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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Jun 26, 2017

Andy Gillham owns and operates Ludus Consulting LLC ( focusing on performance enhancement for his clients. More specifically, Dr. Gillham works primarily with coaches and athletic administrators on improving systematic coach evaluation and providing targeted coach and program professional development opportunities. His Ph.D. is in Education with a major of sport and exercise psychology from the University of Idaho and has a B.S. in Fitness and a M.S. in Human Performance from University Wisconsin-LaCrosse.  He has been a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association since 2003 and is a certified consultant through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Dr. Gillham has helped athletes, coaches, administrators and business executives in Canada and the United States improve their performance.  Dr. Gillham works across competitive levels ranging from youth through professional levels for both coaches and athletes. In addition to his applied work, Dr. Gillham has published 12 peer-reviewed academic journal articles and has been an invited author for 12 more papers. He is also an Editorial Board member for two international coaching journals: International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching and International Sport Coaching Journal where he also serves as Section Editor for Resource Reviews.

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


Apr 24, 2017

Nick Holt is a Professor in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, where he leads the Child & Adolescent Sport & Activity lab. He is interested in psychosocial aspects of youth sport and physical activity participation, and studies issues including parenting, peer interactions, coaching, and free play. He adopted a Positive Youth Development (PYD) perspective. He is currently leading a Canada-wide knowledge translation project.



Twitter: @PYDsportNET




Apr 10, 2017

Eric M. Martin joined the faculty at Boise State University in 2016. He earned a Ph.D. in Kinesiology with a concentration in Psychosocial Aspects of Sport and Physical Activity from the Department of Kinesiology at Michigan State University. Through his work at Michigan State, Dr. Martin was involved in a variety of projects that have investigated positive youth development programs, parent attitudes toward sport, and youth perceptions of the sport environment and how these environments impact youth development.

Dr. Martin’s primary research interests include the development and consequences of sport passion and how to best structure the youth sport environment to benefit all involved. His research has been published in a variety of journals including The Sport PsychologistThe Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, and The International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

In his spare time he enjoys playing and watching sports as well as spending time outdoors with his wife, Kristen, and son, Jamison.

Mar 6, 2017

Guest: Claudia Robazza

Claudio Robazza is an Associate Professor of Methods and didactics of motor activities at the Faculty of Movement Sciences, University of Chieti, Italy. He earned a master degree in Physical Education, a master degree in Psychology, and a PhD in Sciences and Techniques of Physical Activities and Sports from the University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France. As a sport psychologist, he has been working with top level athletes of different sports, including golf, archery, modern pentathlon, rugby, and he is currently involved with the Italian shooting team. He has conducted field-based studies in physical education, motor learning, and sport performance domains, and his primary research interest is in the area of performance-related emotions, performance optimization, and motor learning. He has published numerous refereed journal articles, and is the author of several book chapters and books. He is also an associate editor of Psychology of Sport and Exercise, consulting editor of Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, advisory board member of Sport Sciences for Health, and co-director of Giornale Italiano di Psicologia dello Sport (Italian Journal of Sport Psychology).


In the 2015, he received the Ema Geron Award from the FEPSAC (European Federation of Sport Psychology) in recognition of his exceptional national contribution to the development of sport and exercise psychology. In the same year, he also received the Diploma of Honour – Bronze Medal from the ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) in appreciation of his exceptional service to the shooting sports.








Research Gate:


Additional link:

Feb 27, 2017

Andreas Stenling, PhD

Current Position: Researcher, Department of Psychology, Umeå University


Research interests:

Leadership and motivational processes in various contexts (e.g., sport, work)

Transfer of training

Sport injury rehabilitation, prediction, and prevention

Physical activity, cognitive function, and mental health across the life span

Applications of statistical methods in sport and exercise psychology research


Contact and information:


Personal website:


Twitter: @AStenling



Feb 13, 2017


Guest: Luc Martin


My research interests lie in the general area of sport psychology with a particular focus on group dynamics principles. More specifically, I am interested in the psychosocial influences present in sport and physical activity settings, and how individuals’ can be influenced by, but can also influence the groups to which they belong. My current projects involve the investigation of group processes such as cohesion, cliques, social identity, and leadership on both individual and team level outcomes in child/youth and elite sport populations. Generally, the main focus is to develop a better understanding of certain psychosocial factors that can be used to inform interdisciplinary and policy relevant research aimed at enriching the sporting environment.






 613-533-6000 x79140




Additional link:


Martin, L. J., Eys, M. A., & Spink, K. S. (2016). The social environment in sport organizations. In C. Wagstaff (Ed.), The Organizational Psychology of Sport: Key Issues and Practical Applications. Abingdon, UK: Routlege.

