Who got that job?

July 2, 2004

Marcia Wilson
Lecturer in Coaching and Performance Science / Sport Psychology

Job advertised in The Times Higher , October 10, 2003

As British fans cheered on Tim Henman at Wimbledon this week, much has been made of how the tennis player's new coach has changed his mental game.

Helping athletes to improve their performance by working on their attitude is very much Marcia Wilson's game. She won a lectureship in coaching and performance science/ sport psychology at Brunel University that was advertised last year in The Times Higher.

Although there is still a degree of scepticism about the value of sports psychology, Dr Wilson said there was a growing acceptance, particularly among the athletes themselves. Most find it makes a difference to their performance, she said.

Sports psychology courses are also popular with students and many are oversubscribed.

However, Dr Wilson said it was still difficult to make a living in the field, so most sports psychologists are lecturers who also undertake consultancies. She recently worked with a rugby team, for example.

Her path to Brunel began with undergraduate studies at the University of Wales, Bangor, graduating in the late 1980s. After an unsatisfying spell working at a London sports centre, Dr Wilson decided to take a masters and ended up at the University of Texas in Houston. "It was a little too hot, but I met some great people and some wonderful professors and that really shaped it for me," she said.

A doctorate at Iowa University followed in 1995 and then an assistant professorship at a college in South Carolina. Dr Wilson returned to England in 2001 for a post at Gloucestershire University.

Brunel's department of sports sciences has about 15 staff and will merge with the School of Education next year.

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