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  • On Motivation

    I have always been very interested in gaining insights into an individual’s competition performance mindset. I believe that the mindset of an athlete or coach is very predictive of how the individual thrives, merely copes, or experiences performance decrements under the high pressure of competition. I believe that the more the individual knows about aspects of their core motivation and how it might impact performance motivation, the better they might develop effective strategies for competition. Together, we would explore key elements of their motivation.

    On Motivation
    Jeffrey Bond
    Sport Psychologist
  • Shirley Thönell

    I have a Science degree, majoring in Psychology, which I obtained in South Africa which is where my interest in sport, specifically Triathlon, came about. I spent a great deal of time with the South African Triathlon team, travelling with and observing them. In 1998, I applied to USQ to undertake my Masters degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology, as it was not offered in South Africa. I attended USQ from 1998-2000 and I did my practical components in Swimming, Tennis and the Performing Arts which gave me a much wider field of interest than I had at first anticipated. It was exciting to think of my new career in terms of Performance Psychology and not just in the field of sport. It stands me in good stead within my work as a teacher at USQ, helping students with their performance as students, and occasionally in the sporting field. I still have a very strong interest in the field of Triathlon and am involved in the sport myself, which, in Australia, is not hard to do. I am looking forward to being involved in this course as I feel that this subject has a wide scope of application and it would be a privilege to try to be of assistance to students who are undertaking this course.

    Shirley Thönell
    Shirley Thönell
    Course moderator
  • George Morrison

    My main sporting interest has always been soccer (I call it football). As a former player I am now mainly interested in how physical and mental preparation can maximise performance. I have also been a keen squash player, marathon runner and now bush hiker. I am keen to learn as much as I can about mental and physical aspects of sports performance.
    My academic background is in psychology, education, linguistics and international history. I have travelled extensively as an English teacher and for the last fifteen years I have been involved in academic preparation for university studies. I am very much looking forward to my involvement in this course.

    George Morrison
    George Morrison
    Course moderator
  • On motivation

    Motivation fascinates athletes and coaches more than any other aspect of performance, and is perhaps viewed as the “oxygen” of success. A key weapon in any coach’s motivational armoury is reward for their athletes, which can come in the form of praise, acknowledgment, and positive reinforcement. Rewards play a salient role in how daily habits are formed and maintained. We’ve all seen wildlife documentaries in which a squirrel or an octopus solves some taxing physical puzzle in order to receive a treat. There is a simple neurochemical explanation for such learned behaviour: the “dopamine” system. The release of this neurotransmitter is triggered by rewarding experiences and so finding effective reward schedules in sport is central to unlocking an athlete’s potential.

    On motivation
    Costas Karageorghis
    Sport Psychologist
  • On mental training

    Chinese athletes typically use psychological skills training (PST) to maintain the quality of preparation and achieve peak performance. Before and during the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games, a team of 32 sport psychologists provided long-term PST and psychological counselling for the Chinese Olympic team to help athletes address issues of self-confidence, concentration, emotion control, goal-setting, competition routines, burnout, anxiety, personal communication, and group cohesion. Of the 51 gold medals won by the Chinese Olympic delegation, 47 (92%) were won by athletes and teams who had worked extensively with the sport psychologists.

    On mental training
    Zhang Li-Wei
    Sport Psychologist
  • On anxiety

    Anxiety is something that I have observed most athletes grapple with at multiple points throughout their career, regardless of whether they are Olympians or amateurs.

    Managing anxiety effectively requires consideration of three key components prior to introducing coping strategies: (1) Do I understand what is making me anxious?; (2) Do I recognise how anxiety manifests in my brain and body – what it looks and feels like for me?; and (3) Do I take responsibility for the fact that I have the ability to control it?

    Having some nervous energy can be helpful in terms of feeling challenged, engaged, and primed to perform, as long as it is channelled successfully – “A little bit of butterflies is good, as long as they are flying in the same direction.”

    On anxiety
    Gene Moyle
    Sport & Exercise Psychologist
  • On imagery

    Imagery is more than just picturing your performance. It’s about using all the senses to re-create the performance experience. By using all the senses, athletes can re-create the performance environment to familiarise themselves, or re-create the physical processes to create a routine. Either way, imagery enhances an athlete’s ability to remain focused in high pressure performance environments.

