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Can psychology help football academy players to maximise their potential?

Sports psychologists from Bangor University have teamed up with Manchester City Football Club to identify and understand the psychological characteristics that help young academy players to fulfil their potential.

Over the next four years, Manchester City’s academy players will be tracked as part of this unique research project. City’s coaches have already identified the psychological characteristics that they believe are key to talent development, and these will be monitored and regularly assessed. The extent to which they predict improvements in performance levels during this time will be evaluated.

The research findings should provide a greater understanding of elite youth players’ psychological and overall development, enabling targeted efforts by the academy to accelerate player development.

This collaboration between Bangor University’s Institute for Psychology of Elite Performance and Manchester City’s City Football Services brings together a wealth of research and applied football expertise. The Institute for Psychology of Elite Performance has a world-leading reputation in sport psychology and in the production of impactful research that informs elite performance practices; whilst City coaches, sports scientists, physiotherapists, performance analysts and psychologists work together to ensure the optimal development of their youth players in an internationally renowned facility.

In a joint statement, Nichola Callow and James Hardy – Research Project Supervisors at Bangor University’s School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences – said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded funding for a Postdoctoral Fellowship and PhD Studentship to develop this research project with City Football Services. These posts have been taken up by Chin Wei Ong and Séamus Harvey respectively. It is a fantastic opportunity for the Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance at Bangor University”.

Cherrie Daley – Global Lead of Human Performance at City Football Services – also said:

“Bangor University boasts not only a strong research and teaching profile but also a verifiable track record of successful research within high performance sport, and we feel very positive about the potential impact of this work stream. The staff at Manchester City have worked incredibly closely with the University to design and develop a strong and integrated collaboration in this space, we expect to fully harness the academic expertise available at Bangor in order to drive innovative solutions to applied challenges over the coming seasons”.

Publication date: 20 October 2017