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Tour de France 2015: Did positive psychology play a role?

UEL students

A UEL lecturer believes that positive psychology may have helped Chris Froome capture his second Tour de France victory in a row.  Froome won the race despite being spat at and, at one point, being doused in urine.

In an interview for Sky News, James Beale, of the School of Health, Sport and Bioscience said he was impressed by Froome’s placid demeanour.  He said the Tour can be particularly challenging psychologically:

“In the Tour De France there is sometimes very poor behaviour by the spectators.  In most sports you don’t get to be as close to the athletes as you do on Le Tour.”

He gave credit to Team Sky for being among the first to bring sports psychology to the event.  He said this could be the reason why Froome was able to battle an unruly crowd and still turn in a world-class athletic performance:

“I don’t know how they worked with Chris Froome, but if I was working with Chris I would take a positive psychology approach; I would be getting him to examine the good things that are happening.”

He told Sky News that the ‘good things’ could include focusing on the aerodynamics of the bike.  The trick would be to get Chris Froome to ignore the negative events:

“The teammate being punched, urine being thrown, and generally getting a bad press, is something we would try to steer away from.  My job would be very much around keeping him focused on those good things, so he’s more driven, more willing, and more able to execute the skill on the day.”

Notes to Editors

The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.