Oct 10, 2016

Practitioner: Lauren Tashman

Lauren S. Tashman, PhD, CC-AASP is an Assistant Professor in Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology (SEPP), the Coordinator of Sport Psychology Services, and the Coordinator of the Master's SEPP program at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida.  In addition to teaching, supervising, and providing mental performance services to athletics at Barry, she has a private practice in which she provides CC-AASP mentoring and mental performance coaching to individual performers and groups/teams. She is currently also the Mental Performance Coach for Softball Canada's Senior Women's National Team. Her educational background includes a Bachelor's in Psychology from The College of New Jersey as well as a Master's and PhD in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Sport Psychology from Florida State University.  During her PhD, she also obtained a certification in Program Evaluation, taught an undergraduate Educational Psychology course, and was a Graduate Research Assistant in the Learning System Institute's Human Performance Lab, led by Drs. K. Anders Ericsson, David Eccles, and Paul Ward. Most recently, she co-edited two books with J. Gualberto Cremades investigating global perspectives on applied practice and training/supervision titled, "Becoming a Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Practitioner: a Global Perspective" and "Global Practices and Training in Applied Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology: a Case Study Approach."




Twitter: @DrTSportPsych

Check out Inspire Performance Consulting on Facebook




“In the process of driving better habits of thinking, I also believe that in the moment you need to just go with whatever you have.”


“In a team sense, or how you influence other people I really truly believe that you are either a positive or negative, there is no such thing as a grey area, there is no such thing as in between.”


“My approach has always been try to build really good relationships, do good work with the people that want it and then let it progress overtime.”


“In today’s world where information is everywhere and everyone’s fingertips, I want my students to be better than what someone can get in a book or online.”

Oct 3, 2016

Study: Self Talk: Review and Sport Specific Model


 Self-talk is a key component of the sport psychology canon. Although self-talk has been widely endorsed by athletes and coaches as a performance enhancement strategy, a comprehensive model of self-talk in sport that might be used to guide systematic research has yet to be developed. This purpose of this paper is to: (a) review theory and research related to self-talk in sport; and (b) present a sport-specific model that builds upon existing theory and research, and addresses key questions related to self-talk. The paper begins with a definition of self-talk, developed with consideration of the discursive nature of inner speech and dual process theories. Extant self-talk models related to self-talk in sport are reviewed and serve as a foundation for a sport-specific model of self-talk. Components of the model (i.e., self-talk, System 1, System 2, behaviour, contextual factors, personal factors) are presented, the reciprocal relationships among model components are explored, and implications of the sport-specific model of self-talk are discussed.



Judy L. Van Raalte, PhD, is a certified consultant for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and listed in the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry. She has presented at conferences in 18 countries and published over 90 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health, the NCAA, and the International Tennis Federation. Van Raalte served as president of the American Psychological Association's Society of Sport, Exercise & Performance Psychology (APA Division 47) and vice president of the International Society of Sport Psychology. She is a fellow of APA and AASP.

Research Interests

  • Self-talk
  • Body image
  • Professional issues in sport and exercise psychology








“If we already know everything that we know, then why would we talk to ourselves?”


“When you ask people after the fact, they tend to be pretty poor at remembering what they were thinking, or what their experiences were.”


“So people who think they are not really great, and say I’m not really great, and then are told to think ‘No your awesome’, sometimes get stuck in thinking and actually feel worse, and up performing worse.”


“You don’t have to act on every thought you have.  It just might be part of the process and normal because sport can be frustrating.”


“How much self-talk is too much?”

“So what I think is new is looking at all the relationships between these factors and then opening things up to really consider peoples own private experiences with system one self talk.”

Aug 22, 2016

Study: Introducing Sport Psychology Interventions: Self-Control Implications

Abstract: Evidence from sequential-task studies demonstrate that if the first task requires self-control, then performance on the second task is compromised (Hagger, Wood, Stiff, & Chatzisarantis, 2010). In a novel extension of previous sequential-task research, the first self-control task in the current study was a sport psychology intervention, paradoxically proposed to be associated with improved performance. Eighteen participants (9 males, 9 females; mean age = 21.6 years, SD = 1.6), none of whom had previously performed the experimental task or motor imagery, were randomly assigned to an imagery condition or a control condition. After the collection of pretest data, participants completed the same 5-week physical training program designed to enhance swimming tumble-turn performance. Results indicated that performance improved significantly among participants from both conditions with no significant intervention effect. Hence, in contrast to expected findings from application of the imagery literature, there was no additive effect after an intervention. We suggest practitioners should be cognizant of the potential effects of sequential tasks, and future research is needed to investigate this line of research.


Author: Tracey Devonport

Dr Tracey Devonport is registered as a Sport and Exercise Psychologist with the Health Care Professions Council. Other certifications include; Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, accredited with the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) for scientific support (Psychology) and a Chartered Scientist. Tracey was made a Fellow of BASES in 2015.


Tracey's research interests primarily lie around stress, coping, and emotion regulation. In particular she is interested in applied research with a focus on intervention development and delivery. Other research interest areas include emotional intelligence, emotional eating, self-control, self-efficacy and body image. She has authored more than 45 peer refereed journal articles, three books and 13 book chapters.


Tracey has worked as an applied sport psychology consultant for more than 20 years. She has worked predominantly with junior national athletes in sports such as Tennis, Swimming, Badminton, Judo and Netball.










