Bridging the Gap Podcast

Bridging the Gap Podcast brings you the latest research in sport, performance and exercise psychology in audio format. Any research that involves strengthening the mind, team dynamics, leadership or well-being, we cover it. We go straight to the researcher and bring the information straight to you, Bridging the Gap between research and your knowledge.
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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 15, 2017

Earlynn Lauer, MS, is a doctoral student and graduate teaching associate in the Sport Psychology/Motor Behavior program in the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, & Sport Studies at The University of Tennessee. She is a certified tennis instructor through the Professional Tennis Registry, and her research interests focus on working with youth sport psychology professionals and coaches to integrate mental skills training in youth sports. In Fall 2017, she will be starting a position of Assistant Professor in Sport Psychology and Wellness at Western Illinois University.

May 8, 2017

Dr Jennifer Cumming is a Reader in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the University of Birmingham (UK) and is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.  She is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) after completing a Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education in 2010 was awarded the 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Birmingham.  Prior to this, she was received her PhD in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario in 2001 and her MA from the University of Ottawa in 1999. 


Dr Cumming’s current research focuses on community-based approaches to developing practical and culturally-tailored interventions for athletes and, more recently, individuals who are traditionally considered ‘harder to reach’.  She is interested in how individuals learn to effectively regulate their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours with mental skills training, and determine the impact of self-regulation (or dysregulation) on performance, health, and well-being.  Whereas sport psychology customarily focuses on mental skills as a regulatory capacity that athletes use in competitive and non-competitive situations, she more broadly uses this knowledge to support health-related quality of life in communities that are more challenging to engage, such as homeless adolescents. 


Dr Cumming is the Primary Investigator of large funded study (2014-2020) to co-develop, co-implement, and co-evaluate the Mental Skills Training for Life™ programme as part of community-based participatory action research with a large supported housing service.  She was nominated for the University of Birmingham’s Founders’ Award for Excellence in Policy Advancement in 2015 and Enterprising Birmingham’s Most Innovative Collaboration award in 2017.  Her work has also been recognised as good practice by Public Health England and is being used to inform interventions for preventing and reducing homelessness in the UK.  She has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and is the current co-editor of Imagination, Cognition and Personality. 

May 1, 2017
“Drive on”: The relationship between psychological variables and effective squad leadership.
By Gilson, Todd A.; Dix, Melissa A.; Lochbaum, Marc
Military Psychology, Vol 29(1), Jan 2017, 58-67.
The U.S. Reserve Officer Training Program (ROTC) conducts systematic assessments of cadets’ leadership abilities during field training exercises (FTX) to assess their leadership abilities. While cadets in ROTC programs learn specific tactical operation procedures to augment FTX performances, much less is known about the relationship between psychological variables and squad leadership performance. To this end, 220 cadets completed self-efficacy, psychological flexibility, and grit questionnaires, which were then compared to FTX performance scores. Results underscored that only self-efficacy was significantly related to cadets’ squad leadership ability. Furthermore, prior service in the U.S. Army had no effect on the performance score one attained, highlighting an interesting paradox. Therefore, while self-efficacy can be cultivated through prior experiences, it seems more prudent to educate ROTC cadets on how to apply psychological skills to bolster self-efficacy in preparation for upcoming challenging leadership experiences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Todd Gilson serves as the Director for University Honors at Northern Illinois University. In this role, Todd oversees an Honors Program with over 1,000 students from all six undergraduate colleges at NIU. Todd's line of research focuses on applying the core sport psychology principles of self-efficacy and leadership development to NCAA collegiate athletes and US Army ROTC cadets, which has resulted in over 30 peer-reviewed publications in such outlets as: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Military Psychology, and Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Professionally, Todd also serves as the Secretary-Treasurer for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP).

Twitter: @ToddAGilson