Experts in Sport: Building psychological strength through the 5Cs

In the latest episode of the “Experts in Sport” podcast, host Martin Foster sits down with Chris Harwood, Sport Psychology professor, and Karl Steptoe, Sport & Performance Psychology Lead, both from the University’s School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences.

They discuss the development and research behind the 5Cs framework, which aims to make sports psychology more accessible and targeted at helping young people.

The 5Cs - Commitment, Communication, Concentration, Control, and Confidence – constitute an evidence-based framework and has been developed to help athletes, coaches, parents, and practitioners to thrive in sport and through the challenges that it offers. The 5Cs framework focuses on the social and psychological aspects of sport and how those factors may be affected in an athlete’s day-to-day life.

During the episode, the guests share the story behind the development process of the framework, as well as how they measured it and its effects. Next, they discuss how coaches and clubs have been implementing the 5Cs with efficiency, as well as the plans for the framework’s future.

Chris is a Professor in Sport Psychology and the University Beacon lead for Sport and Exercise. He is also a Practitioner Sport Psychologist registered with the Health Care Professions Council and a Chartered Psychologist of the British Psychological Society. His research interests and expertise lie in the psychosocial aspects of youth sport and athlete development, with a particular focus on the socio-environmental influence of parents and coaches.

Karl graduated with a BSc in Psychology from the University of Greenwich in 2008 and an MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Loughborough University in 2009. In 2016 he completed his PhD at the University of Greenwich entitled “Motivational Influence on The Attentional Processes of Competitive Golfers” under the Supervision of Professor Pam Maras and Dr Robert Willson.

Karl also held lecturing positions in Psychology at London Metropolitan University and the University of Greenwich before joining Loughborough University in 2017 as Sport and Performance Psychology Lead.

Listeners of the podcast can subscribe and download the latest episode by visiting iTunes, Spotify, and TuneIn. All subscribers will receive an alert once new episodes are published.

The Experts in Sport podcast is a regular series that brings together experts from across Loughborough University with external thought leaders to discuss the latest research and hot topics in sport and academia with new episodes launched regularly.


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 23/61

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.