3rd Edition

Psychology in Sports Coaching Theory and Practice

By Adam R. Nicholls Copyright 2022
    326 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    326 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The most effective coaches understand the fundamentals of sport psychology, which include interacting effectively with athletes, creating the optimal environment, assessing the psychological needs of their athletes, and providing them with the mental training required to maximise performance.

    Fully revised and updated, the third edition of Psychology in Sports Coaching clearly and accessibly introduces the principles and practice of sport psychology in the context of the coaching process. Drawing on the very latest research and theory, the book introduces the psychological tools and techniques that coaches can use to get the best performances out of their athletes. Including three new chapters on the constraints approach to assessing psychological needs, mental imagery, managing perfectionism tendencies, and mentoring leaders, the book also offers step-by-step guidance on key topics such as:

    • Assessing the needs of athletes
    • Facilitating awareness through goal setting and performance profiling
    • Coaching specialist populations effectively (e.g. children, adolescents, adults and athletes with learning disabilities)
    • Reducing favourable attitudes towards doping
    • Developing effective coach-athlete relationships
    • Reducing choking under pressure
    • Mindfulness techniques
    • Mental imagery

    Every chapter contains useful features to aid learning and understanding, including in-depth case studies, critical thinking questions, clear and concise summaries, and practice exam questions. Psychology in Sports Coaching is essential reading for any student of sports coaching, or any practising coach looking to extend and develop their skills, and useful applied reading for students of sport psychology.

    Part 1: Providing Psychological Training As A Coach And Mental Health Among Athletes

    1. Do’s and Don’ts for Coaches who Provide Sport Psychology to their Athletes: Ethics, Referrals, and the HCPC

    2. Mental Health Disorders and Symptoms Among Athletes

    Part 2: Identifying The Psychological Needs Of Athletes

    3. Conducting Intake Interviews

    4. Using Questionnaires to Assess the Needs of Athletes

    Part 3: Facilitating Awareness Among Athletes

    5. Goal Setting

    6. Performance Profiling

    Part 4: Coaching Different Populations And Providing Psychological Support To Athletes With Different Needs

    7. Coaching Children

    8. Coaching Adolescents

    9. Coaching Adults

    10. Coaching Athletes with Learning Disabilities

    11. Providing Psychological Support to an Injured Athlete

    12. Managing Perfectionistic Tendencies Among Athletes

    Part 5: Relationships, Support, And Influence Within Coaching Practice

    13. The Coach-Athlete Relationship

    14. Understanding and Building Team Cohesion

    15. Socially Supporting Athletes Effectively

    16. Enhancing Intrinsic Motivation among Athletes

    17. Creating the Optimal Motivational Climate

    18. Applying Self-Determination Theory and Research to Enhance Coaching Practice

    19. Reducing Favourable Attitudes and Susceptibility Towards Doping Among Athletes

    20. Developing Formal Athlete Leaders and Shared Leadership within Teams

    Part 6: Mental Skills Training For Athletes

    21. Mental Imagery

    22. Mental Toughness Training

    23. Maximising Sport-Confidence

    24. Coping Effectiveness Training

    25. Enhancing Challenge States and Minimising Threat among Athletes

    26. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Training

    27. Preventing Choking Under Pressure in Sport


    Adam R. Nicholls is based in the Department of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science at the University of Hull, UK. His primary research is related to stress, appraisal, and coping among athletes, along with the psycho-social factors linked to doping among athletes and coaches, which is reflected in his publications. Professor Nicholls has published more than 85 peer-reviewed journal articles and is a registered sport and exercise psychologist with the Health, Care, and Professions Council. He currently serves as an associate editor for Frontiers in Psychology and sits on the editorial board for the International Journal of Sport Psychology.