Elite sport in Singapore: Alumnus set to release new book

Alumnus Nicholas de Cruz PhD is a psychology lecturer at the Singapore University of Social Sciences and a developmental coach with the Singapore Sailing Federation. His research is centered around cultural sport psychology and elite sport in Singapore.

Nicholas, who has a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science, and an MSc in Psychology of Sport and Exercise from Loughborough is due to release a book in May. We recently caught up with Nicholas about the release of his book, Cultural Sport Psychology and Elite Sport in SingaporeAn Exploration of Identity and Practice. 

What influenced you to write your book? 

With the goal of producing research that is situated within the context of its intended application, this book is my attempt to highlight the significance of culture in shaping sporting ecosystems and the practice of sport psychology in Singapore, my home. 

Guided by the principles of cultural sport psychology (CSP), this book explores the psychosocial issues surrounding elite sport and psychological practice in Singapore.  

CSP recognises the importance of understanding people as individuals, rather than objectifying and interpreting psychological processes independent of the socio-cultural context in which they stem from. For sport psychology to progress, it is imperative to distinguish and appreciate the difference between treating someone the same and treating them equally, keeping cultural awareness in mind. 

To address the scarcity of cultural-specific research, this book explores the psychosocial issues of elite sport in Singapore using CSP as a theoretical and guiding philosophy.  

Given Singapore’s recent successes at Olympic and Paralympic levels, this book is ideally timed to investigate the social and cultural developments of elite sport as they occur in a specific socio-cultural context.  

If elite sport and sport psychology is to progress in Singapore, there is a need to refine its elite ecosystem, regulate the practice of sport psychology, and work towards establishing a professional community centered around a culture of constructive exchange, debate, and cooperation. 

This book presents a blueprint to any researcher, national institute, or practitioner, to systematically explore the culture and context within which they operate and organise action plans to address unique needs that were identified through this process. 

As a two-time Loughborough graduate, how has your work been impacted by your studies? 

As an international sailor of 8 years and a former Byte World Champion, my exposure to the intricacies and challenges of high-performance sport in Singapore ignited my interest in sport science, which I studied at Loughborough University. Reflecting on those athletic experiences, during my final year, I chose to explore the self-determined motivations of elite athletes in Singapore. While completing this dissertation, I realised my passion for sport psychology. 

To become a psychologist, I read an MSc in Psychology at the University of Westminster and then a more specific MSc in Psychology of Sport and Exercise, returning to Loughborough University. 

What has your journey looked like since leaving Loughborough? 

Following graduation from Loughborough, I had the privilege to pursue a PhD in Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Science at the University of Birmingham. During the final stages of my PhD journey, I joined the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) as a Lecturer in Psychology. At SUSS, I teach Performance Psychology, Research Methods, and Qualitative Research. In my spare time, I stay connected to my sport and the sea by coaching developmental sailors at Singapore’s National Sailing Centre. 

Cultural Sport Psychology and Elite Sport in Singapore: An Exploration of Identity and Practice will be released on 6 May 2022.