One on one... Dr Ray Bobrownicki
It’s probably not much of a surprise for those who know me; Back to the Future for the win here.
One moment that changed the course of my career
Ivy League track and field championships in 2006. It can be difficult for those that haven’t experienced US university sports to understand, but conference championships such as this can come with considerable pressure and expectations. I began to realise that it wasn’t just how well athletes prepared physically, technically, and tactically for these championships, but there was a psychological side that wasn’t getting as much attention. Consequently, I became fascinated by the mental factors that influence performance, which led to postgraduate study and a career in performance psychology.
One lesson learnt
When wearing a suit and tie, don’t assume you can move in the same way as you can in your normal clothes or sports kit. As a fairly athletic youngster, I could do backflips and jump over all sorts of things and, because of this, I tried to pull off a backflip at a high school dance while in the centre of a dance circle. The suit jacket, dress shirt, and trousers just didn’t allow me to hit my usual positions in the air though and it slowed my rotation. The landing wasn’t completely disastrous, but this is probably the first time in nearly 20 years I’m publicly acknowledging the incident…
One thing I couldn’t do without
If we are talking objects rather than people, I’m probably choosing my film cameras (of both still photography and motion picture varieties). I have a range of decades-old cameras that I use regularly for shooting photographs and movie footage. If I had to actually narrow it down to just one of those though, I’m not sure I could do it…
One thing psychologists could do better
As a Chartered Psychologist, athletics coach, and former athlete, I think there is an important relationship between scholarship and application. As part of this, I think it is critical for researchers in sport and performance psychology to consider how their research impacts and links to real-world practice and performance (e.g. answering questions that are meaningful to coaches and performers, using experimental and comparison groups that are representative of real-world sport, etc.). In some recent research, particularly relating to motor learning and control, I think these links have been tenuous. As Professor Dave Collins put it in his keynote presentation to the Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology in 2008, we need to ensure we are doing psychology for sport rather than through sport.
Those who know me would expect a song from the 1980s and I am not going to disappoint. I will go with Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears for listening. I do like to play Patrice Rushen’s Forget Me Nots terribly on my bass guitar though.
One alternative career path
I enjoy creative endeavours such as photography, movie making, drawing, and bass playing, but I (1) probably didn’t have the confidence to pursue some of these when I was much younger and/or (2) didn’t even know that I had an interest in some of these until I was older. Knowing what I know now, I would have certainly considered pursuing photography or film making, although I’m not sure I definitely would have chosen any of these as a profession in the end. One thing is for certain, if I had found some of these interests earlier, my travel photographs/videos from before 2013 would be much improved!
One proud moment
In 2014, my wife signed up to do the 20+ mile Kiltwalk from Glasgow to Balloch on the shores of Loch Lomond with a friend to raise money for charity. Just before the start of the walk though, her friend had to pull out and I couldn’t step in because of Commonwealth Games preparations. Undeterred, she still took on the challenge and completed the walk by herself, meeting new people along the way. I was proud and impressed when I was there to greet her at the finish.
One language I’d like to learn
I’ve been studying Japanese in between all of the other things that I do, but my listening and speaking skills require serious work. I can speak and read very basic Japanese, but would like to be able to progress to more advanced conversations at some point.
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