Mike Gross, BSc Sport Psychology graduate, talks about favourite moments and life after University.
USW made my short list of choices because I did not want to move too far north (from Southern England), I needed to be able to play ice hockey while at university, and the BSc Sport Psychology was BPS accredited. When I came to visit the Treforest campus, there had been a large snowfall, outside the sports centre. I was overlooking the snow-capped valley peaks and thought: 'Yeah, I could study here!' The close proximity to Cardiff for nightlife and events was the icing on the cake.
Why did you choose Sport Psychology?
Sport Psychology was the perfect combination of my hockey playing/coaching experience, general interest in psychology, my love of playing sports, and my career aim of becoming a sports professional.
What was your favourite aspect of studying Sport Psychology?
My favourite aspect were all the 'ah ha!' moments, when I could relate empirical research to my own experiences playing sport to further understand what had occurred and how to adapt for the future.
My favourite module was the Applied Sport Psychology module in the final year. We put theory into practice to perform needs analyses with sports scholarship athletes. I think of this as my first ever instance of professional experience, and it confirmed I was on the right career track.
A close second was Biological Psychology and Cognitive Neuropsychology, the topics in this module were fascinating - especially evolutionary psychology.
The most enjoyable moment was by far and away my dissertation project with the Cardiff Devils ice hockey team. I interviewed six of their players regarding their experiences of psychological momentum, they were a great sample because they hold the Guinness World Record for most consecutive wins in a season.
I gained some great insight into elite UK ice hockey and made some friends! Writing up the project was lengthy but I had a great sense of achievement when typing the final full stop, and I was able to celebrate when marks were released!
How has studying Sport Psychology at USW prepared you for life after Uni?
For me, the process of studying sport psychology at USW was the opening of a door to professional opportunities. I feel very lucky that there's been a snowball effect, but I really have made sure to grab all opportunities with both hands.
After graduation I started delivering some lectures and seminars, then I became a research assistant on a EU-funded project, after which I started sport science consultancy for Sport Wales and some national governing bodies. Now I'm submitting studies for publication, looking to enrol on a PhD programme alongside my professional work, and giving guest lectures at other universities on the use of biofeedback in sport.
Top three reasons to study sport psychology at USW