TT invests in Sports Psychology

Ministry of Sports invests TT $1.5 million in Sport Psychology for athletes.
by Clayton Clarke

PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD:  The Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago has invested TT $1.5 million dollars in the Advances in Sport Psychology programme and has commissioned Dr. Margaret Ottley to design and implement a 3-year coaching education program in sport psychology leading up to the London Olympics, 2012. Working along Dr. Ottley are three top sport psychologists: Drs. Tracy Shaw, Sandra Fowkes-Godek and Ross Flowers.

Deputy Permanent Secretary Ashwin Creed said the Cabinet already approved funding for the final phase in 2011. The course began in 2009 in an initiative of the Ministry and Mr. Creed said many sporting bodies indicated that there was a deficiency in the mental preparation in national sporting programmes. “The current programme is to build the capacity of our coaches and trainers because many of them may be qualified in their specific sports but there is a deficiency in the mental side.  We recognize that many of our athletes suffer from the lack of mental toughness particularly at major international events. We have tried to address in the year of the competition or at the Games itself.”  The programme is being conducted in three phases: 2009-Education, 2010-Applied and 2011-Utilisation. Creed explained that the reason by it is phased  “is because we have had programmes before that were on-off that were not really making a dent into that aspect of sport development. There is also a new dimension to the programme. We recognize that many of our athletes suffer from the lack of mental toughness particularly at major international events. We have tried to address in the year of the competition or at the Games itself.” Creed added three disciplines :Track and Field, Cycling and Aquatics have been identified as potential medal sports for  the 2012  Olympics and Dr. Ottley and her team will be assigned athletes who are medal prospect for the London Games in two  years.

Dr. Ottley is a certified Sport Psychologist, the founder/director of SANKO-FA Hypower Sports & Performance Psychology and an international expert in the field of applied sport psychology. She was a sport psychologist at two Olympic Games-Beijing, China (2008 with USA Track and Field team and Athens, Greece (2004) with the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC). Dr. Margaret Ottley is an associate professor of Sport Psychology and Physical Education at West Chester University. Pennsylvania. She received her post-doctoral specialty in curriculum and instruction for Health and Physical Education from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, Ph. D. and M. ED in sport psychology from Temple University, Philadephia, PA.

Dr. Tracey Shaw is the Assistant Director and Training Coordinator of the Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program at Loyola Marymount University’s Student Psychological Services. She is also a licensed psychologist in the state of California. Currently, Dr. Shaw provides sport’s consultation to students, coaches, and the athletic administration at Loyola Marymount University’s Athletic Department. She has consulted with the University of Texas Women’s Track & Field national Championships teams and UCLA Women’s Track and Field PAC 10 Championships teams.  She has assisted many athletes to positions of excellence, producing national champions, collegiate record holders, national and world rankings and Olympians.
Dr. Sandra Fowkes-Godek is a full Professor in the Department of Sports Medicine at the West Chester University. Dr. Fowkes- Godek currently teaches courses in athletic training, serves as the Medical Coordinator of the Sports Medicine Department and is the University. In December of 2006, she received the Council of Trustees’ Distinguished Award at West Chester University. Dr. Fowkes-Godek is active in the National Athletic Trainers’ Association previously serving on the College/University Student Athletic Trainers Committee and the Research and Education Foundation Free Communications Committee

Dr. Ross Flower is an experienced and well-travelled sport psychologist. He currently serves as a senior sport psychologist with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) providing psychological services, education, and consultation with elite athletes, coaches and the National Governing body personnel for winter and summer sports. He was an All-American student athlete while attending UCLA, and continued competing on a national and international level in track and field until he began his Doctorate in Counseling Psychology with emphasis in Performance Enhancement at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  Dr. Flowers designs and implements psychological skills programs for national and international performance. He has served as a sport psychologist on many USA World Cup, World Championships and Olympic teams. Most recently he served as the sport psychologist on the 2010 USA Olympic team in Vancouver, Canada and the 2008 USA Olympic team in Beijing, China.