Introducing - The sports psychologist tasked with helping Sheffield Wednesday’s mentality
Darren Moore said that he felt that bringing in a sports psychologist was the right thing to do for Sheffield Wednesday – so he went and did just that…
Tom Bates isn’t just a sports psychologist though. He’s got a UEFA A licence, has coached 10 elite professional sports, and has 14 years of experience in performance psychology – despite being in his mid-30s.
The reason for his arrival is down to a few elements of the Owls’ game that they need to break down barriers on, with the team having battled to come from behind in games for some time now, as well as the continued lapses of concentration that have cost them more than 10 points so far this season.
Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Sunderland could be a big moment for the side after a difficult few weeks, with the side not only managing to hold on to a lead but also extend it.
Bates has worked with Olympians as they seek to ‘maximise performance under pressure’, and in football circles has got recommendations from the likes of Jack Butland and Steven Reid, whilst also working very closely with Rangers forward, Kemar Roofe.
He’s worked with Cambridge United, Charlton Athletic, the FA, AFC Bournemouth, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Brentford and - most recently - Aston Villa, with his job at Villa being described as Head of Performance Psychology & Culture following. He started there after their relegation from the Premier League in 2016.
Moore will be hoping that Bates can help with the ‘lapses of concentration’ that see the Owls outside of the Play-Off places rather than directly pushing for promotion, and he’ll also be hoping to try and help them in their attempts to end their unwanted run of failing to win games in which they fall behind.
This season, since Bates has come in, Wednesday have already won more points from losing positions (2) than the whole of last season, but you have to go back to 2019 to find their last come-from-behind win, and 2016 for the last time they won away from home after going behind.
It’s no easy task for Bates, but his arrival – and recognition of the need for it – could prove to be pivotal for Moore’s men.