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Optimising Sport and Performance Psychology

Our group is focussed on optimising sport performance and participation and via assessment and intervention in elite and recreational level athletes. We are also working in priority areas covering aspects that impact on the psychological health and wellbeing of key stakeholders in sport. This includes athletes, referees, coaches, and support staff. Our team consists of experienced academics, BPS Chartered, and HCPC Registered Sport and Exercise Psychologists with extensive experience of conducting both theoretically informed and applied research across a breadth of sports.

Recent projects include:

  • Supervision of trainee sport and exercise psychologists on the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology (QSEP)
  • Research evaluation of a peer-to-peer learning program between Special Olympic and Premier League Academy players
  • Examination of the extent to which irrational performance beliefs and intolerance of uncertainty co-occur in relation to mental well-being among athletes and coaches
  • The development and validation of a psychometric scale that researchers and practitioners can use to examine the extent to which athletes experience the coach-created environment as highly perfectionistic

Staff members

Group leader: Melissa Fothergill

Melissa Fothergill

Dr Melissa Fothergill

Assistant Professor


Michael Grugan

Dr Michael Grugan



Julius Jooste

Dr Julius Jooste

Assistant Professor


Research at Northumbria

Research at Northumbria

Research is the life blood of a University and at Northumbria University we pride ourselves on research that makes a difference; research that has application and affects people's lives.

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Research Staff Profiles

Our students learn from the best – inspirational academic staff with a genuine passion for their subject, whose teaching is shaped by world-leading and internationally excellent research.

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