• The Open University

Sports Performance: Exploring Sport Psychology

Explore how sport psychology can contribute to supporting your own or others’ sports performance.

Sports coach holding clipboard talking to team of female football players
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Included in an ExpertTrack

    Course 1 of 3
  • Get full ExpertTrack access

    $39/monthFind out more

Uncover behind the scenes insights into the psychology of sports performance

On this four-week course, you’ll discover how sport psychology is applied to coaching, individual athletes, and competition to help you to guide others or better understand your own sporting experiences.

You’ll change how you view sports psychology and gain new skills and confidence to identify valuable next steps to develop yourself and others in sport.

Learn from sport psychology experts

Designed for anyone with an interest in the psychology of sports performance, you’ll learn from Open University experts, sports psychologists, and practising athletes about what it’s really like to use sport psychology to inform training and welfare. You’ll challenge some common cliches along the way, for example, what psychological skills do people use when they talk of ‘rebounding from setbacks’?

Discover how to support the mental health of athletes

You’ll gain skills to help you understand how athletes respond to pressure, with tools and techniques to create psychologically informed sporting environments to motivate athletes and enhance their mental health.

You’ll draw on examples to understand the link between psychology and injury in sport. Using inspiring case studies, including excerpts from The Open University and BBC co-production Freeze, you’ll examine where confidence in sport comes from and how you can enhance the resilience of others.

Examine how pressure and challenge contribute to sports performance

The way athletes respond to the pressures and challenges that face them can impact on their performance. You’ll discover how emotions can help or hinder, drawing on examples from nail-biting ‘penalty shoot-out’ moments. You’ll also understand the purpose of pre-performance routines and how they can influence athletes.

What topics will you cover?

  • What modern sport psychology is and how it is evolving
  • Examples of how sport psychologists can enhance athlete performance
  • Athlete welfare and enhancing mental health
  • How psychologically informed training environments impact on athletes and their motivation
  • Applying insights into athlete resilience, confidence and coping with pressure to your own sporting or personal context

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Outline the influences of, and links between, sport psychology, the individual athlete and coaching
  • Describe different aspects of athlete motivation, resilience, welfare, confidence and coping with pressure
  • Compare the psychological skills used in sporting case studies to those you might need in your own life
  • Reflect on your own sport or fitness behaviours, beliefs and practices and identify useful next steps for further development

Who is the course for?

You will gain most benefit from the course if you are actively leading, coaching or supporting athletes, such as:

  • Professional and amateur athletes, coaches and support teams
  • Those with a curiosity for watching and understanding sports performances
  • Sports educators
  • Parents of children engaged in sports
  • Strength and conditioning coaches or fitness instructors

Who will you learn with?

I am a Professor of Sport Education with a deep interest in learning, teaching & coaching. I have worked in educational environments all my life & love seeing both young and old improve & develop.

Who developed the course?

The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

About this ExpertTrack

Explore key principles and current approaches in athlete training, mental preparation, and coaching to support sports performance.

Start learning today - free 2-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
  • Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
  • Keep access to the content of courses you complete even after your subscription ends

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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