New qualification for Brechin rider

Picture shows John and his Arabian endurance horse Prince Omar finishing a 50km training ride.

Picture shows John and his Arabian endurance horse Prince Omar finishing a 50km training ride.

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Brechiner John Thomson, who is an Endurance rider for Great Britain, has qualified as a sports psychologist.

The achievement follows a successful Cairngorm 100 (Blue Mountain 160) endurance test ride.

The MA (Hons) graduate, who originally studied psychology at the University of Dundee, gained a Diploma in Sports Psychology with Distinction.

Being no stranger to the stresses and strains of top level competition, John dug deep into his own experiences during the diploma course.

Endurance is a tough, challenging sport that places huge amounts of physical as well as psychological stress on it’s serious competitors and demands high levels of focus, motivation and concentration for long periods of time. He said: “Sometimes the race is played out in a five and a half square inch court – the space inside your head!”

But in the drive to get faster, the mind is often an untapped resource. Utilizing a variety of sports psychological skills can enhance performance, improve consistency in training and competition, and minimize or eliminate undesirable mental states, such as anger, frustration, and burnout.

Although most athletes understand that their psychological status influences performance, too few actively use the skills necessary to help themselves. Frequently, after a poor game or race, the psychological factors go unrecognised and the athlete or the coach blames other aspects (e.g., diet, training, injury).

John, a firm advocate of the concept of “deliberate practice” has now started his own Sports Psychology and Coaching consultancy (contact email is sports-psych@outlook.com) and hopes to be able to assist athletes and sports people from all sporting disciplines to develop that winning way. After a rest it is now back to the competitive circuit for Team Omar.