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Sport psychology coaching to align individual and team performance

Amy Fisher Moore (Department of Personal and Applied Learning, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Verity Hawarden (Department of Personal and Applied Learning, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Publication date: 21 May 2021


Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the case discussion, students will be able to: identify the enablers of a mental skills coaching process and the broad outcomes as a result of a coaching intervention; understand the contributing factors towards creating greater psychological safety in a team and the impact this has on team performance; and identify positive leadership strategies to create an environment in which meaningful work and goal achievement increase engagement.

Case overview/synopsis

Leanne Redding was the mental skills coach for Maccabi, a professional league soccer club in Johannesburg, South Africa. Redding had worked with the club’s players using mental techniques, the ultimate aim being to improve performance. Redding’s work was based on the premise of trust, lived values, self-respect and reflection. She believed that a strengths-based approach grounded in sports psychology and aligned with mental contrasting enabled resilience. Her process of holding individual and team sessions helped with sustaining motivation, overcoming limiting fears and encouraging focus on the greater good of the team. The result was Maccabi’s promotion to the professional league of soccer. However, not all of her broad stakeholder group had bought into the value of sports psychology coaching. The case explores Redding’s process and her belief of the importance and buy-in from all players of the team values which should inform behaviour. The case concludes with Redding contemplating what she should do to gain greater acceptance from the rest of the coaching staff for her work.

Complexity academic level

This case can be used in graduate and postgraduate level courses such as an MBA, in management development programmes or in short executive education courses focusing on organisational behaviour, leadership and human capital development and sports management.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS 7: Management Science.



Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision-making. The authors may have disguised names, financial and other recognizable information to protect confidentiality.


Moore, A.F. and Hawarden, V. (2021), "Sport psychology coaching to align individual and team performance", , Vol. 11 No. 2.



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