Started From The Bottom…
First and formost, let me welcome everybody to the PsychElite Performance blog. PsychElite Performance will be one of the first of its kind in the United Kingdom. A company that will bring many Sport Psychologists and Mental Conditioning Coaches together to create a dynamic group of people that will specialise in mental sporting performance for athletes. For those that do not know, sport psychology is the use of mental knowledge and skills to create optimal performance in athletes, address issues of well-being and sport participation in populations.
This blog will follow each individual of the PsychElite team in their highs and lows of becoming sport psychologists and the companies progression from the bottom to the top.
Allow me to introduce myself, I am Thomas Regan and I am a mental conditioning coach and own PsychElite Performance. I achieved my postgraduate certificate in sport & exercise psychology (earning a merit) and my aim is to establish myself as a dominant name in the sport psychology industry. The industry can be difficult to become established in and it takes hard work, time, commitment, networking and alot of motivation.
Working at Bristol Rovers FC through University of the West of England
For the love of money
So you might be thinking about becoming a sport psychologist?
To achieve this it will cost an individual over £43,000 (roughly for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees) plus a further £5,600 for BPS (British Psychological Society) accreditation to gain ‘Sport Psychologist’ status (previous courses have to be BPS accredited). Becoming a sport psychologist is not for the faint hearted, you have to be committed, intrinsically motivated and have funding to pay for qualifications.
I am hoping to commence my BPS level 2 accreditation in Sport Psychology in the future but, presently, I am looking for practical experience and opportunities to network to gain clients. I have done voluntary research to build on my experience on the academic side. At the moment until I complete my BPS I cannot use the title of Sport Psychologist although my previous studies are aimed at this role, therefore I call myself a mental conditioning coach.
|Liverpool Hope University: I studied my undergrad LHU and now volunteer as a research assistant
Experience is key in this industry. At University, I was able to work with Bristol Rovers FC Academy delivering workshops for six months with the academy under 13’s and helping my classmates with the other teams. I delivered presentations and practical sessions on team work, goal setting and creating a growth mindset to name a few. It was a great chance to use my knowledge with future athletes / footballers and would highly recommend asking your university to try help you get these opportunities.
I graduated in November 2016 and it took me six months to find a volunteer position at a local power lifting club. I was very naive thinking that having experience with a professional football club would get me an interview for employment but it was extremely difficult. Not being shortlisted for vacancies I had the qualifications and experience for was very disappointing and i started doubting myself if i was good enough for this field. I had to be mentally tough, resilient and have confidence in my abilities.
A year on I have now established myself at Taylor’s Strength Training Gym (https://www.taylorsstrength.co.uk/) which has opened doors for other avenues such as the Liverpool Roller Birds and potentially university club teams. Voluntary work has come through the gym because Danny Taylor, the owner, believed in the importance of the mental side of sport performance. I have to thank him for giving me an opportunity because it was getting frustrating not getting a job that i wanted to do.
If you are looking to gain experience, you need to sell yourself and the concept of sport psychology and its benefits. There is a stigma that having a sport psychologist means there is a problem. This is simply not the case, you have to get the message across that having a sport psychologist/mental conditioning coach will benefit and assist individuals to meet their gaols by using psychological techniques.
An example of this is Danny, after recovering from injury he had a ‘mental barrier’ and he could not lift more than 180kg on a deadlift since his injury. He told me he tried at least 5 times and he could not get the weight past his knees. After getting into his optimal zone, he looked at the bar and visualised himself locking the deadlift out. Once he got to the bar, he told himself that he was locking it out. Not only did he lock out 180kg he was able to lift 10kg more and got 190kg! By using a little visualisation technique, he smashed his mental barrier by 10kg!
Danny Taylor locking out a 190kg deadlift for the first time since his injury
Movin’ on Up
I am optimistic that my career will develop. I have applied for a Canadian visa and hopefully i will go to Toronto to work as a mental conditioning coach in 2019. This gives me a year to develop my skills even further using different teams and individual clients and hopefully make some money whilst doing so. I love travelling so if i can travel and do what i love will be an extra bonus.
I will keep volunteering as a research assistant at Liverpool Hope University to increase my chances of working at the University of Toronto. I work part time in a pub at the moment, which i love, but eventually i hope i’ll be making enough money with teams and clients that i will not have time to work in the pub. We will see what the year brings…
The PsychElite blog will be updated once a week and it will consist of issues in sport and how to increase mental performance. Not only will this blog help you, but i hope it will improve my writing skills as it is shocking!
“Don’t be a thinker, be a doer”