The research group Sport Psychology and Mental Support (SPMB), which is part of the Faculty of Sport Science and Physiotherapy, at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) focuses on sport and exercise psychology research. Its main research topics are related to (a) the career development of talented, elite, Olympic, dual career and retired elite athletes, (b) the provision of sport psychology support and the development of sport psychologists, and (c) the development of mental skills in young, talented and elite athletes.
Specific lines of research include:
- The development of the athletic career of female athletes;
- The significance of the athletic junior-senior transition;
- The dual career 'elite sport and study' and 'elite sport and employment' pathways of elite athletes;
- Competencies, barriers and study results of elite athletes engaging in a dual career 'elite sport and education' pathway;
- Competencies in the context of elite athletes' employment and employability during, as well as after their athletic career;
- The development and applied behavior analysis of elite athletes' mental skills;
- The optimalization of dual career support services for elite athletes;
- The development of performance behavior in talented athletes;
- Psychological support, mental support and guidance of talented and elite athletes;
- The development of the career of elite coaches;
- Doping behavior of elite athletes.
Furthermore, SPMB has conducted research and developed projects for the Flemish elite sports community (e.g., the development and provision of sport psychology support services to elite sport schools and elite sport federations; the development of career support services to [retired] athletes), for the Brussels-Capital Region and the European Union (e.g. the development and optimisation of dual career support services and tools), as well as for international elite sport organisations (e.g., IOC).
Chair: Professor Dr. Paul Wylleman