02 January 2013
A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student has used his sports psychology knowledge to help him land a place in the Welsh national curling team.
Final year sports psychology student Rhys Phillips has returned home after representing Wales in the Men’s Curling European Championships 2012 in Sweden from the 8-15 December. The 20-year-old from Flintshire in North Wales has played the sport for nine years and was called up to the senior squad to represent his country in the competition.
Rhys and his four team mates spent ten days in Karlstad in category B of the Championships which was eventually won by Finland. It is the first time that he has made the step up from the youth to the senior team as they develop the next generation of players.
“Curling is a tactical game so visualisation techniques and knowing how to cope under pressure are really important in a competition."
Rhys attributes some of his success to studying a sports psychology degree course that teaches not only the theory but the application of knowledge. He has actively engaged in shot visualisation and employed imagery techniques to cope with competitive pressures and improve his game.
He said: “Curling is a tactical game so visualisation techniques and knowing how to cope under pressure are really important in a competition. We play in a stressful environment; controlling my thoughts and emotions helps me to cope with the intensity of the situation.
“It’s a dream come true to be selected for the senior curling team. My dad first introduced me to the sport nine years ago and ever since I was selected for the junior team I knew I had it in me to represent Wales as a senior player. I now want to build on my experience in Sweden and hopefully take part in other international competitions.”
Rhys trains weekly with the national squad and when he isn’t studying at UCLan, also plays for his local team Alyn Valley 73. After graduation Rhys wants to study for a Masters in sports psychology and apply his skills to curling, rugby or football.
Image of Rhys Phillips copyright Ana Arce.