Staffordshire University- New sports coaching technique is a game changer

Friday 5th January 2018

A sport and exercise psychologist from Staffordshire University is pioneering a technique, traditionally used by therapists, to help athletes reach the top of their game.

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) is one of the most widely used counselling approaches in the world and is one of the original forms of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).

Over recent years Dr Martin Turner, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology, and colleagues have been exploring in detail how REBT can be applied in a sports environment for the first time.

“REBT is a technique that we use with people to help them re-structure the way they think about pressure, stress and adversity. Getting them to realise that it’s not the situation that causes your emotions, it’s how you think about the situation.” Martin explained.

“When I was doing my Masters, I came across a chapter written in 1985 suggesting that REBT could be used in sport. After doing more research I realised that there hadn’t really been much research done since then. I was amazed that after all those years, it hadn’t been explored in any detail.”

Martin and colleagues from Staffordshire University have already developed a form of REBT for sport and businesses called ‘Smarter Thinking’ and have worked as consultants for large public and private sector organisations.

Now, Martin has co-edited the first and only book to date which examines the use of REBT in sport and exercise, entitled Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy in Sport and Exercise. The book is being published by a major publisher, Routledge.

Martin collaborated with Psychotherapist Dr. Richard Bennett, one of the world’s top REBT practitioners, for the book, which features 16 chapters from sports psychologists across the globe.

It includes practical case studies explaining how REBT can used across a range of sports – including football, fencing, archery and tennis – and addresses topics from exercise addiction to competition anxiety.

Martin believes REBT is a game changer for the sport and exercise industry and hopes the book will help encourage more sports psychologist and coaches to adopt the approach.

“A lot of the people in the book are practicing sports psychologists rather than academics so they haven’t shared their practice in this way before now. It stretches across a broad range of sports and a broad range of issues.”

He added: “REBT provides the tools to become more resilient to setbacks and adversity. It helps people in sport to recover more quickly, manage the pressure of situations, and ultimately perform at their best whilst maintaining their psychological wellbeing.”


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