Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Module JXH-4002:
Performance Psychology

Module Facts

Run by School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Stuart Beattie

Overall aims and purpose

The vast majority of athletes in the world will compete in either team or individual performance environments (e.g., Football, Rugby, Cricket, Tennis, and Athletics). Therefore the psychological requirements for elite levels of performance within teams or at an individual level will be quite different. The first part of this module will examine performance psychology from the individuals standpoint. Specifically, we will examine how the athletes personality, cognition's, psychological resources, mental toughness, levels of stress, and psychophysiological responses to stress, interact with training and performance environments. This part of the module will heavily focus on some of the work that staff from the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences conducted with the English and Wales Cricket Board in the run up to their successful World Cup campaign in 2019. The aim of the second part of this module is to allow students to understand theories related to team effectiveness and more specifically, the application of team theory and research to more practical settings.

Course content

The course is delivered by one accredited Sport and Exercise Psychologist and one expert in Team Dynamics both of whom have worked with elite level sport and business. Practical work in lectures will explore topics in Attention Control under Pressure, Reinvestment; Individual Differences in Mental Toughness, Resilience, Personality, Psychophysiology, Neuropsychology, Group Cohesion; Collective Efficacy; Leadership; Goals; Team Work, Team Building, and Group conflict.

Assessment Criteria


Students should be able to present an outstanding in-depth and critical discussion of the underlying theories and models covered in the course work. They will be able to apply their knowledge to the case studies presented to them, whilst referring relevant research throughout to justify their intervention. Limitations of research findings may also be acknowledged at this level.


Students should be able to present a very good discussion of the underlying theories and models covered in the course work. They will demonstrate that they have read around the topic and demonstrate a very good level of understanding in applying research to practice.


Students should be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of the concepts taught across this module. They will be able to demonstrate that they understand how these theories relate to the performance environment and be able to produce sound basic applied interventions.

Learning outcomes

  1. Students will have a critical appreciation of concepts and theory specific to the group dynamics literature.

  2. Students will be able to apply team related theories and reserch to real-life examples (e.g., the implementation of evidence-based interventions).

  3. Students will be able to apply relevant theories and models relating to individual performance psychology to the athletes intervention

  4. Students will develop a deep understanding of the complexities of individual athlete profiles and be better able to tailor applied interventions taking into account individual differences.

  5. Critically analyse research evidence on individual performance psychology. Learn how to assess, apply and provide evidence in order to allow the athlete to maintain high levels of performance under pressure.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
CASE STUDY Individual intervention

a. Develop a holistic understanding of the individual using principles from psychophysiology, neuroscience, personality psychology and sport psychology. Provide a brief summary of what the person looks like. What looks normal, what doesn’t? What characteristics look good for sports performance, which ones don’t? b. Predict the processes most likely to occur for this individual in high-pressure scenarios. Explain with reference to performance, what has the potential to go wrong? c. Design bespoke interventions in order to minimise the likelihood of impaired performance under pressure. These interventions should comprise of both individualised social-support psych skills interventions (i.e., more soft skills in nature) and training drills and practices (i.e., more hard skills in nature).

CASE STUDY Executive report

The purpose of this assessment is for you to demonstrate your knowledge of one chosen aspect of teamwork/group dynamics as applied to a chosen sport. You are to write an executive report (NOT a traditional scholarly essay!) for a performance director, head coach, or national lead. Assume that this individual is educated and holds a PhD in the Sports Sciences but is relatively unfamiliar with the scientific group dynamics literature. You are tasked with identifying one aspect of group dynamics/teamwork pivotal for success in your chosen sport – this decision needs clear empirical justification and likely needs referral to the demands of your chosen sport (avoid manufacturing case study data to act as a basis for your chosen feature of group dynamics.) This should be accompanied by a critique of relevant literature appraising either sport or organisational psychology or pertinent features of both depending on the relative development of the respective literatures. This appraisal of literature ought to provide a platform from which to propose justifiable practical advice/guidance and suggestions for intervening to “improve” your chosen pivotal aspect. Subsequently you will also need to offer such concrete practical guidance (i.e., applied implications/interventions) to the performance director etc. Being a scientist, the performance director, head coach, or national lead (e.g., head of psychological services for a national governing body) also wishes to assure him/herself that should an intervention be implemented evidence of its success can be gathered and so can be presented to his/her bosses. Please note, compared to the other aspects of the assignment, measurement and questionnaires are very much a secondary issue, which should be covered within the applied implications section.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


“This course will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminar, tutorials and workshops. For September 2020 we will be starting the academic year with a blended learning approach in response to Covid 19. For the most up to date information on this please look at”. This is a double module. A double module involves up to 200 hours of student study. These 200 hours include all contact time with staff, private study time, and assessments. Outlined below is an approximate guide for the allocation of these 200 hours. This guide is intended to help students allocate the necessary time to various aspects of the module.