    On imagery
    Georgia Ridler
    Sport Psychologist
  • On self-confidence

    Self-confidence is widely regarded as a cornerstone of elite performance, although it is often misconstrued as being indicative of lack of fear or anxiety. The actual concept of confidence by definition is more closely aligned with feelings of belief, and the capacity to act with faith and trust. From a practical perspective, optimal performance is not about the ability to execute skill in the absence of fear or anxiety, but often in spite of its presence, having developed the faith and trust in your own ability to self-regulate and execute under pressure. Developing this belief should therefore be a conscious consideration in all that we do from a performance perspective, so that an athlete’s self-confidence becomes the foundation upon which all other performance-related skills are built, and further enhanced through each stage of their development.

    On self-confidence
    Michael Lloyd
    Sport Psychologist
  • On concentration

    The vast majority of technical errors in sport involve an inappropriate focus of attention, which is often linked to ineffective arousal control. If the repeated execution of a skill is successful in training, why would it not be reproduced in the the heat of the sporting battle?

    For accomplished athletes, the answer most often lies in an inability to control arousal and focus of attention. For example, a tennis player who should be focused on the ball toss ruminates over the possible consequences of a double fault at a crucial stage of a tennis match, tenses up and proceeds to double fault.

    A basketballer under pressure chooses a low percentage, high risk pass to a teammate which is intercepted because she narrowed her focus too much and did not see the better, high percentage option.

    The fatigued footballer taking a set shot at goal misses because his inner voice is telling him not to let his team and the coach down, rather than narrowing his focus externally onto the precise target. Understanding one’s attentional style is an early step in analysing errors in competition and a precursor to learning to better control arousal and focus.

    On concentration
    Jeffrey Bond
    Sport Psychologist
  • I enjoyed the caring and friendly environment at Invent

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    Tiffany John
    Post Graduate Diploma in IT, 2014
  • On group dynamics

    Group dynamics research has revealed three key findings that explain sustainable, effective and high performing team performance. First, effective teams are characterised as having “a relatively small number of people with complimentary skills committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and ways of working together for which they hold themselves mutually accountable” (Katzenbach & Smith, 1996).

    Second, effective teams identify which strengths can best deliver which activities and then allocate and align those activities according to those team members with those strengths. They are comprised of individuals with complimentary skills, not similar skills, who surround themselves with others who make up for their weaknesses. Effective teams align individual strengths so well their weaknesses are irrelevant.

    Third, effective teams are formed by selection but are built through relationships i.e. how people interact. Individuals new to the group first ‘form’, ‘storm’, and ‘norm’ before they ‘perform’, and they attend to the team’s culture and interpersonal dynamics to ensure that these support rather than inhibit its purpose.

    Subsequently the three universal individual needs in a group are met i.e., to have a voice and be heard, be viewed as essential to a group, and be seen as unique and exceptional.

    On group dynamics
    Sandy Gordon
    Sport Psychologist
  • On mood and emotion

    Athletes experience intense feelings before, during, and after competition. We label these feelings emotions and moods and although there are differences between the two, both have powerful effects on behaviour.

    Identifying the feelings associated with best and worst performances is a good starting point to help athletes prepare for competition. Feeling vigorous and excited tends to aid performance, whereas feeling sad, confused, and fatigued often leads to performing worse.

    Anger and anxiety help some people perform better by raising effort but lead to poor performance in others. By helping athletes understand how feelings influence performance, we can begin to tailor interventions to help them regulate and control their moods and emotions.

    On mood and emotion
    Andy Lane
    Sport Psychologist
  • Properties of music

    Music has the capacity to reduce perceived exertion by about 10% when used during physical activity, which explains the enduring popularity of exercise-to-music classes.

    The stimulative and motivational properties of up-tempo music, with lyrics that encourage effort (Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run, Britney Spears’ Stronger) and associations of glory or success (M People’s Search For The Hero, Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive) typically help exercisers to work harder for longer by masking the objective level of effort. In turn, this produces a performance benefit that some elite performers have been able to exploit.

    Properties of music
    Peter Terry
    Sport Psychologist
  • Nicest experience I have ever had in my life. Thanks Invent!

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    Nicest experience I have ever had in my life. Thanks Invent!
    Rachel Edwards
    MS in Ophthalmology at Invent, 2014
  • Studying at Invent has been one of my best decisions ever!

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    John Drew
    Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management, 2013
  • Two years at Invent was an unforgettable period of my life

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    Shawn Mathews
    Studied Aircraft Maintenance Studies at Invent, 2012
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    Ane John
    BS in Computer Sciences at Invent, 2009