Sport Psych News | Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health

Sport Psych News

Read articles, stories, and announcements about the activities and achievements of the Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health's faculty, staff, and students.

Center Receives Research Grant from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology

Center Director, Dr. Trent A. Petrie and doctoral student Macey Arnold, along with Kyla A. Petrie, M.D., received a research grant from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology for the 2024-2025 academic year. The research project entitled "Pre-performance routines, ideal psychological states, and perceived surgical outcomes among orthopedic surgeons and residents" will focus on interview orthopedic surgeons and residents to understand how they prepare themselves psychologically for...

Center Staff Honored with Research Awards from AASP

Simon Wright (2nd year doctoral student) and Macey Arnold (5th year doctoral student) will receive research awards at the 2024 conference for the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). Simon is being awarded the Ken Ravizza Student Travel Conference Award - the top scored student abstract submitted at the AASP 2024 conference. Simon will receive a check of $1,000 USD to cover any travel expenses to attend the conference in Las Vegas.

Macey is the winner of The Sport...

Center Begins Ninth Season with the WNBA Dallas Wings

Center Director, Dr. Trent Petrie, and staff member, Carmyn Hayes, will be working with the Dallas Wings throughout the 2024 WNBA season. The Center has served as the team's sport psychologist since the 2016 season and are entering their ninth year in collaborating with the Wings.

Center Staff End Tenure and Head to New Sport Psychology Opportunities

Lindsey Slavin, Justin Harker, and Julian Yoon are finishing their 5th year in the Psychology Department's APA-accredited Counseling Psychology program (with a specialization in sport psychology) and will leave this summer to begin their one-year pre-doctoral internships, the final training requirement before they complete their doctoral degrees...

Center Director and UNT Sports Medicine Staff Present at AISM Conference

Dr. Petrie, along with UNT Director of Sports Medicine Jeff Smith, UNT Team Physician Dr. Ryan Matheson, and Athletic Trainer Emily Wilder presented on American Athletic Conference (AAC) Student-Athlete Mental Health at the annual conference of the Alliance of Intercollegiate Sports Medicine in Clearwater Beach, FL. With sportsmedicine...

Center Director Discusses Bodies in Motion

Dr. Trent Petrie, co-developer of the Bodies in Motion program ( was recently interviewed by UNT's The Lab, a video series that highlights the work of UNT researchers. Click here ( to view the video.

Center Director and Staff Present Mental Health Research at the AAC Academic Symposium

Dr. Trent Petrie and doctoral student Kasey Chambers presented research to conference student-athletes, FARs, and administrative staff on April 13 at the UTSA campus in San Antonio. They discussed their AAC grant funded research on mental health screening and the psychological well-being of AAC student-athletes.

Center Student Receives the Voertman-Ardoin Scholarship

Congrats to Dafina Chisolm- Salau! She has received the Voertman-Ardoin in Liberal Arts Scholarship from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Center hosts 2024 AASP Regional Sport Psychology Conference at UNT

The 2024 AASP South Central Regional Conference was hosted by UNT's Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health and Department of Psychology and Kinesiology, Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Students and professionals in sport psychology and related fields had the opportunity to network and present their current research projects or ideas. Students...

Center Receives $15,000 Grant to Bring Bodies in Motion to American Athletic Conference Schools

The Center received a $15,000 grant from the AAC to introduce the Bodies in Motion program ( to all athletic departments so they may provide the program to their student athletes during the 2024-2025 school year. In addition to delivering the program, the Center will be conducting research to further examine the program's effectiveness in improving athletes' satisfaction with body and self and increasing their...

UNT Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health Celebrates its 10th Year of Working with Denton High School

The 2023-2024 season represents the Center's 10th year with Denton High School (DHS). Sport psychology consultants Jaiden Ademiluyi, Jayden Balfour, and Katie Breault work with the school's volleyball, girls' basketball, and softball teams, providing sport psychology workshops, presentations, and team building exercises to help the athletes grow together as teams and achieve their sport goals for the year.

