Modernising sport psychology in English football

Project

Modernising sport psychology in English football

The implementation of sport psychology in English elite football came on the coattails of the 1998 agreement that all physiotherapists and doctors must be chartered (Premier League, 2011). Since then several other support staff roles have saturated the first team level and academies. Among these roles, sports psychologists. An early challenge to the range of new support staff was that many were drawn from universities as undergraduate internships. The 2011 Premier League Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) recognized this group as a positive resource. However, several challenges also existed including lack of experience within elite environments, no coordinated services, limited child specific knowledge, no national guidelines, nor benchmarking. A significant issue was that sports science support could differ significantly from club to club, with some examples of variable quality. The 2011 EPPP, therefore, called for modernising the sports science and medicine services. The current research focuses on the progress of the psychology field.

We collaborate with sport psychologist and sport psychiatrists from English football club based on the accreditation system in English football academies. The purpose is to, first, evaluate the how football clubs and academies have modernised sport psychology by examining the challenges faced by psychology support staff and the solutions they have implemented. Second, the study will examine how other countries (Norway and Denmark) can learn from the process in English football.