The Gold Medal Profile for Sport Psychology

Natalie Durand-Bush et al. The Gold Medal Profile for Sport Psychology (GMP-SP). Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Published online  April, 2022

The Gold Medal Profile for Sport Psychology (GMP-SP) is a comprehensive, evidence-informed framework integrating mental performance competencies underpinning the athletic performances of Canadian athletes capable of stepping onto the Para/Olympic Podium. The GMP-SP was established to guide Mental Performance Consultants (MPCs) and National Sport Organizations (NSOs) in their design, delivery, tracking, and evaluation of mental skills programs in the Canadian high performance sport system. A Participatory Action Research approach involving a 2-year cyclical process of planning, action, reflection, and evaluation informed the collaborative work of six experienced Canadian MPCs (four men, two women). The group, whose lived experience was integral to the relevance and impact of the inquiry collectively had over 125 years of experience conducting research and consulting in high performance sport. A review of the scientific literature combined with the experts’ professional practice led to the creation of the GMP-SP, which includes 11 mental performance competencies grouped under three broad categories: (a) fundamental competencies (motivation, confidence, resilience), (b) self-regulation competencies (self-awareness, stress management, emotion, and arousal regulation, attentional control), and (c) interpersonal competencies (athlete-coach relationship, leadership, teamwork, communication). Mental health was also included as an overarching construct influencing the achievement of mental and athletic performance. The GMP-SP fulfills an important gap given the current lack of models, methods, and tools to guide the operationalization of mental performance systems in high performance sport that include both intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies.

Lay summary: The Gold Medal Profile for Sport Psychology (GMP-SP) is a framework integrating 11 mental performance competencies underpinning podium success in Canadian high performance sport, with attention to mental health. The GMP-SP is intended to guide practitioners and sport leaders in their sport psychology programming and resource allocation to support athletes in their quest for excellence.

  • Mental Performance Consultants (MPCs) can use the Gold Medal Profile for Sport Psychology (GMP-SP) for the assessment, periodization, and implementation of mental skills training programs in high performance sport.
  • The GMP-SP can be used to educate athletes, coaches, and staff about the importance of mental performance skills to achieve success in high performance sport. The GMP-SP uniquely highlights intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies and the interplay between mental performance and mental health.
  • The analogy of gold, silver, and bronze in the GMP-SP can help practitioners, scholars, and sport leaders to plan, test, and allocate adequate resources and funding for the development of mental competencies.

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