricket, on the other hand, requires the entire array of mental techniques. We, as sport psychologists and performance psychologists, typically use the whole toolkit during our consulting with cricketers and cricket coaches.

Cricket Psychology Defined

Let’s breakdown the psychology of cricket a little. It is both a team sport and an individual sport. Due to this cricketers need psychological skills that would apply both to team and individuals athletes. Imagine rugby league and golf had a baby! For example, cricket batters requires very specialised forms of communication. The kind normally only applicable to those who play “doubles” in sports. The communication between two batsmen whilst out in the middle is very similar to a doubles pair in tennis. Is this type of communication rehearsed in training? Not a lot in my experience, even at international level.

Communication is a psychological skill even if the communicating is about something very tactical. That is why we have dedicated an entire module of our online, self-guided Mental Toughness Training program for cricket (“Metuf for Cricket”) to team unity and communication skills.

Cricketers execute their skills as individuals but do so as part of a team. Therefore concepts such as team unity and the culture of the dressing room are all pivotal. Without these success will be hard to find.

Team Dynamics Are Key

Kevin Pietersen was statistically the best batsmen to play for England between 2005 in 2014. Yet despite this he has not played for England since being dropped in 2014. It was a controversial decision at the time. However the fact that England’s performances across all three formats since then have improved suggests than team unity might be more important than previously thought.

A Self-Guided Mental Training Program for Cricketers and Cricket Coaches looking to get the Mental Edge

Cricket Psychology – Focus is Essential

Even the shortest forms of cricket last longer than many other sporting contests. Therefore cricketing mental toughness requires extraordinary abilities to focus. To switch on and off (or to switch up and down). Cricketers need to learn patience and focus when it really matters.

I had some great cricket coaches during my school days at Oundle School. But I can’t recall any of them teaching me how to switch on and off effectively for either my keeping nor my batting. Oh, if I could only send a message to my 15-year-old self about Pre Ball Routines.

Recent Examples of Cricketing Mental Toughness

In 2019 there were some amazing examples of cricket psychology at play. Some remarkable displays of sporting mental toughness that have been seen on the cricket pitch for quite some time.

The World Cup Final Over

In case readers do no follow cricket then let Wikipedia summarise what happened at the end of the Cricket Wolrd Cup that took place in England early this year. The final took place between New Zealand and England (hosts) on 14th July 2019 at Lords (the home of cricket):

The two teams were tied on 241 runs at the end of the match, resulting in a Super Over being played to break the tie. On the final ball of New Zealand’s Super Over, after equalling the 15 runs England managed in their over, Martin Guptill attempted to score the winning run but was run out by wicket-keeper Jos Buttler, meaning the Super Over was also tied. England won on the boundary countback rule, having scored 26 boundaries to New Zealand’s 17, thus becoming Cricket World Cup winners for the first time.

What was remarkable from a cricket psychology point of view was just how well all of the players and the umpires handled the extreme pressure of the situation. Huge credit needs to go into those who were assisting with the mental side of preparation of both the Kiwi and Pommy cricket teams.

The Ben Stokes Miracle

Again, in case you were not following the Ashes let me summarise. Ben Stokes scored 135 not out on the final day of the third test to deny Australia the win. From a cricket psychology point of view, the most commendable aspect of Stokes’ innings was just how ‘in the moment’ he was through the whole day. The past and the future of mostly distractions in high-pressure situations and Ben Stokes was the embodiment of relaxed and present-focused.

Steve Smith Stats’

In 2018 Steve Smith was banned for 12 months for the role he played in the ball-tampering incident that shook the world of cricket. Although as performance psychologists we are mindful never to judge everything on the results the fact that Smith scores 333 more runs than any other player in the series (both side) is truly incredible. Obviously we’re biased but it would be hard not to suggest the reason for Smith’s dominance with the bat is due to his amazing cricketing mental toughness.

But don’t take my word for it – have a read of what the current Australian coach wrote about Mental Toughness back in 2010:

View the original article here on the Cricket Australia website

Cricket Psychology Is Part Of Our DNA

As some of you will be aware at Condor Performance we prefer to use psychologists with an excellent knowledge of most sports. This has been one of our core values since 2005. The result is a team of psychologists who between all of us know a lot about most major sports. However there are a few sports which for some reason we are particularly familiar with.

In other words, if you were to score our collective knowledge across all major sports then some will rank much better than others. Cricket currently ranks slightly above all other sports. This is helped by a few lucky coincidences. For example, James Kneller is actually a former elite bowler. Gareth (me), was a child growing up in South Africa when greats like Rhodes, Donald and Cronjé were allowed back from international bans. And of course, our whole team comes from Australia or New Zealand. Two countries that have a long love affair with the sport of cricket.

If you are a cricketer, cricket coach or cricket administrator of any level and would like help with your consistency and performance please get in touch. We would be delighted to assist you in your journey to the next level.

