Sport and Exercise Psychology




Nicola Bosio is currently a trainee sport and exercise psychologist. Her aim is to support your psychological well-being and foster personal growth through an educational and humanistic client based approach, where your view as the client is at the main focus of her work. Whether you are solution focused or wanting a more holistic development, we will work together to analyse and solve any issues you may be having in your sporting career or basic exercise regime. She first realised how important sport psychology was when she was an athlete and competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. The team had no psychological support and as a young athlete she found herslef mentally defeated before she had even competed. She was filled with self-doubt, got distracted by the large crowd and constantly battled with her emotions. Following this experience, Nicola was motivated to change sport in Gibraltar by pursuing sport and exercise psychology and becoming the first trainee sport and exercise psychologist in Gibraltar. Most importantly Nicola wanted to be able to help anyone who is feeling the way I felt all those years ago. 

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 Sport and Exercise Psychology


What is Sport and Exercise Psychology and what can it do for you?

Sport Psychology and Exercise Psychology are two closely related areas however they differ due to the specific groups of people who participate in them. Therefore, Sport Psychology is a domain that uses psychological knowledge and skills to nurture and better an athlete’s performance and well-being. In other words, although sport is played with the body, it is won with the mind and sport psychology aims to train your mind to endure the mental toughness that competing in high level sports brings. 

Regarding sport psychology, she prides herself in wanting to help all disciplines of sport and all levels of athletes whether you are an amateur or elite athlete, a coach or a parent. In order to understand the role, you first need to understand what psychology is. There are many negative stereotypes when seeking psychological help, one of the most frequently heard is “sport psychology is for weak minded people”. Nicola will tell you that this is not the case, just like other domains in sport such as those that make us physically stronger, like nutrition and physical training, sport psychology trains the mind to enable us to achieve its full potential and relieve athletes of negativity. Sport psychology is actually an interdisciplinary science that draws on knowledge from psychology and kinetics. It involves the study of how psychological factors affect performance and how participation in sport and exercise affect psychological and physical well-being (Weinberg and Gould, 2010). 

Exercise Psychology can affect every member of the public because physical inactivity has been shown to be linked with increased risk for all causes of mortality, some types of cancers and cardiovascular disease. This area focuses on applying psychological principles to promote and influence our exercise behaviour. Whilst, allowing people to assess where they are with regards to exercise, define an individualised exercise programme, help deal with barriers and issues that restrict people from participating in exercise and maximise enjoyment in physical activity participation. 

What does Nicola Specialise in?

Due to Nicola's vast experiences as an athlete and simply as being a female who has struggled with an exercise regime in the past, she specialises in both Sport Psychology and Exercise Psychology. 

Areas in Sport Psychology:

  • Motivation/goal setting 
  • Team building
  • Team cohesion
  • Burn out (no longer wanting to pursue sport do to over exposure/training)
  • Competition/training anxiety
  • Fear of re-injury
  • Mental preparation for competition
  • Resilience
  • Mental imagery
  • Positive self-talk 
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Leadership 
  • Self-confidence 

Areas in Exercise Psychology:

  • Stress relief through exercise 
  • Psychological weight loss guidance 
  • Motivation for weight loss
  • Psychological guidance for maintaining an exercise regime
  • Mental health and well-being 
  • Mindfulness during exercising 
  • Goal setting 
  • Resilience
  • Positive self-talk 
  • Exercise addiction 
  • Self-confidence
  • Body image

Your First Session

What can you expect in the first session?

There is no clear-cut answer to this question as everyone’s psychological needs are different, regardless of whether you are seeking sport psychology or exercise psychology, no one mind is the same. To begin we must manage client expectations, like when you break a bone, it does not heal after one night, when your mind is overwhelmed the solution is to be persistent and break down the problem. Thus, psychology does not happen overnight and it is something that needs to be done persistently and this may take time and numerous sessions to achieve.

A session may run between 30 minutes to an hour. In our first session, we will engage in conversation to get to know one another and allow for trust to grow between us. We will then identify what kind of psychological support you are seeking, whether this is sport or exercise related. Furthermore, in depth conversation will allow us to build rapport and distinguish your preferred approach (educational psychology or humanistic). Following this we can identify whether you are solution focused or wanting a holistic development to your mental state of mind. For those who are solution focused we will identify the difficulties you are facing and dig deeper to uncover what it is that has made you think in certain ways and the underlying issues that may be the cause. This may result in learning skills to help you cope with the demands or engaging in a behaviour change intervention.