School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Professor Chris Harwood

Photo of Professor Chris Harwood

Professor of Sport Psychology

BEACON Lead: Sport and Exercise

Chris is a BASES High Performance Sport Accredited Psychologist and BPS Chartered Psychologist who has consulted with a variety of National Governing Bodies, Professional organisations, athletes and coaches over the past 15 years.

In 2011, Chris was awarded a BASES Fellowship in recognition of his contribution to applied sport psychology  in the UK and long term services to BASES in promoting the development of psychology as a sub discipline of sport science and prior supervised experience programmes.

His applied experiences reflect his interest in coach education and parent education, alongside the psychological development and education of junior and senior athletes.

He acts as a consultant for the Lawn Tennis Association, Tennis Midlands, Nottinghamshire Cricket, and Nottingham Forest FC Academies, having served as Club Psychologist for Nottingham Forest FC between 2002-2004.

He is currently the Vice-President of the European Federation of Sport Psychology and serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. He is also an editorial board member for The Sport Psychologist.

In his spare time, Chris is a senior county tennis player for Leicestershire who runs, golfs and skis.

His personal research and teaching interests lie in the area of achievement motivation and motivational climate, the development of psychosocial skills and competencies, with a focus on youth sport and the role of parents and coaches. He has published extensively on these topics, particularly within tennis and football.

As an accreditation supervisor and MSc Programmes leader for Sport and Exercise Psychology at the University, he is also interested in the training and development of sport psychologists.

Chris has presented his work at over 45 international conferences and in 1998 he was the first Briton to receive the 'PhD dissertation of the year' award from AAASP and was invited to lecture on his research and applied work.

He has recently co-authored his 2nd book, Momentum in Soccer: Controlling the Game (Higham, Harwood & Cale, 2005; Coachwise) based on his applied work in professional soccer.

  • Vice President, The European Federation of Sport Psychology (FEPSAC).
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology
  • Member, Editorial Board of The Sport Psychologist
  • Member, WTA Tour Sports science/medicine professional advisory panel.
  • Member of the International Relations Committee, Association for Applied Sport Psychology
  • Member of the BASES High Performance Sport Accreditation Review Committee.
  • Member of the British Psychological Society Board for the BPS Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology.
  • External Examiner (2006-): M.Res Postgraduate Sport and Exercise Science Programme, School of Biomedical and Natural Sciences, Nottingham Trent University.
  • External Examiner (2008-): BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences, Brunel University

Selected Invited Conference Keynote and Speaker Presentations

  • Integrating sport psychology into elite youth soccer: Player, coach and parent interventions. The Icelandic National Olympic Committee (NOC) Sport Science Conference. April 2009
  • Stress in sport parents: Qualitative studies within long term athlete development. The Icelandic National Olympic Committee (NOC) Sport Science Conference. April 2009
  • Implementing psychological programmes for the development of elite young athletes. The Italian Society of Sport Psychology Conference, Rome: October, 2008.
  • The psychology of elite performance environments. National Sports Science and Medicine Conference, The British Paralympic Association, Loughborough: February, 2006.
  • Beyond Motivational Climates in Competitive Sport. British Association and Sport and Exercise Sciences Conference, Loughborough, September, 2005
  • Motivation in Sport: A case of achievement goal theory. International Congress of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance, Turkey, November 2004.

Selected Recent Research Projects and Sources of Funding:

  • Player development and coach education in sport psychology. Research and resource development programme. The Football Association (2006-2008). Total funding: £673,000 to support analysis, research, and resource development the FA Analysis and Production Unit.
  • Understanding Parental Stress in Tennis. The Lawn Tennis Association, £10,000 (2006-2007)
  • Parental stress in Academy Football. The Football Association, £5,000 (2006-2007)
  • Keegan, R., Spray, C.M., Harwood, C.G., & Lavallee, D. (2010).  The Motivational Atmosphere in Youth Sport: Coach, Parent, and Peer Influences on Motivation in Specializing Sport Participants.  Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 22, 87-105.
  • McCarthy, P.J., Jones, M. V., Harwood, C.G., & Davenport, L. (2010).  Using Goal Setting to Enhance Positive Affect Among Junior Multievent Athletes.  Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 4, 53-68.
  • HarwoodC.G., Drew, A. & Knight, C.J. (2010). Parental Stressors in Professional Youth Football Academies: A Qualitative Investigation of Specialising Stage Parents.Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise, 2, 39-55.
  • Harwood, C.G., & Knight, C.J. (2009). Understanding parental stressors in tennis: An investigation of British tennis parents. Journal of Sport Sciences, 27, 339-351.
  • Keegan, R., Harwood, C.G., Spray, C.M., & Lavallee, D. (2009). A qualitative investigation exploring the motivational climate in early-career sports participants: Coach, parent and peer influences on sport motivation. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 10, 361-372.
  • Jones, M. & Harwood, C.G. (2008). Psychological momentum within competitive soccer: Player's perspectives. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 20, 57-72.
  • Pummell, E.K.L., Harwood, C.G., & Lavallee, D.(2008). Jumping to the next level: Examining the within-career transition of adolescent event riders. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 9, 427-447.
  • Harwood, C.G. (2008). Developmental consulting in a professional soccer academy: The 5C's coaching efficacy program. The Sport Psychologist, 22, 109-133.
  • Pain, M. A. & Harwood, C.G. (2008). The performance environment in English youth soccer: A quantitative investigation. Journal of Sports Sciences, 26, 1157-1169.