PY0679 - Psychology for Optimising Sport Performance

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will examine a number of factors known to influence individual and group behaviour in sport and performance psychology. You will explore the scope and methods typically used in this discipline and critically evaluate approaches and theories which have had an impact on the direction of research and applications. You will consider the effects of social processes, the presence of audiences, and performing at ‘away’ venues, as well as whether individual differences can predict sports performance. You will debate cognitive and emotional effects of competition, and you will evaluate methods for optimising performance such as relaxation training, systematic desensitisation, imagery and self-talk.

How will I learn on this module?

You will participate in lectures, workshops and tutorials designed to provide breadth and depth of conceptual knowledge across topics in sport and performance psychology. Much of the learning on this module will be experiential, including some student-led workshops where you will work collaboratively in small groups to generate and present interactive sessions, facilitated by small group tutorials. As a recipient of others’ workshops you will experience and reflect on contemporary issues in the discipline. You will also develop employability skills by gaining access to a range of experiences, resources and potential career pathways.
Independent study will give you further opportunity to enhance skills in critical analysis and explore key theoretical underpinnings and practical contexts relating to professional practice. Directed study will be encouraged through the provision of reading lists, and you will also explore and search for readings to increase your depth of knowledge about specific theoretical and methodological issues in the literature.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported through the eLearning Portal which will contain important module materials such as Powerpoint slides, workshop handouts, psychometric instruments and recommended reading lists. Websites containing relevant information about current issues in sport will also be given, and two discussion boards will be available for student and module tutor discussions, one for general topics and one specifically regarding the module assessment. Some of the workshops will involve statistical analysis of data found on popular websites, such as home versus away performance. Current information about relevant British Psychological Society events and departmental guest speakers will be presented, and pathways for exploring employment and further education opportunities will be provided. Individual and small group tutorials will also be available to support you throughout this module

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MK1: You will be able to demonstrate conceptual knowledge of Sport and Performance Psychology by critically discussing relevant theory, recent research and methodological approaches and be able to apply those relevant psychological concepts for enhancing sports performance and promoting physical activity.
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MIP1: You will develop communication skills for dealing effectively with different audiences. Communication skills are important skills for your future employability.
• MIP2: You will be able to work with others to plan and deliver relevant, constructive and interesting mutually agreed materials. Teamwork skills are important skills for your future employability.
• MIP3: You will be able to understand the role of the module in enhancing your employability skills and its role in career development in a psychology pathway.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MPV1: You will be able to apply creative solutions to problems involving sensitive issues such as interpersonal conflict and prejudice in sport and exercise settings and in doing so enhance your Northumbria Psychology Graduate attributes.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment
Module tutor feedback will be given during the preparation of and after the student-led workshop presentation. Written, anonymised peer feedback will be provided after the workshop(MK1; MIP1; MIP2; MPV1)

Summative Assessment
The assessment consists of two individual pieces of work:

a. A written report (maximum 3500 words) worth 90% of the module mark. In this assignment, you will critically evaluate a contemporary issue in the sport and performance psychology literature and use evidence to propose strategies to address potential performance detriments to optimise sport performance. (MK1, MIP1, MIP2, MPV1)

b. The second assessment is a self-reflective account in which you will be asked to consider how this module has impacted on your employability and future career (MIP3). This will be worth 10% of the module mark (500 words)

Written feedback will be provided in a timely fashion in line with university policies, identifying a minimum of one strength, one weakness, and one area for improvement.





Module abstract

On this module you will critically examine theoretical underpinnings to issues arising in sport and performance contexts and to apply them to a number of problems typically encountered in sport and sporting organisations. Weekly lectures complemented by experiential workshops will give you the opportunity to examine audience and venue effects, arousal and anxiety, social processes, methods of optimising sports performance, and facilitating psychological wellbeing. Some of the workshops will be student-led, where small groups will work collaboratively to plan and deliver an experiential session designed to elaborate on the lecture topic. Assessment will consist of a written magazine article (in the style of the BPS magazine ‘the psychologist’) using the psychological literature to offer suggestions to problems in sport and performance psychology, as well as a section designed to communicate this information in lay language to a coach, athlete, or parent. Students are also required to submit a reflective piece of writing indicating how the module is enhancing your employability. Information on further qualification and careers will be discussed, thus also enhancing your graduate attributes for employability.

Course info

UCAS Code C800

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with optional study abroad year

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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