Lecture contact time (9 lectures/workshops @ 4 hours/lecture) 36 hours

Individual meetings with lecturers to discuss proposed interventions (up to 30 minutes per student)

Required reading (84 hours)

Two case studies (2 case studies @ 40 hours each) 80 hours


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • research and assess paradigms, theories, principles, concepts and factual information, and apply such skills in explaining and solving problems
  • critically assess and evaluate data and evidence in the context of research methodologies and data sources
  • describe, synthesise, interpret, analyse and evaluate information and data relevant to a professional or vocational context
  • plan, design, execute and communicate a sustained piece of independent intellectual work, which provides evidence of critical engagement with, and interpretation of, appropriate data
  • apply knowledge to the solution of familiar and unfamiliar problems
  • develop a sustained reasoned argument, perhaps challenging previously held assumptions
  • demonstrate effective written and/or oral communication and presentation skills
  • work effectively independently and with others
  • take and demonstrate responsibility for their own learning and continuing personal and professional development
  • self-appraise and reflect on practice
  • project manage and execute practical activities using appropriate techniques and procedures whilst demonstrating high levels of relevant skills
  • demonstrate evidence of competence in the scientific methods of enquiry, and interpretation and analysis of relevant data and statistical outputs.
  • develop transferable skills of relevance to careers outside of sport, health and exercise sciences.
  • communicate succinctly at a level appropriate to different audiences.
  • develop knowledge of psychometric instruments
  • accurately interpret case study data
  • develop justifiable and/or evidence-based interventions


Talis Reading list

Reading list

Below is a sample from the reading list and students should open the Talis link for a more comprehensive list. But it is also advised that students search for further readings.

Bell, J., Hardy, L., & Beattie, S. (2013). Enhancing mental toughness and performance under pressure in elite young cricketers: a 2 year longitudinal intervention. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 2, 281-297.

Eysenck, M. W., Derakhshan, N., Santos, R., & Calvo, M. G. (2007). Anxiety and cognitive performance: Attentional control theory. Emotion, 7(2), 336-353.

Gucciardi, D., Hanton, S., Gordon, S., Mallet, C., & Temby, P. (2014). The Concept of Mental Toughness: Tests of Dimensionality, Nomological Network, and Traitness. Journal of Personality, 83, 26-44. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12079.

Gucciardi, D. F., & Gordon, S. (Eds.). (2011). Mental toughness in sport: Developments in research and theory. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

Hardy, L., Bell, J., & Beattie, S. (2014). Mental Toughness and Reinforcement Sensitivity: Preliminary evidence for a neuropsychological model of mental toughness. Journal of Personality, 82, 69-81. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12034.

Young, B. W., & Starkes, J. L. (2006a). Coaches’ perceptions of non-regulated training behaviours in competitive swimmers. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 1, 53–68.


Carron, A. V., Colman, M. M., Wheeler, J., & Stevens, D. (2002). Cohesion and performance in sport: A meta analysis. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 24, 168-188.

Hardy, L., Arthur, C. A., Jones, G., Shariff, A., Munnoch, K., Isaacs, I., & Allsopp, A. J. (2010). The relationship between transformational leadership behaviors, psychological, and training outcomes in elite military recruits. The Leadership Quarterly, 21, 20-32. doi: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2009.10.002

Martin, L. J., Carron, A. V., & Burke, S. M. (2009). Team building interventions in sport: A meta analysis. Sport and Exercise Psychology Review, 5, 3-18.

McEwan D. & Beauchamp, M. R. (2014). Teamwork in sport: a theoretical and integrative review, International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 7, 229-250. DOI: 10.1080/1750984X.2014.932423

Webster, L., Hardy, J. & Hardy, L. (2017). Big hitters: Important factors characterizing team effectiveness in professional cricket. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1140. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01140

Full reading list here

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: