Psychology experts reflect on London 2012
The conference, held at Manchester City Football Club's Etihad Stadium, brought together students, practitioners and other individuals with an interest in sport and exercise psychology. The conference offered an opportunity to discuss the reflections and implications of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: identifying the role that psychology played in the successes and challenges faced by athletes and coaches during the summer of sport, and helping delegates to find ways to learn from the events, informing research and practice linked to sport performance and participation.
Jon Finn, Professor Jim McKenna and Dr Andrew Manley led an interactive workshop at the conference on behalf of Leeds Metropolitan, using the unique Pre-Shot psychology training programme to consider how people learn and how this can be improved using the programme.
The Pre-Shot Training Programme was developed by Jon, a PhD student and Visiting Research Fellow at Leeds Metropolitan. He explains: "The concepts of psychology are often difficult to understand, making them difficult to learn and then improve. The Pre-Shot Training Programme creates a physical format to the invisible things that people are thinking. It helps people to plan what they are going to think about; the aim is that they fill their mind with only useful thoughts, so their performance improves."
Jon developed the programme through his work with the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) and Monmouth School in Wales. It has been adapted into an iPhone app for professional and weekend golfers and is now being further adapted for use in education, business and sport. Attendees of the conference workshop will explore the programme's kit to think about how people learn in these different contexts and how the kit can help various client groups including athletes, coaches, students and teachers.
In addition, MSc. Sport and Exercise Psychology students, James Hazlett, Helen Brown and Christopher Wright, presented findings from their internship work with young athletes on the Sports Aid b active Sporting Excellence Programme, supervised by Dr Manley at Leeds Met. James and Helen also presented their dissertation findings on psychological pressure training in high performance badminton, and the impact of media expectations on elite athletes, respectively.
A panel session completed the day, led by high-profile names including Mick Hill and Laura Weightman. Mick is Senior Coach (Higher Performance and Enterprise) at Leeds Metropolitan and a javelin thrower who has competed for Great Britain in four Olympic Games. He currently coaches Jessica Ennis in the javelin event. Laura Weightman represented Great Britain in the 1500m at the London 2012 Games and is currently studying Sport and Exercise Science at Leeds Metropolitan. The paneldiscussed their reflections on the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games with particular reference to sport psychology: what was, what is and what could be.
Additionally, several Leeds Met academics and students, PhD and undergraduate, displayed poster presentations on their work including: physical activity and quality of life in people with psychosis (Dr Jackie Hargreaves), doping prevention (Laurie Patterson), talent identification (Fieke Rongen), and the influence of sporting experiences on the development of challenge states in high performance athletes (Josh Scanlon).