5 Reasons Team Captains Should Work With A Sports Psychologist

Case Study: Developing a fearless approach with a professional footballer

Sport Psychology Tips: 5 Reasons Team Captains Should Work with a Sports Psychologist

Leadership support is vital for captains to perform optimally

In 2002, I began a new role as a Business Travel Consultant after working in a variety of customer focused and supervisory roles in the travel industry.  Within 9 months I was promoted to Branch Manager, I was ecstatic at the opportunity.  The position meant my responsibilities were hugely different.  It was a bold move from the company, I was the youngest and least experienced member in the team and I had no formal managerial or leadership training or experience.

Sink or Swim Time

To say my first month was interesting would be an understatement. I began with a team on its knees, badly affected by a recent power struggle by old partners of the company and a recent takeover by our then new owners.  I experienced resignations, hired new members of staff, inducted and trained them to understand our computer systems and company procedures.  As well, I somehow managed to find the time to assist in servicing clients, manage the existing team and take care of financial matters.

Thankfully, the 7 day working weeks, my stress levels, sleepless nights and that sickly feeling of dread I had in the pit of my stomach, every morning eased after the initial tidal waves, and I began to get my feet under the table making strategic decisions about our future direction and how my time would be spent effectively.  I went on to experience and over see another take over, an office move, many changes in personnel, IT systems, an office closure and much more….

Support is Hugely Powerful

Now nearly 20 years on – I feel old writing this! –  a similar and frequent pattern I see in my work in sport is that many captains, are given that role based on their competence in their previous role as I was, but they don’t possess good leadership skills when they commence the job.  As a result, some swim, thankfully I did but unfortunately others sink.  Cricket is a great example, when you look at the recruitment of England captains in the past, when they’ve designated that role to arguably the team’s best player in Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pieterson and now it could be argued they were errors of judgement from the management and selectors.

A number of years on, after being on the receiving end of business coaching from a range of knowledgeable and well respected people to improve my business, having counselling to deal with the loss of my late wife Alex after she sadly died in 2008 and also receiving supervision to develop my skills as a Sport and Exercise Psychologist I fully get the positive impact well educated professionals can have.

In addition, on top of my personal experiences, I have supported many captains in sporting situations and newly promoted managers and executives in corporate settings as a Sport and Exercise Psychologist or as a Mental Toughness Coach so I feel that I’ve a well rounded understanding of what works and what doesn’t for different individuals. 

As you’ll be aware from reading previous blogs I’m an advocate of trying to measure progress where possible to aid the understanding, confidence and motivation of the client.  The psychometric and profiling tools I like to use are the MTQPlus or MTQ48 and the i3 profiling leadership scale, both are very simple to understand and with specialist feedback can be a very positive experience helping give people a boost very quickly so that they can play to their strengths.

Coaching, counselling, leadership or psychological support, whatever way you frame it has certainly helped many of my sporting and business clients and would have been great for me, in many different ways, back in those travel management days.  It is likely those 7 day weeks would have been reduced, more time would have been spent with family and friends or on the golf course, and I wouldn’t have experienced that horrible feeling in my stomach.

For you I could list many advantages of engaging in the process with a Sports Psychologist however I’ll keep it brief as my fingers would get worn out!

5 Benefits of Sports Psychology Coaching

  1. Optimises your efficiency
  2. Improves your health and well-being
  3. Improve your self-awareness so under pressure you can adapt your approach quickly.
  4. See alternative methods, reduces black or white thinking.
  5. Gives you the opportunity to offload, open up in a 100% trusting and confidential way.

If you’d like to learn more about how I could help you as a captain or a team-mate who has captaincy qualities why not get in touch.

Or if you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends, team-mates, parents or coaches. 

You can also join our online community – THE SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY HUB – for regular Sports Psychology tips, podcasts, motivation and support.

David Charlton

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Global Sports Psychologist who is located near Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and willing to travel Internationally.  David also uses online video conferencing software (Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp) on a regular basis and has clients who he has supported in USA, Canada, South America, UAE, Australian and New Zealand.  

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over 10 years experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, quickly.  

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected] 

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over 10 years experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, quickly.  

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

How to Help Young Players Stop Enjoying Their Football

17 April 2024 Developing The X-FACTOR To Transform Your Football Performances How to Help Young Players Stop Enjoying Their Football It’s great to see a young person on the football pitch enjoying themself.  Taking risks with the ball, giving 110% for their team no matter what the scoreline is, laughing and smiling a lot and

Read More »

How To Help A Young Footballer Overcome Fear

How To Help A Young Footballer Overcome Fear By working with David Charlton, you and your organisation will be better equipped to rise to modern day challenges and better informed to thrive on and off the pitch, course or court.  Where he inspires individuals and teams to: Cope with pressure and challenges more effectively Maintain positive

Read More »

How To Remain Composed As a Goalkeeper Under Pressure #BITESIZE

How To Remain Composed As a Goalkeeper Under Pressure #BITESIZE Andy Elleray has worked within goalkeeping for over 15 years, being able to develop some of the brightest talents in the UK. His career has seen him work for clubs such as Chelsea and Bristol Rovers, and within the female game for the English and

Read More »

The Relationship Between Self Esteem, Fun and Football Performance

The Relationship Between Self Esteem, Fun and Football Performance By working with David Charlton, you and your organisation will be better equipped to rise to modern day challenges and better informed to thrive on and off the pitch, course or court.  Where he inspires individuals and teams to: Cope with pressure and challenges more effectively Maintain

Read More »

Perfectionism in Sport is Getting Worse – Here’s Why

06 April 2024 Helping You Gain A Mental Edge Perfectionism in Sport is Getting Worse – Here’s Why Perfectionism in young athletes keeps on steadily growing.  And unfortunately, I’m not talking about “healthy” perfectionism where athletes set themselves challenging goals that they work hard to try and attain.  Where they are always striving to be

Read More »

Search Our Sports Psychology Website​

Popular Categories

Join Our Online Community Now!

Mental Edge Newsletter

Are you an athlete, coach or parent that would like to learn how to create sustainable high performance? Receive our free regular newsletter, where we share proven mental toughness and high performance tips and strategies. If you want some support and motivation straight to your inbox, then sign up below.

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.