Mental Toughness and “Whistle-Blowing”

There are any number of indicators that make you aware of getting older; gray hair, slowing down physically, and as the saying goes “when policemen look younger” (also Policewomen to remain politically correct). In academia the other sure sign is when your past students start publishing research papers. So when I returned home to find a copy of “Sport and Exercise Psychology Review” contained a paper on mental toughness in English Premier League Referees, I was pleased to see the name Liam Slack as lead author. Liam previously studied sport psychology in one of my classes around six years ago and he has since moved on to work with the team at Sheffield Hallam University. I would at least like to think that his initial interest in MT was sparked through his contact with me at York St. John University. His paper is well worth a read and I have added the full reference below for those interested. It reports the results of semi-structured interviews with 15 referees.

Slack, L., Butt, J., Maynard, I., & Olusoga, P. (2014). Understanding mental toughness in elite football officiating: Perceptions of English Premier League referees. Sport and Exercise Psychology Review, 10, 4-25.