UNT Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health Excitedly Enters its 2nd Year of Working with The Hockaday School of Dallas

For the 2023-2024 season Center sport psychology consultants, Matt Gutierrez and Brooklyn Wascom, will work with the athletic department to provide individual and team-based sport/performance psychology services. For more information on Hockaday Athletics visit

UNT Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health: Three Years of Working with Texas Woman’s University Athletics

The 2023-2024 season marks the Center's third year of providing sport psychology services to Texas Woman's University Athletic Department. Sport psychology consultants, Lindsey Slavin, Carmyn Hayes, and Destiny Johnson, provide sport psychology workshops and presentations to TWU's athletic teams and offer mental health services to their athletes. For more information on TWU Athletics visit

UNT Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health Celebrates Our 5th Year of Working with Ursuline Academy of Dallas

The 2023-2024 season marks the Center's fifth year of providing sport psychology services to Ursuline Academy of Dallas athletic department. Sport psychology consultants Olivia Paloucek and Sean Udofia work with the school's coaches, teams, and athletes, providing a range of sport psychology services (e.g., workshops, presentations, team building exercises). To learn more about Ursuline Athletics, visit https://www....

UNT Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health is Excited to Announce Our First Year of Working with the UT- Arlington Movin’ Mavs and Lady Movin’ Mavs

The 2023-2024 season marks the Center's inaugural year of working with the men's and women's Movin' Mavs. Center sport psychology consultants, Sydney Brock and Kayla Ford, lead our efforts with the teams. To learn more about the Movin' Mavs, visit

UNT Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health Enters The 2nd Year of Working with the UNT Cheer Team

The 2023-2024 season marks the Center's second year of providing sport psychology services to the UNT Cheer team. Sport psychology consultant, Ebony Hubbard, leads the Center's effort for this season and is focused on helping the Cheer team reach its goal of learning and growing throughout the year in their performances, culminating at the national championship to be held in Daytona, FL in April 2024.

UNT Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health Enters The 3rd Year of Working with the UNT Dance Team

The 2023-2024 season marks the Center's third year of providing sport psychology services to the UNT Dance team. This year, sport psychology consultant Chassidi Mosely, leads the Center's effort in helping the Dance team achieve its highest level of performance at the 2024 national championship to be held in Daytona, FL.

Center Faculty and Students Attend Annual Conference of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology

Drs. Trent A. Petrie and Kayla Balcom, along with doctoral students Bri Wallace, Issy Franks, Olivia Kit, Macey Arnold, Jessica Renteria and master's student Kayla Jones, attended the 38th annual AASP conference in Orlando, FL. The Center presented 11 research posters and recruited future students at the Association's Graduate Program Fair....

New Website Launched for the Bodies in Motion Program

Center Director, and co-developer of the Bodies in Motion program, Dr. Trent A. Petrie, announced the launch of the program's new website. The Bodies in Motion website ( provides interested athletes and interested athletic departments with an overview of the program and its content, documentation of the 1research that has been conducted on the program, and information on how to become a member school. The Bodies...


The Society for Sport, Exercise, & Performance Psychology, APA Division 47, Cornerstone Committee has selected Stephanie Barrett as the recipient of the 2022 Society for Sport, Exercise, & Performance Psychology Dissertation Award. This award recognizes outstanding student research that has the greatest potential for making a significant contribution to the theoretical and applied knowledge base in sport, exercise, and performance psychology. Stephanie's dissertation, "Bodies in...


Derek's study, The Effects of Coach-Created Motivational Climate on Teamwork Behaviors, explored the relationship between the environments coaches create and teamwork behavior. Specifically, how task-involving and ego-involving climates related to teams: understanding of their purpose and the ability to plan to achieve the team's mission, implementing designed plans for team success, assessing team performances and environment, creating alterations focused on increasing the...

