1st Edition

Applied Psychology Practice in Professional Sport Meeting the Person, Knowing the Athlete

By Mark Nesti Copyright 2025
    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    Applied Psychology Practice in Professional Sport is the first text to draw directly on psychological work delivered over many years to individual players and staff inside English Premier League Football as well as other professional sports, such as cricket, tennis, and golf.


    A key feature of this new text is the use of examples from the author’s applied practice, to demonstrate that many psychological terms and words used in the “lived world” of high-level professional sport, can be understood with greater depth and meaning where these are informed by more holistic perspectives such as existential, phenomenological, transpersonal and humanistic psychology. Implications for applied sport psychology practice are examined and recommendations offered.


    Although the book is about professional sport and psychology and is key readings for those associated within this discipline, the ideas and concepts discussed should be familiar to anyone involved in supporting people in challenging performance focused environments such as, business, education, or coaching professions. It is hoped that leaders, managers and other staff from these occupations, and closely related sectors, will find the book interesting and useful.          

    1. Introduction

    Part I: Key Psychological Qualities

    2. Courage

    3. Belief

    4. Passion

    5. Flow Play and Happiness

    Part II: Major Existential Themes

    6. Identity and Meaning

    7. Authenticity

    8. Spirit 

    9. Anxiety

    10. Paradoxical Leadership: Learning from the Best  


    Mark Nesti, PhD recently retired as Associate Professor: Psychology in Sport, and MSc Sports Psychology programme head at Liverpool John Moores University. He has published seven books during his career, including the first book in the world on existential psychology and sport, an account of his organizational psychology practice inside English Premier League football, and three books on Sport, Spirituality, Psychology and Meaning. Formerly he worked as a Sports Council regional officer and Sports development manager and has also been an applied psychology consultant with six Premier League teams, Yorkshire County Cricket Club, and worked with hundreds of Professional athletes and coaches from other sports during a 35-year career. Mark currently works as a consultant at his own company, Sportinspirit Limited, delivering psychology support to professional teams and sport performers.

    "Mark’s ability to build an authentic relationship with the athlete, as a person away from their sport, is paramount to his success. It's this relationship that forms a foundation for Mark and the athlete to truly allow for exploring and maximising the topics covered in this book"

    David Willey, England International cricketer and Captain: Northampton CCC T20 team.    


    "This book covers several of the most important psychological ideas tour pros will confront over their careers. More crucially, it acknowledges that a truly holistic approach to psychology is often necessary at this level, because sometimes what we do can become who we are!"        

    Paul Waring, Professional Golfer and European Tour Winner


    "Working with sport psychologists before, I often found their approach quite superficial when I needed more depth, a chance to look at my identity, and ways to help both performance and personal well-being. This book covers many of the most important concepts for me in my tennis career."      

    Anna Brogan, Scottish and GB Junior Girls number 1 and former WTA professional tennis player.  

    "Dr Nesti provides an exceptional insight into the complexity and simplicity of providing psychology support in elite level sporting environments. Drawing on his extensive experience, it is great to finally see a book that covers many of the key topics and issues I’ve dealt with delivering psychology in Premier League football. The text contains valuable material for anyone interested in personal flourishing and performance, and is a must read for practitioners navigating their careers in the applied world.  You will enjoy the challenge of the read."

    Dr. Martin Littlewood, Associate Professor of Performance Psychology, Head of the Football Exchange: Liverpool John Moores University, UK. Formerly, First team psychologist: Leicester City, Warrington Wolves, Rangers and Aston Villa. Currently at Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.   


    "Whilst at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, as well as working with individuals, Mark advised the Support staff on interdisciplinary cohesion with the well-being of players at the forefront. This was a vital component in the development of players and coaches.

    I found Mark to be a man of great experience and wisdom who made a positive difference to an organization, both individually and collectively"

    Martyn Moxon,  Former England cricket opening batsman, Director of Professional cricket, Yorkshire County Cricket Club.