GRz 023: [In English] Peter Schneider | How sport psychology works at a football academy?

This is Mind Rules Podcast and I have a pleasure to present you yet another bonus episode, this time all in English! As you might have known from my social media channels in September and November this year I spent some time at a Bundesliga Football Academy FC Augsburg doing an internship under a supervision of my dear friend and colleague Peter Schneider. During my time in Augsburg I had a chance to shadow his practical work both on and off the field, which obviously sparked many questions and discussions. I also spoke to the academy coaches, directors and staff to deepen my understanding of how such organizations work and incorporate sport psychological services in its daily activities. As one of the results of my internship, this episode offers a sneak peak into my experiences. We recorded it in Pete’s office at the academy grounds in Augsburg and I think it tackles many interesting issues regarding psychological work within football academy structures. Pete is a great sport psychologist and a really cool person, easy to talk to as you will discover listening to this episode. He openly shares his working philosophy and provides insights into his daily duties at the academy. Among others, Pete answers the following questions:

  • What are the cornerstones of his working philosophy?
  • How to shape academy environments to best serve developing athletes and their coaches?
  • What kind of resistance may sport psychologists experience about the field in their working environments in the academies and how can they overcome it?
  • When sport psychologists do feel truly accepted as people and as professionals within the academy coaching community?
  • Should sport psychologist be ‘on the side’ or ‘inside’ club structures?
  • Why should we all keep in mind cognitive biases?
  • How sport psychologist manages and discloses sensitive information?
  • How does a typical week look like for a sport psychologist at a Bundesliga academy?
  • How can one 'see’ the organizational culture within a football club?
  • Where can sport psychologist fit in during training sessions?
  • What does a holistic coaching staff looks like at the academy level and what do they do?
  • Why is it important for youth football academies to care for the players also outside the field, in different life domains?
  • What does a young person have to sacrifice to become a professional?
  • How sport psychologist can work with parents of youth players?
  • What is a 24 hour policy in coach-parent relationship?
  • What links may exist between the first team and the academy?
  • What is the future of sport psychology in general, and specifically in football settings?

I also have to mention that this opportunity was fully funded by a FEPSAC applied mobility grant. FEPSAC, for those of you who don’t know, is a European Federation of Sport Psychology supporting development of sport psychology and sport psychologists in Europe since 1960s. It is the largest organization of this sort on our continent and it is doing a fantastic job! I am a huge fan of its missions and actions. I have been a member ever since 2013 and this year I was the first Polish sport psychologist to be certified by FEPSAC. If you are a sport psychologist or a sport psychology student please do check what it does. 

If you like this episode and/or you think I should record in English more often please let me know.

Pete Schneider in his office at FC Augsburg Academy. Fot. Grzegorz Więcław

Peter Schneider

Pete left his home state of Michigan after completing a B.A. in Biology at Kalamazoo College in 2007, first working in Europe before completing an M.Sc. in Sport Psychology at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland in 2010 and following it up in 2011 with an M.Sc. in Sport Diagnostics and Interventions at Leipzig University, Germany. Alongside completing the requirements for his PhD in Leipzig and finishing additional training to become a Certified Mental Trainer® with Mental Training, Inc., Pete has been working as an applied sport psychology consultant, focusing on talent development in aspiring athletes. In addition to consulting individual athletes in a variety of sports, he has been employed by two elite soccer academies in Germany, formerly FC Carl Zeiss Jena and currently FC Augsburg.


Things mentioned in this episode