A day in the life of a mental performance practitioner working in the Canadian Olympic and paralympic sport institute network (copsin)

  • Lori Dithurbide School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University

Abstract

COPSIN is a key contributor to Canada's world leading Olympic and Paralympic podium performances. It provides a range of added-value benefits to the sports worked with by providing expert leadership, service provision, and programs informed by cutting edge innovation and research. In this environment mental performance practitioners work to assist athletes and coaches within a sport science team, referred to as integrated support team (IST). This presentation will address the context of high performance sport where outcomes are fully performance driven, and funding, both for the athletes and IST, are based on results and podium potential. In this context, the mental performance practitioner focuses on 4 main domains of practice. These include: (1) the psychological climate and culture of both the athlete(s)' environment and in the larger context of the national sport organization; (2) athlete performance issues, both at the individual and team level, and including performance both in the daily training environment and at competition; (3) athlete lifestyle wellness and mental health, which may include collaboration with other health and wellness experts such as registered dieticians, psychologists, and physicians, and; (4) leadership and organizational management where the practitioner may play more of a leadership role in the IST and/or help improve the functioning of the IST or sport organization. This presentation will inform about the ways in which the mental performance practitioner service delivery is nuanced by the 'athlete-centred, coach-driven, IST supported' micro-politics underpinning service delivery.