Psychology

Psychology

The Age Of The Entrepreneur – Independent Publishing In Sport Psychology

Mr Nathan Smith

Posted: August 3, 2014

Around a year ago I had a conversation with a family member [who I should mention happens to be a serial entrepreneur] about innovation and creativity. I remember the discussion clear as day and the words he muttered have stuck with me ever since…”we are living in the age of the entrepreneur”. The point being made was that it has never been easier to be entrepreneurial. An internet boom, followed by the formation of click-and-pay websites, mean that you can sell (and buy) almost anything, to anyone, anywhere in the world. Multiply this by a government focus on promoting social enterprise and the growth of small business means that we all have the possibility of creating something. Now for an idea!

It seemed logical that ‘the’ idea would be based within the context of sport. As a researcher, academic and teacher, my daily focus is on the psychology of sport and exercise in relation to promoting health, well-being and performance. My involvement in the area of sport psychology has given me a foundation of knowledge that I wish to share with others; the question is how? Of course, the mainstays of academic dissemination activities are conferences and peer-reviewed publications, which are incredibly important for the progression of a field and ensuring high academic standards. However, these routes are possibly not the best way to share our important research findings with key stakeholders of such research, which almost always includes some faction of the general public.

To the solution: A colleague and I had a typical brainstorming session and thought about ways in which we could engage a new audience with sport psychology research and practice. A classic marketing angle was to recruit major athletes to talk about their use of sport psychology throughout their careers and its impact upon performance. Done. A second idea was to create a visually stunning piece of work that could standalone as a piece of art. In this regard we could capture a different demographic who purchase products on their aesthetic appeal alone (and perhaps learn something about sport psychology in the process). Done. Finally, we wanted to make our ‘thing’ appealing to both academic and non-academic audiences, a tough task but a challenge we grasped with both hands and we began contacting our network of colleagues and friends. Done. These three themes led us to the idea of starting a modern journal; one that includes original artwork alongside short stories grounded within sport psychology – either from a research or applied perspective.

Inspiration for producing this type of journal has come from media, marketing and design agencies, rather than from within academia itself. Niche publications such as the Green Soccer Journal, Victory Journal and The Ride Journal capture the beauty, majesty and people’s love of sport like no other. In the process these companies have danced in the face of many naysayers who proclaimed, in the age of digitization, that ‘print is dead’. If you can provide a product that has true value and engages the reader, people will pay. Drawing from these sources as well as many others, we produced our first independently published sport journal, including contributions from world leading academics, students, and champion athletes including squash champion Nick Matthew and multiple major golf champion Gary Player. Psyched For Sport Volume 1 provides an illustrated introduction to sport psychology and we believe is accessible to almost anyone interested in learning more about the world of psychology in sport. To our adulation, artwork from the journal has been featured in a national newspaper and the publication has sold to more than 14 countries around the world – all via sales in our online shop (the age of the entrepreneur comes to fruition!). Perhaps the most exciting result however is the acceptance from our academic peers who are a notoriously difficult bunch to please.

About

Nathan Smith is a lecturer in Sport Psychology at the University of Northampton. He is currently writing up a PhD in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the University of Birmingham. Nathan is also a co-director of the online and print journal Psyched for Sport (www.psyched4sport.com).