An expert in applied sports psychology has joined the University of Chester from Everton Football Club, where she helped with the development of young talent at the club’s Academy.
Dr Carmel Triggs has joined the University’s Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, having spent three years as a Player Development Adviser at Everton’s Academy, now based at Finch Farm.
During her time at Everton, Dr Triggs worked with the club’s up-and-coming talent, offering psychological support to players from the age of nine up to under-18 level.
She said: “Although sports psychology is becoming increasingly well-established at first-team level in football, I don’t think it’s too common at Academy level. The players really took to it, I was able to establish a relationship with them, and we’d work on things like goal-setting, coping with different emotions, and lifestyle choices.”
Dr Triggs took on part-time work at Everton in 2001. As a result of her PhD into the emotional intelligence of young players and the significant role it plays in the development of young talent, she was able to provide evidence that there would be a role for a Player Development Adviser within an Academy, and Everton were happy to create the new position.
Conducted through small classroom-based work and one-to-one sessions, Dr Triggs worked with players at the crucial period between the ages of 16 and 17, when they are signed on scholarships to work towards a professional contract.
She explained: “It’s great to work with the players from a young age and see them progress right through to the first team, but very few end up being offered a professional contract. It’s equally rewarding, therefore, to see those that aren’t offered a professional deal making a career for themselves in another profession, and knowing that you’ve helped them to develop as a person. There’s great satisfaction in that.”
Having moved back into academia, Dr Triggs will contribute to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching of Sport and Exercise Psychology, and Applied Sport Psychology.