“In terms of imagery, you don’t write a script and go there you are, job done. It is a consistently evolving process really, so that you are moving along with their learning.”


“If you are just learning to use imagery, don’t use imagery and then follow it by a new skill you are trying to learn.”


“There is so much research out there that suggests that imagery doesn’t help with a novel skill. This could come down to self-control because you are asking people to use imagery which is going to be novel to them, and then you’re asking to them to perform a novel physical skill. That is two repeated acts of self-control. Use imagery independent of the physical scale”


‘If you want to do really well on a task, plan your day. Don’t try and delimit acts of self-control leading up to that really important task.”


‘Every time you make a decision, quite often it is an act of self-control.”


‘Think of self-control like a muscle, so if you use it you are going to tire it.”

Aug 8, 2016

Study: Adversarial Growth in Olympic Swimmers: Constructive Reality or Illusory Self-Deception?

Abstract: Efforts to regulate emotions can influence others, and interpersonal emotion regulation within teams may affect athletes’ own affective and motivational outcomes. We examined adolescent athletes’ (N = 451, Nteams = 38) self- and interpersonal emotion regulation, as well as associations with peer climate, sport enjoyment, and sport commitment within a multilevel model of emotion regulation in teams. Results of multilevel Bayesian structural equation modeling showed that athletes’ self-worsening emotion regulation strategies were negatively associated with enjoyment, while other-improving emotion regulation strategies were positively associated enjoyment and commitment. The team-level interpersonal emotion regulation climate and peer motivational climates were also associated with enjoyment and commitment. Team-level factors moderated some of the relationships between athletes’ emotion regulation with enjoyment and commitment. These findings extend previous research by examining interpersonal emotion regulation within teams using a multilevel approach, and they demonstrate the importance of person- and team-level factors for athletes’ enjoyment and commitment.

Author: Karen Howells

Karen is a Lecturer in Sport and Fitness at The Open University. Previously she worked as a lecturer in psychology and sport psychology in a number of face-to-face universities and further and higher education colleges.  Karen joined the Open University in 2015 having completed her PhD at Loughbrough University. The title of her PhD thesis was ‘A Qualitative Exploration of Adversarial Growth in Elite Swimmers’. Karen's research arising from her doctorate has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented at national and international conferences.

Karen’s specialist area is sport and performance psychology. She is a Chartered Sport Psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS) and is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).  She regularly provides sport and performance psychology support to athletes from a wide range of individual and team sports competing at a variety of levels.  She has also delivered non-technical skills to teams within the Oil and Gas Industry and is an ex-Royal Air Force Officer.










“Post traumatic growth occurs when an individual is shattered by their experiences, but in their recovery go beyond their pre-trauma functioning”


“I am not sure the growth is real (post traumatic). If feels to me like people are talking about growth, when actually there is nothing there.”


“Real growth has some kind of change in outlook on life, a philosophical change, real fundamental differences in how people view life.”


“The illusory side of growth is more about self-deception; People deceiving themselves into thinking something positive has come from their experiences.”


“These individuals are identifying positive outcomes, but they are not real.”


“Ideally, I’d like to say we can grow from our experiences, but that’s not to say we always grow, or we have to grow.”


“Resiliency and growth in some ways are contradictory.”

Jun 20, 2016

Study: As Iron Sharpens Iron? Athletes’ Perspectives of Positional Competition

Abstract: The study explored the competition between teammates for playing time (i.e., positional competition) within university team sports from the athletes’ perspective. Sixteen Canadian interuniversity team sport athletes (11 women, 5 men) participated in semistructured interviews. Results revealed that positional competition (a) occurs between players in the same position, (b) is necessary to determine playing time, (c) is an ongoing, omni-present process, and (d) happens under the awareness of the coach. Furthermore, various inputs (by the individual athlete, team, coach), processes (performance-related, information-related), and outcomes (individual, collective) became apparent. Positional competition is a group process that occurs across multiple competitive situations (e.g., practices, games). Future research is needed to clearly define and operationalize it as its own construct.


Author: Sebastian Harenberg

Originally from Germany, he attended both his undergrad and master’s program in Physical Education to become a high school teacher at Göttingen University. He then ventured over to Canada to obtain his PHD from University of Regina in Kinesiology and Health Studies. He completed his PhD in 2014 and has since been working a research scientist for a local health region. On the applied side, Sebastian has played soccer his entire life and other sports such as hockey. Additionally, he has coaching experience at the University of Regina where he coaches women soccer He is currently in transition as he recently accepted a job at Ithaca College in upstate New York.








Quotes from the episode:


“How do coaches keep their bench players, and the players that are sitting in the stands motivated to perform. To me this has become a guiding question that really stuck with me.”


“The players described the competition for playing time not as something that is in a particular situation, so not as something that starts and ends.”


“A lot depends on the coaches, and how the coach structures positional competition. Athletes want to have information on where they stand and how they can improve.”


“When you have a constant information flow, and a constant mechanism of how you can transfer this information to your athletes (feedback on where they stand in a positional battle and why) that is when you see some really effective results."