Sport psychology support to the Finnish Olympic Committee and Finnish Sports Institute

David Shearer Research-driven sport psychology support to the Finnish Olympic Committee and Finnish Sports Institute leading into the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Dr David Shearer

Quick facts

  • David was head hunted for his expertise and research in group dynamics and conflict management and his extensive experience of working with world-class elite athletes at major events.
  • The support was based on a world-class sport psychology coach education programme developed around group dynamics, leadership and communication.
  • Programme provided to coaches who then went on to attend London 2012.
  • Support also provided to Finnish Olympic Medical team concerning dealing with pressure and effective team communication.

Summary

Through his research into collective efficacy and conflict management David Shearer has developed an extensive knowledge of the nature of high performing teams.

Coupled with his extensive experience as an applied sport psychology practitioner working with elite athletes (e.g., British Shooting, British Wheelchair Basketball, British Swimming), his research has placed him well to answer the preparation needs of high performing teams in readiness for major events.

In the two years leading into the London Olympic Games, David worked extensively with the Finnish Olympic Committee and Finnish Sports Institute in Kuortane to help prepare their Olympic coaches and medical staff for the group and team related challenges they would face at the games. This support took the form of a series of educational workshops, one-to-one meetings, and ‘challenge’ meetings.

Why Group Research is important

Group function is normal part of everyday life, whether it is our role within our family, our place of work, or a member of a social group. Understanding how we can improve group function via improvements in collective efficacy and communication and reductions in conflict has potential to impact in family, work, military, education, politics and community domains.

Elite sport provides the perfect test-bed for investigating group processes in the most challenging of environment. Competitions such as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games push groups and team to coordinate their resources effectively while dealing high-pressure situations. The knowledge generated through research with elite athletes could easily be transferred to other high-pressure situations (e.g., rescue teams, operating theatres, sales groups).

On-going research

Our research is currently focussing on the use observation and imagery interventions to improve collective efficacy, and developing a greater understanding of the nature of conflict at major multi-sport events such as the Commonwealth Games.