Salford lecturer supports athletes in preparation for Paralympic Games
Dr Andrew Evans, a Programme Leader in Sports Science and a lecturer in Sport Psychology at The University of Salford started working with the English Institute of Sport (EIS) in the sport of Boccia in February 2020.
Andrew’s role as Performance Psychologist involves providing psychological support to Team GB athletes, staff, and assistants on the World Class Programme.
The World Class Programme consists of 11 athletes who compete in different classifications based on the nature of their disability.
There are four classifications in total. BC1, BC2 and BC4 athletes are able to throw balls on court. Alternatively, BC3 athletes have a ramp assistant who sets-up a ramp so that athletes can deliver balls down the ramp and onto court.
Andrew said: “I began my role 1-month before the COVID-19 pandemic started. So, as you can imagine, my initial plans and modes of delivery had to change quickly.
“Throughout lockdown, I was able to support athletes, staff and assistants virtually. In the main, I have provided psychological support through one-to-ones, to classification teams, and to the squad as a whole. In the last 2-3 months, camps have started up again which has meant I have been able to apply performance psychology in a real-world Boccia environment.
“We are not a centralised programme meaning that camps can take place anywhere across the United Kingdom.”
In Andrew’s role so far, he has attended camps held at the National Sports Centre in Largs, St George’s Park in Burton-upon-Trent, Loughborough University, Nottingham University, and Birmingham University.
Andrew added: “I am excited to see athletes put into practice all their psychological knowledge, skills and abilities at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“Athletes, staff and assistants have been working hard throughout the course of this Paralympic cycle and are well-prepared to perform to their capabilities out in Tokyo. I am privileged to work with such a dedicated, professional and talented group and I am looking forward to seeing how Team GB Boccia do out in Tokyo”
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