SEEK: Salford Environment for Expertise and Knowledge

PhD Thesis
Dec 2013

The Use of Psychology Within Strength and Conditioning: Coaches' Perceptions, Applied Use and Future Recommendations.

Radcliffe, J N (2013) 'The Use of Psychology Within Strength and Conditioning: Coaches' Perceptions, Applied Use and Future Recommendations.'.


There is a paucity of research examining the use of psychological skills and strategies within strength and conditioning, this is despite research evidencing the effectiveness of psycho-physiological interventions which would be pertinent to the objectives of the strength and conditioning practitioner. The purpose of this project was to examine the use of psychology within the strength and conditioning environment from the perspective of the strength and conditioning coaches themselves. Specifically, this project assessed the most important psychological aspects, the most frequently used skills, barriers to the use of psychology, and the psychology knowledge base for the strength and conditioning community. Finally, an experimental protocol evidenced the efficacy of employing misinformation within strength and conditioning. The project revealed that psychology was more commonly used by more experienced professionals, nevertheless there was considerable disparity in the frequency with which psychological skills and strategies were used, with particular strategies being used significantly more than others. This was consistent with subsequent in-depth phenomenological exploration which revealed that strategies to promote confidence, skill acquisition, and regulate arousal were most frequently used. It was evident that there was uncertainty between practitioners as to the role responsibilities and the ethical boundaries associated within strength and conditioning. Furthermore, a lack of understanding was identified as the largest inhibitory factor. Finally, guidelines are proposed as to what changes are required to facilitate the use of psychology within strength and conditioning. These comprise the increased use of continual professional development with workshop sessions developed by appropriately qualified psychologists. Equally the use of collaborative links with qualified psychologists was suggested as beneficial.


John Radcliffe


Paul Comfort

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