Emma's EPQ: an insight into sports psychology

Emma's EPQ: an insight into sports psychology

We recently interviewed Sixth Former Emma W. about her experience completing an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). Her EPQ is entitled ‘Analysis of how psychological factors influence performance in sport’.


Why did you choose this topic for your EPQ?

Though I am an avid sports lover, I have never previously had the opportunity to formally study sport - so I thought doing an EPQ on the topic of sport would be perfect. I have only recently been particularly interested in sports psychology which was sparked after suffering a long-term injury. I thought that doing an extended project on this topic would not only be interesting but also help me out as an athlete.


What makes your EPQ unique and different?

My primary research was done on a very specific group of people who are all involved in high level sport. Though it is hard to generalise my findings, I think this shows unique insight into elite athletes and their psychology.


What skills have you developed doing the EPQ?

I have always lacked confidence in my writing. Being the longest piece of work I had ever done, I have definitely developed a writing style that is a skill I have used in essays for my A Level subjects since. Apart from that, I think the most useful skill was the ability to complete a task that was over such a long time period whilst being able to keep it focused with as little waffle as possible!


How could your research, or the skills you have developed during the EPQ, be useful to you later in your life (eg. at university)? Has the EPQ helped to prepare you for university life?

My EPQ has been completely independent and this is something I think will help me in the progression to university. I have had to time manage every step and make sure I gave necessary time to finish the whole project. This will become a handy skill when given the increased amount of independent study during university life.


Tell me a few interesting facts you’ve learned during your research.

When looking into superstitions and how they affected performance in sport, I found that tennis superstar Serena Williams is convinced that changing her socks during a tournament will give her bad luck, so will insist on wearing the same pair repeatedly over the competition period. While researching about home advantages I found that professional golf and tennis players are the only two individual sports where a home advantage has not been found and it is not statistically more likely for the home players to win.