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Jennifer Lace

sport psychology practitioner at burnley fc academy


Studied Sport Psychology at under graduate and post graduate level, been 6 seasons at Burnley FC. Current responsibilities at BFC are predominately working alongside Head of Coaching on Coach Competency framework developing individual development plans for coaches with an aim towards influencing a high performance environment to facilitate optimal learning , engagement and performance.  Also teaches on the Football Coaching and Management degree at UCFB where she is module leader for Managing Teams and Individuals. Just finished BASEs SE and working towards BPS! Won Norther Power Woman 2016 and holds a world record for being part of the first all female crew to Sail across the Atlantic from Tenerife to Bermuda!

Interview Questions

1. What book(s) have greatly influenced your life?

Influencing with integrity – Laborde
Consiglieri: Leading from the Shadows – Richard Hytner
Peak performance – Clive Gilson, Ed Weymes, Kevin Roberts, Michael Pratt

2. How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?

My favourite failure is I got told not to go back into my psychology A level class because I was too talkative and that I was a distraction. I was told that because some of the others never had the discipline to do the work at home like I did, it wasn’t fair for me to be in the class. So therefore I was asked not to go back to my psychology A level class.

It has set me up because It helped me with a lot of self awareness that I can work hard to apply myself and still get the grades or to where I want to be. It made me realize about myself that when it comes to achieving I can be quite single minded. This has helped me when meeting really influential people and credible people in the industry that no matter what, I always have to learn from them. There has been times I have been really intimidated by how knowledgeable or reputable a person is but I recognize that I want them to know who I am so I can hold conversations with them and extract their knowledge. I am very aware now in a group setting I can become distracted, yet on my own is when I am most powerful. It is a funny thing to say because my roles involve working with and facilitating people. But I believe no matter what industry, the most higher performing people are the most self-aware.

3. In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?

I strongly believe you have to find what makes you perform optimally and then be disciplined enough to do it every day. Therefore, everyday (injury permitting) I go for a run. This sets me up mentally and physically for the demanding long day ahead.

A belief I have also developed is that ‘everybody is human’. I got my opportunity to work in professional football when I was really young. At the time I started working in professional football I was only 20 and working with what were then the u21s, so the players I was working with were either my age or older. Since then I have worked closely and influenced people who have been in the game longer than I have even been born. I have found myself at conferences, meetings and coffees having to either influence or hold conversations with people of such reputations that I have almost doubted my ability or questioned if I even had the right to speak to them based on how much younger I am or how little I feel I have achieved compared to them. However, I have flipped this perception of who they are and what they have to done to ‘’if I met this person in the street unknowning who they were or what they have done I’d hold a conversation and ask every question’’. This has led to my confidence increasing and me being able to comfortably chat with some of the most experienced high performing individuals from all different industries

4. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring young coach, What would that advice be?

Find out who the influencers in the field are and go extract as much knowledge as you can!

5. Who, in your life, has inspired you most? (and why)

In my whole life- my dad. He is rational, logical, clinical in his execution of things and successful.

If we are taking inspiration as meaning making you want to do something I have to say my biggest professional inspiration is Ian Mitchell. I think he knows this as well by now because I am always stalking him! Haha! There was an article published about him a couple of years ago about his work with Swansea and the Welsh National Team and his work with coaches and it made me want to know everything he knows about the game and embedding psychology.

Dr Pete Vint aswel – He inspires me. When I finally got some time with him he was as inspirational as a person as his professional principles and knowledge!

6. How would you best define a coach?

Somebody who encourages people towards being better in their field.

7. What do you do for your own CPD?

Believe it or not I don’t often talk to other sport psychologists. I’m aware of what sport psychologists I can talk to and when, but I am more about learning from other coaches on what they want from a sport psychologist to see if I’m missing anything with the coaches I work with, or other sport scientist from different sports to see if I’m missing anything I can be providing to our coaches. I do think that we can get blinded in our own environment just because we are in there day to day so it is vital for me to keep connections with high performing people in other industries. I value academic qualifications and completing a Doctorate is very important to me but I believe it is important to think about what skill it is exactly you want to get better at and then go and seek the greatest in the field for that. So for example, this year I have decided that I would like to improve my line of questioning and become better at creating intellectual curiosity so I will hopefully be spending some time with some of the top detectives to learn how they interview criminals towards confessions.