Performance Psychology

A Practitioner's Guide

Edited by

  • David Collins, BEd(Hons), CertEd, CPsychol, MSc, PhD, Performance Director, UK Athletics, Birmingham, UK; Adjunct Professor and Chair in PER and Sport Performance, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, UK
  • Angela Abbott
  • Hugh Richards

Performance Psychology: A Practitioner's Guide is a comprehensive, evidence-based text covering the key aspects of performance culture: performer development, preparation, training and execution. Written by a team of international contributors, including national coaches, training specialists, applied sports psychologists, clinicians and researchers, and building on strong links between theory and practice, the book shows how applied psychological methods and principles can be used to enhance performance

Contributing authors offer clear implications for applied practice and each section is summarized by contributions from a 'Performers Panel' of experts who provide real-life practical examples. Performance psychology is applied to a wide variety of physical performance domains which enables practitioners to see how they can combine ideas and tailor interventions, to people and contexts, to produce effective applications of psychology.

Dave Collins is Professor of Performance and Coaching/Director for the Institute of Coaching and Performance at the University of Central Lancashire. As a practitioner, he has worked with over 50 World and Olympic medalists, and in professional performance domains spanning sport, business, motor sport, music, dance and adventure. He was formerly Performance Director of UK Athletics, a rugby player, martial artist and OE instructor. Dave currently works with the Chelsea FC Football Academy, amongst other consultancies.

Angela Button is a researcher at the University of Otago and is widely acknowledged as a world expert on talent. Angela has led funded research projects in talent development in the UK and New Zealand. Her sporting interests include squash, running and triathlon.

Hugh Richards lectures and is Director of post-graduate programmes in Performance Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has published in the areas of coping, talent, individual differences and professional development related to sport, the military and music. Hugh has applied psychology to professional performers from international level sport to business. He currently works with the UK Motor Sport Association, international performer development schemes and has been advisor to the BBC on learning and performance.

View full description


Book information

  • Published: March 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-443-06734-1

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction

Performance psychology: developing a peak performance culture

Dave Collins

Section 1 - Preparation

Chapter 2 Aims, principles and methodologies in talent identification and development

Angela Button

Chapter 3 Expertise: the goal of performance development

Nicola J. Hodges and Joseph Baker

Chapter 4 Psychological characteristics of developing excellence

Áine MacNamara

Chapter 5 Talent development environments: key considerations for effective practice

Russell Martindale and Paddy Mortimer

Chapter 6 Implications and applications: views from the performer’s panel

Dave Collins

Section 2 - Provision (of support)

Chapter 7 Introduction: organisational issues in providing support

Dave Collins

Chapter 8 Organising for excellence

Veronica Burke

Chapter 9 The team perspective: promoting excellence in performance teams

Alan C. MacPherson and Patrick Howard

Chapter 10 Planning for physical performance: the individual perspective. Planning, periodization, prediction, and why the future ain’t what it used to be

John Kiely

Chapter 11 Practical dimensions of providing for excellence: views from the performer’s panel

Dave Collins

Section 3 - Practice

Chapter 12 Introduction: practice regimens for excellence

Dave Collins

Chapter 13 ‘Keeping it together’: motor control under pressure

Chris Button, Clare MacMahon and Rich Masters

Chapter 14 Skill acquisition: designing optimal learning environments

Joan N. Vickers

Chapter 15 Effective skill development: how should athletes’ skills be developed?

Andrew Abraham and Dave Collins

Chapter 16 Mental practice: neuroscientific support for a new approach

Paul Holmes and Claire Calmels

Chapter 17 Developing the performance brain: decision making under pressure

Duncan R.D. Mascarenhas and Nickolas C. Smith

Chapter 18 Practical dimensions of developing skill: views from the performers’ panel

Dave Collins

Section 4 - Performance

Chapter 19 Introduction: performing on the day

Dave Collins

Chapter 20 Coping and mental toughness

Hugh Richards

Chapter 21 Emotional issues of peak performance: managing mood

Sheelagh Rodgers and Britt Tajet-Foxall

Chapter 22 Attention

Aidan Moran

Chapter 23 Putting it together: skills for pressure performance

Mark Wilson and Hugh Richards

Chapter 24 Putting them together: skills packages to optimize team/group performance

Dave Collins and Judy Collins

Chapter 25 Practical dimensions of realising your peak performance

Dave Collins

Conclusion Where next? Getting help in your pursuit of excellence

Amanda Martindale and Dave Collins