A ‘win at all costs’ culture can make it almost impossible for people in high-performance environments like sport to show any sort of vulnerability, to concede that pressure takes a toll, to admit that they are not in fact superhuman. But many sports performers are beginning to change this narrative. In the penultimate episode of Series 2, Dr Pete Olusoga is joined by expert guests, Shakiba Moghadam and Dr Paul Gorczynski, for an open and honest conversation around mental health and well-being in sport
Shakiba Moghadam is a doctoral student focusing on the mental health literacy of women rugby players. She has a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Sport & Exercise Psychology and is the co-owner of Move Training Centre, a private Training facility in Southampton.
Dr Paul Gorczynski is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth and an HCPC registered Practitioner Psychologist. Paul was an expert member of the IOC consensus statement on mental health in elite athletes and is the co-author of the BASES Mental Health in Sport and Exercise psychology units.
At the start of Series 2, we ran a poll to find the Greatest Sports Movie of All Time… The Movie GOAT. Somehow, Remember the Titans won… still not sure how that happened, but pretty sure it’s your fault. Anyway, in this episode, Dr Pete is joined by Dr Meghan Halbrook, Dr Tammy Sheehy, and (not the first) returning guest, Todd Cauthorn, to discuss what we can learn from some of the great sports movies out there… and maybe more importantly, which is the Movie GOAT!
Dr Meghan Halbrook is a Certified Mental Performance Consultant, an Assistant Professor in Sport and Exercise Studies ,and the Director of the MA in Coaching and Sport Leadership Program at Randolph College.
Dr Tammy Sheehy, originally from New Zealand is an Assistant Professor at Bridgewater College where she directs the coaching minor and teaches classes in coaching and sport psychology.
Todd Cauthorn, from Roanoke Virginia, played basketball at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and then had stops playing pro basketball in Austria and Belgium on his way to playing for the Sheffield Sharks for 12 seasons.
From diving to doping to serious crimes, hardly a day goes by without an athlete getting themselves into some sort of trouble. In this episode Dr Pete is joined by Sport, Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, Dr Mitch Abrams, and Assistant Professor of sport and exercise psychology at Georgia Southern University, Dr Megan Byrd, to ask: do we deserve better from our sporting heroes? We talk about whether or not sport is inherently “good”, whether athletes should be role models, organisational deviance, and a whole lot more in this fascinating episode of Eighty Percent Mental
Mitch is an expert in anger, violence and trauma, specifically as it presents in the sports world. Besides writing Anger Management in Sport in 2010, he also is the Chief Psychologist in the prison system in New Jersey, where he has worked for the past 21 years. Megan is a certified mental performance consultant and the co-director of mental performance for South Georgia Tormenta FC.
Trigger Warning: This episode contains non-detailed references to sexual assault and rape. If you are in any way affected by the content of this episode, you can contact the Rape Crisis Centre at https://rapecrisis.org.uk for information and support.
The conversation should always be about more than just sport. In this EPM Special, Dr Pete Olusoga is joined by organisational psychologist and best-selling New York Times author, John Amaechi OBE, for an honest and inspiring conversation about racism, anti-racism, and what we all could or should be doing to make our communities fairer for everybody.
Dr Pete and Hugh Gilmore (featuring in his final episode) investigate how we might bring psychology into the weight room. Lead Strength and Conditioning coach at Sheffield Hallam University, Dave Hembrough, and ALTIS Programs Director and Performance Coach, Nick Ward, discuss the mental challenges they encounter, their use of psych ‘skills’, and what they wish they’d known about the mental side of performance when they started their coaching journeys. This one is not to be missed!
When words like diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness are mentioned, they’re often met with a mix of confusion, defensiveness, and responses like “well I just treat everyone the same, I don’t see difference.” In this episode Dr Pete is joined by Dr Ale Quartiroli and Shameema Yousuf to talk about the need for Cultural Awareness, and the importance of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the spaces that we work in.
Sometimes in life, you just have to go with what you’ve got. So that’s what we’ve done with this Director’s Cut version of this episode. Enjoy!
Less than a week after the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 2021 Olympics, Dr Pete and Hugh are joined, once again, by Dr Chelsi Day, Sport Psychologist at ‘The’ Ohio State University, and Dr Leah Washington, a professor of sports medicine and sport psychology, to chat about literally everything that happened at the Games. We discuss our favourite moments and yours, the twisties, the impact of the new sports, and the need for more sparkles all round… and a whole lot more too. Enjoy!
Dr Pete and Hugh find out everything you’ll ever need to know about resilience, with help from Dr Mustafa ‘Resilience’ Sarkar, a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Professor of Sport and Performance Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, and Wendy Searle, the 7th woman in history to ski 700 miles, unsupported, from Hercules Inlet to the geographic South Pole.
If you want to know what resilience is, what it isn’t, how to demonstrate and build resilience in individuals and teams, and how to make a tube of pringles last for several weeks, this is the episode for you.
This one is long! Just to mix things up a little, we decided to get you, dearest listeners, to come up with the questions for Dr Pete and Hugh to answer. “Ask us anything,” we said… and you did. From tips on imposter syndrome to getting in ‘The Zone’ to the greatest crisps of all time, Pete, Hugh, and special guest Elliott Newell talk for what turned out to be bloody ages, answering your questions. It’s good though. You’ll like this one!
Elliott Newell is a Senior Performance Pathways Scientist at the English Institute of Sport, and a BASES Accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist specialising in Psychological Support. He’s particularly interested in performance communities, talent development practice, and philosophy of sport, and his favourite sweets are not what you’d expect!
There are some sports for which athletes might spend a lifetime preparing for one shot, one opportunity. Other sports require a long push through a season, competing day in, day out, for months, only to start again the next year. The EVENT and the GRIND.
Dr Pete and Hugh are joined by Dr Karen MacNeill, who has experience of preparing athletes as a performance consultant and psychologist at four Winter Olympics, but also of competing on the world stage as an international hockey player. Pete, Hugh, and Dr MacNeill explore the differences and similarities of the EVENT and the GRIND from the perspectives of player, coach, and psychologist, in what turned out to be a right Bobby Dazzler of an episode!