Dr Karl Steptoe


  • Sport and Performance Psychology Lead

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 has 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.

Karl’s main research interest is in applied psychology research and specifically the efficacy of interventions to accelerate expertise and to resist performance breakdown under perceived pressure or ‘choking’. In addition, Karl has interest in the development of psycho-social competencies in young people, professional practice, and the application of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in sport and performance contexts.

Current PhD Students

Andrew Wilkinson (Principal Supervisor: Dr Jamie Barker; Co Supervisor(s): Dr David Fletcher, Dr Robin Jackson) Working title: The cognitive mechanics of performance breakdown: Promoting challenge and maintaining performance under pressure.

Sion Rowlands (Principal Supervisor: Prof. Chris Cushion) Working title: Understand and Develop Coach Behaviour in Elite Youth Football 

  • Committee Member of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology (DSEP)
  • Member of the British Psychological Society Practice Board

Karl is an HCPC registered, BPS Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist. He has held positions as lead Sport and Exercise Psychologist in Premier League Football, Professional County Cricket, and GB Wheelchair Tennis, and works with players on both the men’s and ladies’ European Golf Tour. As an applied practitioner, Karl provides sport and exercise psychology services in line with the core cognitive, cognitive-behavioural and humanistic principles that guide his consultancy.

Featured publications

  • Chandler, C., Steptoe, K., & Eubank, M. (2020). Assessing the impact of psychology provision in elite youth soccer. In J.G. Dixon, J.B. Barker, R.C. Thelwell & I. Mitchell (Eds.), The Psychology of Soccer. UK: Routledge/Psychology Press.
  • Steptoe, K., King, T., & Harwood, C.G. (2018). The consistent psycho-social development of young footballers: Implementing the 5C’s as a vehicle for interdisciplinary cohesion. In E. Konter, J. Beckmann, & T. Loughead (Eds.), Football Psychology: From Theory to Practice. UK: Routledge/Psychology Press.
  • Harwood, C.G., & Steptoe, K. (2017). Excellence together: Integrated Sport Psychology for Coaches and Young Athletes. In Camilla J. Knight, Chris G. Harwood, & Daniel Gould (Eds.), Sport Psychology for Young Athletes. UK: Routledge/Psychology Press.
  • Steptoe, K., Barker, J., & Harwood, C. (2016). Psychological service provision to the elite football performance network: Supporting coaches, players, parents and teams. In L. Tashman & G. Cremades (Eds.), Global Practices and Training in Applied, Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology: a Case Study Approach. UK: Routledge/Psychology Press.
  • Steptoe, K., Barker, J., & Harwood, C. (2014). Enhancing the performance of individual athletes and teams: Considerations and challenges for the delivery of sport psychology services. In L. Tashman & G. Cremades (Eds.), Becoming a Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Professional: International Perspectives. UK: Routledge/Psychology Press.
  • Harwood, C.G., & Steptoe, K. (2013). The integration of single case designs in coaching contexts: A commentary for applied sport psychologists. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 25, 167-174.