Two GCU DPsych Sport and Exercise Psychology students have been selected to work with Cricket Scotland’s boys’ and girls’ performance pathways to provide sports psychology support to the young cricketers starting out on their sporting careers.
GCU and Cricket Scotland have been working together on community engagement activities in Glasgow for a number of years, building a strong relationship between the two organisations.
This partnership has now grown to include psychological support for Cricket Scotland’s boys under 19 squad as they try and gain qualification for the ICC Under 19 World Cup due to take place in the West Indies in 2022.
The Department of Psychology worked with Cricket Scotland to design a placement opportunity for students on the DPsych Sport and Exercise Psychology programme. Cricket Scotland implemented a robust recruitment process where students had to formally apply for the placement, and then take part in formal interviews for selection to the role.
The first successful student, Sahen Gupta, a trainee psychologist on GCU’s DPsych programme, began his role in September 2020 and has had the opportunity to apply his psychological skills and knowledge within a high-performance setting.
Just five teams out of 34 will qualify for the World Cup, meaning that the process will challenge the players both physically and mentally. If the squad are successful in qualifying for the World Cup then Sahen’s placement may be extended as he supports the team at this prestigious event.
Sahen said: “My goal is to balance mental health and high-performance psychology in our work together. As a trainee sports psychologist with experience in elite sport and as someone who has played, watched, and generally grown up with cricket in India, I look forward to blending both my passion and knowledge of sports psychology and cricket, for a successful World Cup qualification and tournament campaign as a team.”
The success of the partnership has now led to another GCU DPsych student, Sanika Divekar, gaining a placement to work with the athletes on Cricket Scotland’s Girls’ Pathway.
Sanika said: “When I met with GCU to talk about a placement they asked if I had a sport preference and I said that coming from India, which is a cricket-loving country and having grown up surrounded by cricket, that’s what I’d like to do.
“When I met with Cricket Scotland and they explained how the pathway is structured, it’s very similar to what we have in India and that resonated with me. I really enjoy working with young people because I started playing sport at a very young age I understand what they are feeling. Sports Psychology doesn’t just look at performance enhancement, it also looks at overall wellbeing which is so important with this age group as you try to develop integral life skills like time leadership alongside athletic performance.”
Gordon Drummond, Cricket Scotland’s Head of Performance Pathway, explained the benefits of the partnership for the athletes that he works with: “Cricket Scotland is excited about this new addition to the partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University, which will be hugely beneficial to both parties.
“Sports psychology is an essential aspect of performance sport, and we feel this course at GCU attracts the right people for the development of these skills in our athletes. We hope that this partnership will continue to develop our pathway athletes’ understanding of how they can get the best of themselves on and off the park.
“I have been hugely impressed with both Sahen and Sanika, their vast sport psychology knowledge and enthusiasm for developing our young athletes. We are looking forward to seeing the impact they can make on the groups.”
Placement Co-ordinator Dr Bryan McCann, GCU Sport and Exercise Psychologist and Psychology Lecturer, said: “As our programme has developed, our students have undertaken a range of exciting placements. The course’s excellent reputation, and the quality of the work that students deliver on placement, mean that more sport and exercise organisations are seeking our students to complete placements with them.
“The partnership we have created with Cricket Scotland demonstrates the benefits of us working together with organisations to provide a win-win opportunity. The organisation is able to gain eager and highly skilled students to complete meaningful placement activities.
“The students gain work experience and develop their employability skills by submitting applications and participating in interviews. The University gains a strong partnership which will attract more students and organisations to the programme.
“We are very proud that Sahen impressed the panel and secured this placement last year, and that Sanika has joined him on the team at Cricket Scotland and we look forward to seeing this partnership and others growing from strength to strength in the future.”
Qualifying for the ICC Under 19 World Cup begins in August with Scotland hosting the European qualification pool which includes Denmark, Guernsey, Ireland, Jersey and the Netherlands.