South African Sport Psychologist

Gareth J. Mole is widely regarded as one of the leading sport psychologists in the world and is very proud of his South African heritage

Sport Psychologist South Africa
Gareth J. Mole is a South African sport psychologist now living in Australia. He works with athletes and sports coaches from around the world via webcam technologies.

Meet a South African Sport Psychologist

Gareth John Mole is a world-renowned and proudly South African sport psychologist. He was born in Transvaal in 1976. That’s what Gauteng was called back then. His father is a South African and his Mother an Aussie.

Maybe a career in sport was his destiny. He was named after the great Gareth Edwards. Edwards was a standout rugby union scrum-half (halfback) for Wales and during that era.

He attended St Peters Preparatory School in Rivonia whereby his love for all sports started. “Most of my memories from St Peters are sports-related” he reminisces. “Of course in those days it was mostly rugby [union], cricket and athletics” he adds.

Born Near A Race Track

In the 1980s Gareth and his siblings could be found either watching or playing sport at the family home. The property was only a few KMs from the famous, Kyalami race track.

“Although there was no Formula One at Kyalami in those days there was still plenty of motorsport taking place all the time. The background soundtrack to my childhood was the roar of racing cars and the screech of tyres” Gareth recalls.

“Competitive motor racing is mentally very, very hard. Although the drivers and riders require supreme fitness it’s really their mindset and tactical abilities that separate the good from the best” he states.

Nigel Mansell was far from being one of the fittest Formula One drivers during his time. But his mental toughness and outstanding tactical preparation resulted in him being one of the best competitors of the Eighties”.

From South Africa To The World

At the age of ten, Gareth moved from South African to The UK to attend boarding school. It was at Oundle that the breadth of his sporting knowledge grew exponentially.

“Had I stayed in South Africa I suspect that my sporting knowledge might have remained somewhat limited. My time in England exposed me to many of the other major sports – in particular, football (soccer), hockey, squash and volleyball” Gareth says.

After finishing up at Oundle and taking a gap year, Gareth moved north in order to do a Psychology Degree at the University of Leeds. It was during the undergraduate years that his preexisting love of sport fused with his new psychology training.

“Sport psychology was only a small inclusion during my degree at Leeds but it was enough for me to think – I like this, I want to be a sport psychologist” he states. I also remember thinking if there were any other South African sport psychologists at that time. Maybe I could be the first South African sport psychologist ever?

At the time Masters degrees in The UK specialising in Sport Psychology were virtually non-existent. So in 2004, he found himself on a one-way flight to Sydney, Australia.

Australia From 2004

“Oh, how things have changed. Now England is one of the best countries in the world in order to qualify as a sport psychologist. But in 2004 there were more options in Australia – so that’s where I went” Gareth declares.

After finishing his Masters and therefore becoming a qualified sport psychologist he set up Condor Performance – which had a very international perspective right from the start.

“I didn’t like the idea that I would only be able to assist athletes and coaches from Australia” Gareth recalls, “so from the very beginning we were on the front foot regarding webcam technologies such as Skype”. He goes on to say “As the technology improved word soon caught on that athletes and coaches from anywhere in the world could access our performance psychology services. Interesting, and maybe due to the dearth of sports psychologists physically located in South Africa we got and continue to get many enquiries from Cape Town to Johannesburg and everywhere in between”.

Sticking By The Term Sport Psychologist

As many qualified sport psychologists find out it easier to use terms such as ‘mental skills coach’, ‘performance coach’ or just ‘coach’ Gareth has always stuck by the much-maligned title of ‘sport psychologist’.

“I liken sticking with the term ‘sport psychologists’ to those who have stuck by South Africa during the tough times,” he says. “When all the best dentists in the country leave then, of course, they are making the problem worse”. He goes on “the main reason that many choose not to refer to themselves as psychologists – despite having the qualifications to do so – it due to the stigma attached with the word psychologist”.

He concludes “the only way to remove that stigma is for sport psychologists to do excellent work and then keep using the title sport psychologist so that eventually it will not be associated with mental health problems and therapy/counselling”.

Webcam Sport Psychologist

Gareth is one of the pioneers of delivering sport psychology services via webcam. In fact, in the early days, when this kind of technology was brand new he was the ‘webcam sports psychologist’ more so than the ‘South African sport psychologist’ in some circles. In fact, he was one of the very first sport psychologists in the world to work through an internet connection and webcam.

Nowadays with huge improvements in the area of videoconferencing due to platforms such as Zoom, Skype, WhatApp video, FaceTime video and Google Hangouts Gareth and his colleagues at Condor Performance do 99% of their performance psychology work this way.

Zoom is currently Gareth’s favourite form of webcam system due to the extra features like screen sharing, virtual whiteboard and the option of recording the sessions.

If you’d like more information about working 1-on-1 with Gareth you can email him directly at [email protected]. Make sure to include details of your location, sport, goals and current mental challenges. He will typically get back to you within 48 hours.