• Lise Rasmussen
  • Camilla Birk Torrild
4. semester, Sports Science, Master (Master Programme)
Until now, research on how sports psychology is applied in professional soccer has focused on English and Swedish top soccer. Harwood and Pain found, that economy and lack of knowledge towards sports psychology among trainers, were the biggest barriers for the implementation of sports psychology in top soccer in England. There exists no such study on the use of applied sports psychology in Danish top soccer. Therefore the aim of this project is to explore the use, priority and approach to applied sports psychology in a Danish professional soccer club, exemplified by FC Midtjylland. The thesis statement of this project is: "In what way is sports psychology prioritized and applied in professional male- and youth soccer – illustrated by the Danish superligaclub, FC Midtjylland?" The methods used to explore how FC Midtjyllands applies, approaches –and prioritizes sports psychology were the semi-structured interviews with 12 individuals. The 12 individuals were either a part of the management, a coach, a sports psychology consultant or a soccer player from the club. The data collected was treated through IPA, which means that the interviews were phenomenological and inductive, and the analysis was interpreted hermeneutically. This thesis aims to give an insight into how a professional Danish soccer club has sports psychology as an integrated part of their talent development, and as a tool for group dynamics and leadership among the professional soccer players. Furthermore, the thesis illustrates how different sports psychologists apply different approaches to their work – and how further development in sports psychology must happen with respect to previous approaches, used in the culture and organization of FC Midtjylland. Young talents will move away from home at the age of 15 and join an academy. The change in environment and the distance from their parents support and love, can challenge the feeling of continuity, which is important for the development of a stable- and positive self-image and identity. The first couple of years at the academy, life away from home is considered a part of the applied sports psychology approach at the academy, which focuses on developing a degree of mental toughness within the young players. Based on former research, recommendations are based on how the new sports psychology consultants in FC Midtjylland can optimize their work, with applied sports psychology. We recommend a common thread in how sports psychology is applied from academy to the superliga team. Furthermore, the cooperation between the three sports psychology consultants, is considered of both great importance and great impact on the continuing development of a new approach to applied sports psychology in FC Midtjylland. Furthermore, it could be interesting to explore how, and if, sports psychology has a positive effect on the transition, from youth level to senior level in soccer. According to Morris, Tod & Oliver (2016) multiple factors can effect the transition negatively – for example, external pressure and stress (Morris, Tod, & Oliver, 2016). According to Gross et al., an accept- and value-driven approach to sports psychology, can help individuals to keep focus on the task, despite distracting thoughts and feelings (Gross, Moore, Gardner, Wolanin, Pess, & Marks, 2016). This is why it would be interesting to see, if an accept- and value-driven intervention could help young talents transit to the senior level successfully.
Publication date6 Jun 2017
Number of pages73
ID: 259247984