Center Doctoral Student Jessica Renteria Selected to USA Gymnastics Governing Board

Jessica Renteria, who is in her first year in the counseling/sport psychology doctoral program, was recently elected to a four-year term for the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors. Our congratulations to Jessica on this incredible accomplishment! See article here

Dr. Trent Petrie Named One of the Top Researchers in His Field

A list of the world's top researchers was just published and Dr. Petrie was one of three faculty members from the UNT Psychology department to receive this honor. Dr. Petrie is among the most cited researchers within his specialty area throughout his career. To read more, check out UNT's news release HERE or you can read the original article from the Public...

Center Doctoral Student Megan Drew Selected for 2021 APA Division 47 Thesis Award

It is with great excitement that we share that Megan Drew's thesis project was selected by the Society for Sport, Exercise & Performance Psychology, APA Division 47, Cornerstone Committee for the 2021 Thesis Award! This award recognizes "outstanding student research that has the greatest potential for making a significant contribution to the theoretical and applied knowledge base in sport, exercise and performance psychology." Megan's study, The Mental Health Screening of Student...

What is your Why?

When we work with athletes and teams, we often ask them that question…what is your why? We do so to help them find meaning again in what they are doing, to reconnect with what motivates them internally, to possibly make different choices in what they choose to do…it can be easy in a busy, chaotic, stressful world to shift into doing and surviving mode and lose sight of what is important to us, what grounds us, excites us, connects us…what gives us purpose.

So for today, if you want,...

Mindfulness Monday - Music

Even physically distanced, we can listen to music. Although music can spark many different emotions, we often just have it on in the background, not fully attending to or engaging with it. For this Mindfulness Monday, we invite you to bring yourself fully to a song or piece of music of your choice.

Pick a song or piece of music that you have listened to before…it does not have to be your favorite piece, though it can be if you want. Before starting the song, consider the following to...

Writing Ourselves Healthier…Part 2

On Wednesday, we looked at how expressive writing can help us work through our thoughts and feelings in constructive ways and lead us to feeling better physically and psychologically. Today, we want to introduce a variant of that process, something that also may be healing, but also just simply fun to do.

NPR has created a writing process to help us deal with the grief that we may be experiencing…whether from a loss of a job, a change in our identity, the sickness or death of a loved...

Writing Ourselves Healthier

Expressive writing is a form of communicating our inner thoughts and feeling that has been pioneered by social psychologist Dr. James Pennebaker. Through scientific study, Pennebaker and colleagues have demonstrated how the process of expressing our feelings, more so than describing what has occurred, can lead to higher levels of physical and psychological well-being. To learn more about expressive writing and listen to Dr. Pennebaker:


Mindfulness Monday – Being in the Present Moment 

As we continue to shelter in place and the effects of the virus continue to ripple outward, we may experience higher levels of stress and an increasing potential for the people closest to us to be effected, either directly or indirectly by the virus. These circumstances could include becoming ill, a loved one dying, financial concerns, sleep problems, housing issues, lack of motivation and focus to do your job, your sport training, or your academic work, and even challenges in getting along...

Becoming Our Own Best Teammate

For some, the idea of self-compassion can seem a little odd…like a shoe that does not quite fit. But, when we work with athletes, we frame this idea from the perspective of becoming your own best teammate, which seems to fit perfectly.

Even if you have never played sports, you have likely been part of a work group, family, etc…someplace where you were interacting with others around a common goal or performance. Now, imagine a basketball game where a player makes a costly mistake,...

Finding Meaning Through Collective Loss and Grief

David Kessler is an expert on grief and dying and has applied his work to what we currently are going through. Kessler defines grief as "the death of something, a death of a loved one, a marriage, a relationship, a job loss" and believes that we are now experiencing a collective loss in our inability to have our everyday "normal." We may have experienced:

  • The loss of connection, handshakes, physical touch
  • The loss of routine and normalcy
  • The loss of work,...

