Brendan Cropley is a Professor of Sport Coaching at USW and teaches on the Football Coaching course and Football Coaching masters at USW. He has worked with athletes, coaches and national governing bodies, and has made a significant contribution to the sport and exercise sciences, particularly in the area of sport psychology and sport coach education.
He is driven by a desire to understand what makes people effective in their personal and professional roles; what makes someone ‘exceptional’. His current research explores psychological well-being in sports performers, including coaches and sport science support staff.
"Research has indicated that elite sports performers - from tennis players to premier league footballers - are as likely, if not more likely, to experience mental health issues as the general population due to the extreme environments in which sports people have to perform and work.
"In light of this and given the increase in the prevalence of mental health issues in Western society in general, I wanted to look at well-being in sports performers in an attempt to generate a better understanding of how we might better support these people to flourish personally and professionally.
"My research aims to gain a better understanding of the mental health issues that emerge from chronically low levels of well-being, as well as the links between performers’ experiences of the stress process and their levels of psychological well-being.
"I’m hoping that this research can influence coach education and sport and exercise scientist training programmes. The aim is to offer research-based evidence to support these people in developing the coping mechanisms to deal with the demands that they experience as well as helping them to create working environments that are supportive of positive psychological well-being.”
"My research informs and underpins my teaching. My modules include sessions on The Coach as a Performer; Coach Stress and Coping; Mental Health; Well-Being and Performance; and Experiential Learning (Reflective Practice).
"I use my research findings to give insights into the most relevant and recent understanding of certain phenomena. I’m able to enrich lectures by using my own approaches and experiences of conducting research to bring philosophies and methods to life.
"Students often have the chance to participate in our research, which not only gives us insights into their experiences but also helps them to gain an insight into the research process."