Sport and Performance Psychology at UWS

conrad for the love of the gameAs the founder of Total Wellness and Elite Performance Consulting, LLC, Conrad Woolsey, PhD, CC-AASP, CHES, director of the University of Western States (UWS) sport and performance psychology program, provides wellness and performance enhancement services to collegiate, professional and Olympic athletes, as well as to business leaders, executives and university athletic departments.

In 2017, Dr. Woolsey worked in conjunction with NxtGen sports as a sport psychology and talent development consultant, as well as with Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations to help them identify psychological factors that are important to improving player development and scouting programs.

As part of his consulting, Dr. Woolsey helps MLB organizations in the refinement of mental skills training programs and with improving evaluation methods. His focus is on the improvement of player development programs for existing players and the evaluation of future draft picks.

In professional baseball, perfectionism is a common personality trait that can develop into performance issues. In a sport where failure and criticism are large parts of the game, Dr. Woolsey aims to help players with the perfectionist personality profile develop a healthier, happier and more adaptive mindset. To do this, he uses a strength-based approach with an emphasis on teaching positive psychology techniques and by helping people make improvements to daily skills such as self-talk. As part of this process, players develop a motivational style focused on approaching challenges versus motivation based on avoiding failure.

One of the biggest misconceptions about the field of sport psychology is that mental performance consultants are just for athletes with performance issues. The reality is that sport and performance psychology is for improving and achieving optimal performance. Often those who seek additional help are already performing at the highest levels, but want to get even better.

“Sport and performance psychology is for people who want to become the best that they can be,” explained Dr. Woolsey. “It’s for people who love what they do and for people who want to have more fun. It’s for parents who want to give their kids the best chances to succeed and to stay healthy. It is for bosses who want to help get the most out of their employees without causing burnout or an unhealthy work environment.”

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An example of a profession that uses mental performance consultants for enhancing performance versus overcoming a specific problem is the military. Currently, the military and special forces are the biggest regular-employer of sport and performance consultants. Some of the main goals within these organizations are teaching skills such as stress management, relaxation techniques, concentration under extreme pressure, communication skills and effective coping mechanisms.

Dr. Woolsey was first motivated to study sport psychology because he wanted to maximize his own performance as a college athlete. He later became certified in sport psychology during his time as a college and professional coach because he wanted to be sure he was doing everything he could to help those he served to be successful.

“Growing up, I was lucky to have several good coaches, teachers and amazing family support, but also had my fair share of bad sport experiences,” he explained. “Living on both sides of sport and seeing the major impact that sport can have on kids (both positive and negative) is what initially inspired me to become a coach and a teacher. Having multiple surgeries, rehabbing to get back to top shape, and then having even more surgeries also had a big influence on why I got involved with the field of sport psychology. While injured, often the only thing I could do to get better was to work on skills such as visualization and training my mind. While my body became limited on what it could do, I could still get better by improving my mental skills.”

As director of the sport and performance psychology program at UWS, Dr. Woolsey has helped design the curriculum to prepare graduates with the first-hand experience needed to serve as leaders in sport, coaching, mental health counseling and wellness disciplines.

“At UWS, we are making a big difference by training leaders, coaches and parents by giving them the tools to effectively help others have meaningful sport and work experiences. The goal of our program is to train leaders of today and tomorrow to be even better at what they do and to help communities become healthier, happier and more successful.”

When asked the question, “what is the most important thing to keep in mind before beginning a career in sport psychology,” Dr. Woolsey stresses that one must enter the profession for the right reasons and be motivated by wanting to help others first and foremost.

“You have to be dedicated to learning all you can about people and what motivates them,” he explained. “This calls for skilled listeners and someone good at empathizing with others. Helping people is both an art and a science. In this field, those who have that as their intrinsic motivation will go far.”

Learn About the Program

Are you ready to take the next step in your career and make a positive impact? If so, an advanced degree in sport and performance psychology may be for you. Sign up to receive more information from our admissions advisors.

UWS SPORT AND PERFORMANCE PROGRAMS ARE ABOUT:

  • Teaching the process of success
  • Creating and leading a highly effective team
  • Positive motivation and communication
  • Setting and achieving high goals

University of Western States (UWS) is proud to offer both a Master of Science and Doctorate in Sport and Performance Psychology. These degrees can be completed online and offer advanced training for leaders in coaching, counseling, education, health care, business and administration. Approved by the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), the program’s comprehensive curriculum was specifically designed to help students complete the specialized coursework requirements to become Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP).

Master of Science Degree
Using positive and applied sport psychology, our program is designed to help students develop the mental essentials to enhance performance and maximize human potential. The degree consists of eight core courses and multiple elective options. Our curriculum is designed specifically to help students complete the specialized coursework requirements to become a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP).

Doctoral Degree
The Doctorate (EdD) in Sport and Performance Psychology is designed to enhance students’ prior training and experience in applied sport psychology, coaching and counseling. The doctoral program assists students in the completion of their licensed professional counselor coursework requirements. Students have the option to choose a clinical mental health counseling specialization or positive leadership and administration concentration within the degree.

About University of Western States
Founded in 1904, University of Western States (UWS), a regionally-accredited non-profit institution, has since evolved into an integrated health sciences university, educating health professionals in the areas of integrative medicine, lifestyle counseling, exercise and sport science, sports medicine, nutrition and functional medicine, dietary guidance, health promotion, and sport and performance psychology. University of Western States has an enduring commitment to educating health care professionals with a passion for individualized care. This pursuit guides every aspect of the institution and positions UWS to fulfill its mission of improving the health of society through conservative, patient-centered care.