Job search
Job Search

People profile: Dr Paul McCarthy, sports psychologist

Psychology lecturer and sports psychologist

Published in Sports Management Mar Apr 2017 issue 130
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue
Dr Paul McCarthy helps athletes to think about competition positively
Dr Paul McCarthy helps athletes to think about competition positively

How do you assist athletes?
As sports psychologists, we aim to re-educate people to interpret events positively. I teach athletes to view emotions as information, rather than direction. When we understand the emotions we’re experiencing, we can better decide what to do with that information.

For example, some people interpret butterflies in their tummy as a sign of worry, but if you think about this feeling as your body preparing itself for a challenge, then this feeling becomes more positive.

Can a negative mindset have a negative impact?
Absolutely. Too much thinking can take you in the wrong direction. We help people to understand which thoughts are helpful and which should be discarded.

Our bodies work less efficiently when we’re in a stressed state, compared to when we’re in a challenged state. If we see a competition as a challenge – which is in our control – and we have the resources to cope, along with sufficient energy and excitement, then our bodies respond better physiologically and psychologically.

What’s the optimum state to be in before a competition?
Each individual has a different response: some will be bouncing off the walls and others might want to do a crossword. Many athletes haven’t worked out what works for them yet and that’s what we try to facilitate. This is why it’s important for children to get used to the sporting context early on.

How important is personality type in sporting success?
All types of personalities can succeed in all sorts of sports, but it has been shown that people who persevere are more likely to get to the top of their sport than others.

Those with a high working memory – who keep a lot in their head – tend to perform worse under stress compared with others.

Single-mindedness can help you succeed in sport, although not necessarily in your life outside sport. This ability to narrow and focus is helpful in individual sports, however could be a disadvantage in a team game.

How can sports managers apply your research?
They should help new members to get what they want. Most people come with a goal, but don’t know how to achieve it. They come with the intention and motivation, but need to be given the strategy, and then feedback, to succeed in their goals, otherwise the intention eventually wears off.

What works universally is simple: support, encouragement, warm feedback, direction and guidance. The people who receive this do exceptionally well. Coaches and instructors need to help people to believe they are the person they wish to become.

Elevate speaker info:

Paul will join a line-up of industry speakers at this year’s Elevate conference, taking place at ExCel, London, on 10–11 May 2017.

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
Sports jobs
Everyone Active
featured job

Swimming Teachers

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive hourly rate
Job location: Nationwide

General Manager

truGym
Salary: Competitive
Location: Gateshead, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930
Location: Manchester, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 PA
Location: Oxford, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £16,696 per annum
Location: Appleby-in-Westmorland, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £19,775 per annum (39 hours pro rata)
Location: Cambridge, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,305 per annum
Location: Preston, UK

General Manager

The Gym Group
Salary: Competitive salary plus benefits
Location: London, England, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,305 per annum
Location: Reading, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £16,696 per annum
Location: Swindon, UK
recruiting with sports management

Catering Supervisor

GLL
Salary: Up To £17,977 PA
Location: Swindon, UK

Sales Manager

Lex Leisure
Salary: 25,000 per annum (plus OTE)
Location: Bexleyheath, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 PA
Location: Chingford, London, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 PA
Location: Preston, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 PA
Location: Manchester, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 PA
Location: Teversham, Cambridge, UK

Senior Recreation Assistant

New Hall School
Salary: £9.02ph - £10.76ph
Location: Boreham, Chelmsford, UK
recruiting with sports management

Assistant Manager

GLL
Salary: Up To £34,966 PA
Location: Epsom, UK

Health and Fitness Supervisor

GLL
Salary: Up To £23,894 PA
Location: Finchley, London, UK

General Manager

GLL
Salary: Up To £31,251 PA
Location: Bradford, UK

Fitness Class Instructors

Anglia Ruskin University
Salary: Hourly paid upon submission of claims
Location: Chelmsford, UK

Swimming Teacher

Circadian Leisure Trust
Salary: £10.96 - £13.24 per hour
Location: Yate, Bristol, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up To £25,655 PA
Location: London, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £9.00 per hour
Location: Belfast, UK
training with sports management

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,305 per annum
Location: Cambridge, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,305 per annum
Location: Amersham, UK

Assistant General Manager

The Gym Group
Salary: Competitive salary plus benefits
Location: Telford, UK

Team Leader

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive Salary
Location: Bristol, UK

Swim Manager

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive Rates
Location: Alton, UK

Duty Manager

Mytime Active
Salary: £20,000 - £25,000 per annum
Location: Bromley, UK

Recreation Assistant / Lifeguard

Mytime Active
Salary: £17,076.80 per annum pro rata
Location: Bromley, UK
lifeguard jobs  swimming teacher jobs  recreation assistant jobs  apprenticeships jobs  personal trainer jobs  Gymnastics Coach jobs  duty manager jobs  assistant manager jobs  general manager jobs  assistant general manager jobs  Customer Services Advisor jobs  Catering Assistant jobs 
More jobs

Video Gallery

Wattbike
The choice of the elite. Wattbike introduced the first true indoor bike in 2008, changing indoor cycling forever. Developed in association with world class coaches and athletes, and now chosen by the world’s premier health clubs, cycling studios, and personal trainers as well as universities, the military, and countless athletes and coaches across the world, Wattbike has truly revolutionised indoor cycling. Want to join our revolution? Power up your business with Wattbike.
Visit website
More videos

Company profile

Company profile: Crown Sports Lockers
Crown Sports Lockers has designed, crafted and fitted bespoke timber furniture for spas, hotels and the sport and leisure sectors since 1993.
View full profile >
More company profiles

Featured Supplier

Who does your brand belong to?
Who does your brand belong to? There used to be only one answer to this question: the company that grew it and invested in it.
View full details >
More featured suppliers

Diary dates

21-23 Jan 2020
Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom
28-30 Jan 2020
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
More diary dates