A SPORT and performance psychologist at Wrexham Glyndŵr University who has helped budding Premier League footballers reach peak performance levels is sharing his knowledge in a new book.

Lecturer Tom King previously worked with youngsters at Leicester City FC and has co-written a chapter for the newly-published book, Football Psychology – From Theory to Practice.

Tom, from St Martins, drew on his work with youngsters from the under-9s through to the U23 squad for his chapter on psychosocial behaviours in academy players, which tells how the performance psychology team restructured the psychology system at the club.

“The problem in professional football with sports psychology is a lot of people don’t understand what it is,” he said.

“What we aimed to do is create a cohesive programme that everybody can understand and get on board with so we can improve the psychological development of our players.”

Tom spent three years full-time with the former English Premier League champions and also worked with coaching staff and young players’ parents.

He would deliver everything from one-to-one support for the players, workshops for the players and parents and also observing players, coaches and parents.

The programme – headed by Dr Karl Steptoe, who is also the chapter’s lead author, has been adopted in various sports around the Leicester and Loughborough areas.

Tom has been at Glyndŵr for a year and is relishing the opportunity to lend his applied knowledge to academic programmes.

The book analyses key topics in football psychology such as personality, motivation, cognition, and emotion; coaching and team essentials; psychological skills for performance enhancement; and developing players in youth football.

Each chapter provides a review of the relevant literature, key theories, real-world examples, and reflections on how knowledge can be applied in practice.

“I think the advantage of this book is that there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of football psychology books out there that talk about the underlying theory, and how it then relates to applied practice,” Tom added.