Loughborough University supporting New Zealand’s Olympic dreams

Performance psychology and management research conducted in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences is being used to help New Zealand's Olympic athletes and teams prepare for the Rio Olympics.

Last month, Dr David Fletcher consulted with High Performance Sport New Zealand’s leadership and staff about how best to develop resilient athletes, teams and organizations.  His visit was funded by a New Zealand Prime Minister’s Scholarship.

During his visit, Dr Fletcher presented at the High Performance Directors’ Leadership Forum about how to develop the skills required to perform at consistently high levels under pressure.  The audience, which consisted of leaders from a range of New Zealand’s top sports teams and organisations, spent time discussing how best to translate the insights to their specific sports and contexts.

Dr Fletcher also hosted a two day professional development workshop with the national teams’ sport psychologists, to discuss innovations in coaching practice and education across a number of sports.  The visit marks the start of an ongoing relationship aligned with New Zealand’s vision of a world-leading system that optimises athletes’ well-being and performance at the highest level of international sport.

Dr Fletcher said:

“Using our research to positively impact on the ‘real-world’ of elite sport is an important part of our work in School.  High Performance Sport New Zealand wanted to learn about and find ways to apply the findings of our research, and we took some really positive steps in informing athlete support at a national level”.

Campbell Thompson, from High Performance Sport New Zealand’s psychology practice said:

“As a group we identified the research by David and his colleagues as world-leading in informing how sports systems can cultivate psychological resilience in athletes across time. It was a pleasure to welcome David to New Zealand and there was a strong fit with the applied models of practice we use. David’s work with us is an important step in developing a shared and practical understanding of how coaches, administrators, support teams and athletes can work together to help New Zealanders thrive at the highest levels of performance on the world stage.”

Professor Mark Freeman, Loughborough University Research Challenge Leader: Secure and Resilient Societies, added:

“Resilience is a concept that cross-cuts across many sectors and levels.  Elite sport is one of the most visible and demanding of arenas and, as such, the ability to perform under pressure is a prerequisite for success at the highest levels.  Our partnership with High Performance Sport New Zealand is another example of the global reach and significance of our work in this area”.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 16/81

Loughborough University is equipped with a live in-house broadcast unit via the Globelynx network. To arrange an interview with one of our experts please contact the press office on 01509 223491. Bookings can be made online via www.globelynx.com

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, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named the best in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey. Loughborough was ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2017 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2017 and was also named University of the Year in the In the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

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