module specification

ST6002 - Sport Psychology and the Elite Athlete (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Sport Psychology and the Elite Athlete
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 300
206 hours Guided independent study
94 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 25%   Written report (1500 words)
In-Course Test 25%   Class test (1hr)
Coursework 50%   Case study (2500 words)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Monday Morning

Module summary

This module explores contemporary theory in sport psychology and its relevance to the elite athletic performer. Approaching from an applied perspective, important concepts are considered in terms of their potential impact on an athlete’s psychological state.

Prior learning requirements

ST5002 or ST5052

Module aims

The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Educations Qualifications. This module aims to introduce students to the key psychological demands associated with elite sports performance. The module allows students to explore key theories that explain how athletes cope with these psychological demands. In terms of employability, students will gain a critical insight into the applied practice of sport psychology and gain experiences of some of the key interpersonal skills that make an effective sport psychologist.


Coping and emotion in sport: models of stress and coping,
Mental toughness: definitions and characteristics, measurement issues, phenomenological perspectives
Athlete eating disorders: incidence and prevalence, clinical features, risk factors, treatment and prevention, lived experiences
Psychological Interventions: counselling approaches, Neuro Linguistic Programming, psychological assessment, mental skills training
Applied sport psychology skills: Communication, rapport building, interviewing, observations, ethical considerations, confidentiality, active listening

Learning and teaching

The basic structure to teaching and learning will involve a theory driven lecture supported by an interactive practical seminar. Lectures will provide the essential theoretical base, whereas seminars offer students the opportunity to discuss this knowledge and its relevance to practice and to reflect on the learning that has occurred and its role in future employment. Reflective practice, as an important employability strand, is a key teaching focus and is incorporated into a learning outcome.

Key strategies:
Workshops/Seminars/Practicals (discussion/interaction/experiential learning)
WebLearn (blended learning/information point/discussion board)
Self-directed learning
Students’ study responsibilities are articulated in the FLS Staff/Student Agreement which is available via the Faculty Web site.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Critically discuss key psychological characteristics associated with elite athletes.
2. Demonstrate theoretical and conceptual understanding of coping and emotion in sport.
3. Appraise methods of psychological needs assessment and intervention strategies.
4. Propose theoretically informed intervention strategies appropriate for specific athlete needs.
5. Apply principles of reflective practice from an applied sport psychology perspective.
6. Demonstrate effective communication and interpersonal skills.

Assessment strategy

Assessments have been designed to provide students with a diverse range of tasks that maintain interest and encourage engagement. This breadth also ensures the development of a greater number of key skills pertinent to employability. The even dispersion of assessments across the year ensures a manageable workload.

Written report (LO 1 & 2, assessment tariff: 1500 words): scientific writing, theoretical discussion, critical analysis, framing arguments, information gathering and synthesis.
Class test (LO 3, assessment tariff: 1hr): information recollection, knowledge application, interpretation of materials, performing under time pressure
Case study/Interview (LO 4, 5, & 6, assessment strategy: 2500 words): communication and interpersonal skills, application of theory to practice, scientific writing, critical analysis, reflective practice.


Anderson, M. B. (2000). Doing Sport Psychology. Champaign Illinois: Human Kinetics.
Hanton, S., & Mellalieu, S. (2006). Literature Reviews in Sport Psychology. Nova Biomedical.
Hemmings, B., & Holder, T. (2009). Applied Sport Psychology: A Case-based Approach. Wiley-Blackwell.
Thatcher, J., Jones, M., & Lavallee, D. (2011). Coping and Emotion in Sport. Routledge.
Thompson, R. A., & Sherman, R. T. (2010). Eating Disorders in Sport. New York: Routledge.
Weinberg, R.S. and Gould, D. (2011) Foundations of sport and exercise psychology. 5th ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Journal of Applied Sport Psychology
Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Psychology of Sport and Exercise Journal