Sport and Performance Psychology

The Loughborough Applied Psychology Service (LAPS) provides Sport and Performance Psychology support to our performance programmes through our team of Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologists and Sport and Exercise Psychologists in training. We work with athletes, teams and coaches to enhance performance and wellbeing.

What is Sport and Performance Psychology support?

The importance of the mental side of sport is widely recognised, however, not always given specific attention. Our aim is to promote an equal dedication to training in this area to enable our athletes and teams to achieve their potential and gain a competitive advantage. In some instances, our practitioners will work with athletes to develop strategies to overcome barriers to optimal performance, such as: managing low confidence, performance anxiety or reduced motivation. The ability to regulate thoughts, emotions and behaviour, however, are skills that can assist the high performing athlete or team gain that important performance edge. Loughborough Sport athletes do not only work on their mental performance when things are not going to plan; psychology is an area of consistent focus to achieve elite performance standards and maximum enjoyment of their sport.

How we work

Our practitioners work within the interdisciplinary team to develop psychological skills in athletes/players and promote the most adaptive environments to meet the known demands of training and competitive performance. This is achieved through bespoke one to one consultation, group workshops, educational resources and contribution to training session designs that prepare the athlete to perform when they need to most.

Experience of our team

Practitioners working within the Loughborough Applied Psychology Service are Accredited Practitioner Psychologists (Health & Care Professions Council, HCPC) Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologists (British  Psychological Society, BPS); Chartered Sport Scientists (British Association of Sport and Exercise Science, BASES); or completing either the BPS Stage 2 Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology (QSEP) or the BASES Sport and Exercise Psychology Accreditation Route (SEPAR). The programme is further supported by our postgraduate and undergraduate students who assist with ethically appropriate tasks.

Our Sport and Performance Psychology team:  

We currently have over 20 LAPS practitioners working across all performance programmes at the University. The programme is led by Dr Karl Steptoe, Sport and Performance Psychology Lead at Loughborough University.

Sports and Performance Psychology Lead

Karl Steptoe, PhD, CPsychol

Karl is a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist (British Psychological Society) and registered Practitioner Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Karl has worked as Lead Psychologist within a number of sports including professional football and cricket, has worked with golfers on both the men’s and ladies European Tour and has provided consultancy services to the Lawn Tennis Association to support wheelchair athletes through to the Paralympic Games. 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.