Mindfulness Monday – Sleep

As we discussed before, sleep is one of the pillars of health. Yet, for many of us, sleep also is something that can be hard to achieve…at least as much, or at the quality, we want. With increasingly busy schedules, caring for children, work-life imbalance, interruptions of normal sport routines, not being able to see family and friends in the ways we might want…all of these (and others) can occupy our minds during the time when we want to be sleeping. The end result…difficulty falling...

A Moment of Compassion

Every day there seems to be something new we are being asked to manage, navigate, cope with…perhaps from work, school, family, or just what is going on around us in our society. And, in these moments, we may have thoughts and feelings and even physical sensations that can seem overwhelming. We might feel anxious or worried about something at work, or sad about missing out on seeing our friends in person, or frustrated that something has not gone the way we wanted it to.

All of...

Four Pillars of Self-Care

We are living in stressful and uncertain times…new demands, new situations, and new emotions, such as fear or grief. Yet, with a solid foundation of health, we will be better able to cope and function, perform and even thrive in this new "normal." This foundation is based on four key pillars: 1) nutrition; 2) sleep hygiene; 3) social support; and 4) physical activity. Think of these like the legs of a table--if even one of the legs is shorter than the others, or nonexistent altogether, then...

Mindfulness Monday – Part 3

Last Monday we helped you connect to your environment in a present-focused state. Today, we will go over benefits of writing down thoughts and feelings.

Adults have between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day. Although most are filtered out or do not become part of our conscious awareness, still many remain to which we attend to conduct our lives or to which we attach and cause us distress.

And, in this time of stress and challenge, with us having to navigate and get used to so...

Exercise Matters – For Your Body, Mind, and Spirit

For athletes, exercise (or physical training) is just part of their lives…although it differs a bit by sport, athletes eat, breathe, live their workouts. Not only does it prepare them to be their physical, technical, and strategic best when they compete, it also can give a general boost to their psychological well-being.

Listen to OnPoint from WBUR on "Staying Active at Home: The Psychological Benefits of Movement (...

Routines – They Work!

For athletes, routines are a key part of their success…whether that's in how they train/practice (what they do each day), how they fuel their bodies, or how they prepare themselves to compete. Their routines define what they will do each day, what's important to them…they provide direction and stability in their lives…and give meaning to the hard work and effort they put forth as they work toward their goals.

Routines are as important to you as they are to athletes, particularly...

What’s Under Your Control?

In sports, and in our work with athletes, we talk a lot about controllables vs. uncontrollable. We want athletes to learn how to pay attention to, and focus their energy on, the things over which they have some control (and can do something about). Great athletes understand that things like their focus/attention, their attitude, their effort, their mindset, how they practice, and their preperformance routines, to name a few, are under their control and thus they make sure that these are...

Mindfulness Monday – Part 2

In Friday's tip, we discussed how being outside is good for our mental health and we want you to do so in ways that are safe and socially responsible! Today, we are going to build off the idea of getting outside by integrating mindfulness into this activity. Here is simple mindfulness exercise that will help you feel more connected to your environment, helping you feel calmer and more present-focused.

When you are ready, go outside to a place where you can be safely distanced from...

Opt Outside

Yesterday, I was doing my weekly trip to the grocery story…physically distancing and being careful…when I overheard a woman talking to the cashier as she was checking out 'I have not been out of my house for two weeks now.' I thought…two weeks??? I knew right then I wanted to write about getting outside.

When REI introduced #OptOutside five years ago, I am sure they, like all of us, did not see COVID-19 in our future. And yet, that phrase applies even more now…if done carefully....

Houston G5 & Super 22 Invitational

Kelzie Beebe traveled with the UNT Track and Field team to the University of Houston for the Houston G5 & Super 22 Invitational. The men's and women's teams each finished in the Top 7 against very competitive fields. See more here: