Psychology

The science of behaviour and mind. A collection of content focused on better understanding our players.

PDP Co-Founder Dave Wright & Positive Psychology expert Lara Mossman discussing how to control emotions in sports. We can’t expect youth soccer players to show great emotional control all of the time. It’s sometimes easy to forget, but they’re not mini-adults — they don’t have the same capacity to control their emotions as we do, and we shouldn’t expect them to. But that doesn’t mean we can’t help. We can still teach our young players how to understand and manage their emotions. And this education…

PDP Co-Founder Dave Wright & Former New Zealand Women’s Head Coach Tony Readings, discussing the positives and potential pitfalls for girls in mixed soccer. Is it better for female soccer players to play in boys’ teams? Playing mixed soccer can provide both technical benefits and social challenges. As coaches, we must strike a balance that pushes our players without hindering their development or enjoyment of the game. Whether it’s best for a girl to play on boys’ teams depends upon a variety of factors that…

How do you differentiate between each individual’s learning experience within your group? No single player’s experience is the same. In this article, Reed Maltbie discusses how you can ensure that you understand the needs of every player in your group. “This is easy. Watch me again. This is how you do it.” It was getting more difficult to mask my frustration. I had been trying to teach my 11-year-old son how to do long division for about 45 minutes now, and my patience was wearing…

Professor Stephen Rollnick is a clinical psychologist with over 30 years experience. In this Masterclass Discussion, Stephen joins PDP Co-founder, Dave Wright for an in depth discussion on coach communication, the skill of motivational interviewing and much more. Stephen is a truly world-class thinker and practitioner who is applying his extensive knowledge to sport. This conversation covers a range of topics around connection, communication, tradition and relationships which will help coaches improve their ability to build effective relationships in their coaching. Image Source: Kelly Lacy from Pexels

Gratitude is a trait we should all be aiming to develop in the young players we work with. Developing better people first is a fundamental belief at PDP. So as coaches, how do we approach this? Mental performance expert John Haime discusses how players can shift their mindset and enhance their own experience through taking a grateful approach to their own development, outlining how a simple emotion can elevate performance   What are you grateful for? That might seem like a strange question to ask…

In this article rugby coach and researcher, Jonny McMurtry discusses the importance of connection between athlete and coach taking a deep dive into an approach that is needs based and not just athlete-centred. Firstly, I hope this blog post finds you, your family and friends in good health; this is strange times and new territory for us all and I hope we can follow the advice of health professionals and leaders of our countries to “flatten the curve” and keep our communities safe and well,…

In this Masterclass Webinar replay, we are joined by PhD Researcher, Megan Hill from the University of Bath for an in depth discussion on growth and maturation in youth football. Talent development and understanding performance versus potential is a complex topic. The progression from childhood, through adolescence to adulthood is characterised by an individual experiencing growth, maturation, and development. This process is unique to each child, it can be slow and steady or be full of huge growth spurts and challenging injuries. These influences can…

In this article, resident positive psychology expert Lara Mossman looks at good character through a strengths lens, focussing specifically on two strengths, courage and caution, and looking at how these can be overused or underused in coaching. We often hear calls for good character in our young football players, but what about our coaches? After all, coaches influence their players in a multitude of ways (Lorimer & Jowett, 2014). Viewed positively, they can be great role models for their players and leave a lasting legacy….

In this Masterclass Webinar replay, we host Psychologist and Motivational Interviewing Pioneer, Prof. Stephen Rollnick. Stephen is a world leader in psychology and recently co-authored the book, Coaching Athletes to be Their Best: Motivational Interviewing in Sport. Alongside him is UEFA Pro Licensed Coach and Assistant Coach at Crawley Town, Edu Rubio. Stephen and Edu will be hosted by the PDP Team, Dave Wright and Dan Wright for a wide ranging discussion on effective coach communication. We dive into a number of topics including: Coach…

In our latest Masterclass Webinar we sit down to discuss the coach/athlete relationship with Keith and David Mayer, authors of Gold Dust: How to Become a More Effective Coach, Quickly. The focus of the conversation is how we build connections with young players, using empathy, understanding, patience and communication. Keith is has over 40 years coaching experience at a number of professional clubs and has worked as an FA Tutor. David is currently completing his UEFA A license and has experience in the USA and…

Barbara L. Fredrickson The Big Idea Until approximately the beginning of the 21st Century, the field of psychology gave little attention to theories, hypotheses, or building models of the form and function of positive emotions (such as joy, interest, contentment, and love). Instead, most all the previous emotion studies have focused on negative emotions (such as fear, anger, or disgust). The big idea of this paper is that there are inherent differences between negative and positive emotions. Because of these differences, there is little sense in…

PDP Lead Researcher James Vaughan poses the question to coaches: are we competing or are we collaborating? In this article, James discusses the concept of ‘water’ and its implications on an individual’s approach to coaching.   One of the most important questions you can ask as a coach is: Are we competing or are we collaborating? In fact, it’s one of the most important questions you can ask any group of people intending, attempting or pretending to work together. I’ll admit this is a strange statement…

In this PDP webinar replay, the PDP team host Russell Earnshaw for an interactive conversation on a range of topics around coaching and youth development. Russell is a coach developer who has consulted with The FA, GB Hockey, Google, the Rugby Football League and British Swimming among others. He is the Co-founder of The Magic Academy, a platform that supports coaches. Russell is also a former coach of the England U18 rugby team and a former professional player. In this discussion, PDP Co-founder, Dave Wright…

In this Masterclass Discussion, PDP Lead Researcher, James Vaughan sits down with Professor Stephen Rollnick, an expert psychologist who has worked for the NHS & in sport. James & Stephen discuss team work and what opportunities sport provides to young people in expressing themselves, solving problems and learning. Stephen Rollnick is Honorary Distinguished Professor in the School of Medicine, Cardiff University. He was a practicing psychologist in the UK National Health Service for 16 years, and then became a teacher and researcher on the subject…

Have you had a conversation with your players about why they play football? What is it that motivates them to turn up to training, sometimes three or more times a week, no matter what the conditions? In this article, resident positive psychology expert Lara Mossman looks at the ways in which coaches can empower players to become self-motivated. It’s likely that across your team there will be a variety of different reasons why players turn up. Some may not want to be there at all…

Let’s focus on how we’re coaching, not what we’re coaching. In this article, motivational researcher and top rugby coach, Jonny McMurtry shares an article on the value of relationships and connection in coaching. After an excellent article written around Matt Wilkie, IRFU’s head of coach development coinciding with my own personal development in assisting swimming coaches, a sport where I know very little around the tactical and technical aspects, it pushed me down a rabbit hole looking at how we can adjust our focus to…

In this Masterclass Discussion, PDP Editor, Dave Wright is joined by Gordon MacLelland, the Founder of Working with Parents in Sport. Gordon and Dave dive into a discussion which includes practical advice for parents on how to support their children in sport, how clubs can better engage with parents, how to manage the car ride home and much more. Gordon has vast coaching and teaching experience and this discussion is essential viewing for coaches and clubs looking to better understand parental influence in youth sport….

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