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Helping people to get the best out of themselves

               Professor Peter Terry

Professor Peter Terry

You’d be hard pressed to find a weights room in the world that hasn’t played Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger at some point since the 1980’s. The catchy guitar riff and inspirational lyrics could motivate even the laziest couch potato. But when sports psychologist, Professor Peter Terry, coached double trap shooter, Richard Faulds, in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games he chose something a little more subtle - Whitney Houston's One Moment in Time.

With experience in eight Olympic Games, 18 World Championships, 28 World Cup competitions, 9 Wimbledon Championships, 1 Ashes Cricket series and 2 Asian Games, Prof Terry was confident in his selection.

In the tense shoot-off, Faulds seized his ‘moment in time’ to win the gold medal, collecting his country's first Olympic title in the sport since 1968.

“At the Olympics everyone is anxious and everything is a performance issue – often people suffer anxiety when they need to be at their peak. My job is to ensure this doesn’t happen.”

In achieving this objective, Professor Terry, draws on his extensive body of research, including 185 publications, five books and more conference presentations than he can remember.

“I have been very fortunate to have the unique experience of being able to gather data in Olympic environments and other large sporting events. This research provides me with the evidence base I need to provide people with advice.”

Prof Terry has also written more about mood and emotion in sport than almost anyone else in the world. Specifically he examines the level of tension, depression, anger, vigour, fatigue and confusion in individuals and teams.

“From there I identify the right mood profile for each athlete.

“Performance psychology is about helping people to get the best out of themselves, but each sport has its own unique challenges and each person their own characteristics.”

Teams and individuals wanting to tap into Prof Terry’s experience can purchase his latest book, Inside Sport Psychology, co-authored with Dr Costas Karageorghis.

Endorsed by World Cup-winning rugby union player, Richard Hill, and Olympic heavyweight boxing champion, Audley Harrison, the book offers advice on how to manage fluctuations in mood to maintain consistency in performance.

Prof Terry is also trying to take his research to the “rest of the world” via a free online mood profiling tool – In The Mood – that was co-developed with USQ Doctoral Student, Julian Lim.

He has also partnered with sports drink, Mizone, and Warner Music on a website called Mitracks, that enables consumers of the drink to download four musical mixes (low, mid, high and max) to enhance their exercise experience.

During his career, Prof Terry has combined his university role with various positions including Psychology Coordinator at the Queensland Academy of Sport and President of the APS College of Sport Psychologists.

“I have been travelling with sporting teams for 28 years, including 11 years in tennis, 10 years in bobsledding, 13 years with the shooters, as well as the England Cricket Team, Wales Rugby Union team and a brief stint with the 2006 Queensland State of Origin Team.

“I had set my goal at one Olympic Games, but they keep asking me back.”

Students interested in a career in performance psychology should refer to Prof Terry’s article, Performance psychology: Being the best, the best you can be, or just a little better?, written for the Australian Psychological Society.