Elite Sport Performance: Psychological Perspectives

An open online course

  • London 2012 Olympic Gold Medals

    The psychology of elite sport

    Have you ever wondered what it takes to win an Olympic gold medal?

    Sure, you have to be born with talent and physical advantage. You must be coached to the highest standard, train to an optimal level, and eat the right things – the body is taken care of – but what about the mind?

    This free and open online course will introduce you to the psychology of elite sport and some of the mental training techniques that can promote peak performance.

    This course is presented by Professor Peter Terry PhD, a sport psychologist with over 30 years’ experience of providing psychological support to elite athletes in several countries across a wide range of sports.

  • hurdlers

    Course content

    The course touches on many areas of sport psychology, including motivation, concentration, anxiety, and confidence.

    It introduces a range of techniques that have been shown to contribute to success, such as visualisation, relaxation, and harnessing the power of music.

    Along the way, you will be presented with a range of scenarios to help develop your skills in identifying issues and offering evidence-based solutions.

    The course culminates in you creating a mental training program for a hypothetical elite athlete, after which you will be eligible for a certificate of completion.

  • Peter Terry

    Peter Terry

    Dr. Peter Terry PhD FAPS FASMF FBASES is Professor of Psychology and Director of Research Training & Development at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, a registered psychologist, and formerly Psychology Coordinator at the Queensland Academy of Sport.

    Over the past 30+ years he has provided psychological support to more than 1,000 international and professional performers, including a host of Olympic medallists. He has worked as a sport psychologist at nine Olympic Games and more than 100 other international events. Peter is author of over 200 publications, including five books, 24 book chapters, and 60 peer-reviewed journal articles.

    Visit Peter’s website

  • Footballer Lee Jung-Soo

    Is this course for you?

    If you are passionate about sport and want to gain insight into how athletes mentally prepare for the highest levels of competition, then this course is for you.

    The course is also relevant for coaches and sports administrators looking for evidence-based ways to get the best out of their athletes.

    Finally, if you are interested in a career in sport psychology, then this course will give you a taste of the theoretical and applied knowledge that is relevant to the discipline.

  • Table Tennis at 2010 Youth Olympics

    Register for the course

    The course officially ran from October 2015 to March 2016 and had over 1000 registrations. However, it is an Open Educational Resource (OER) meaning that you can register and login at any time, and also share, reuse, or repurpose the content within on the understanding that you will credit the authors.  

    Click on the button below to register and get started.


View the video


Video credit: USQ Media Services.
CC-BY licence

What this course offers

Learn what sport psychologists do and experience putting evidence-based techniques into practice.

Practical Knowledge

Develop an understanding of some of the theories behind the psychology of elite sport.

Applied Techniques

Learn about evidence-based techniques that have been shown to improve elite performance by developing psychological skills.

Mental Training Program

Develop a mental training program for an elite athlete persona from a range of sports and psychological scenarios.

A quote

“Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like muscles of the body.”

Lynn Jennings, U.S. Olympic athlete