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Background Information

Welcome to the background section of Power Up. Here you can read and prepare for delivering Power Up! Each section contains important information that needs to be understood to assist with delivering workshop sessions. Facilitators are encouraged to complete further reading on each area. Our team will be producing additional resources to complement the information below and updates will be made available via our blog. 

Psychological Skill Training


Cognitive Psychology


Positive Psychology


Theoretical Background

Below we present basic and summarised background information on the key theoretical frameworks utilised to inform the Power UP! program. This section will be expanded with additional links for further reading.

Psychological Skills Training

Psychological Skills Training (PST) focuses on the development of mental skills in the same way that we build on physical skills. PST skills include management of performance anxiety, imagery, goal setting, concentration, and self-talk (Williams, 2009).
Just like with physical skills, mastery of psychological skills is achieved through practice and systematic feedback for skill refinement, integrated into regular training, practice, competition and performance situations. PST programs are highly structured and usually consist of three training phases:

  • Education Phase;
  • Acquisition Phase, and
  • Practice Phase.

During the Education Phase, performers learn about the importance of psychological skills and how they influence performance. During this time performers become aware of the strategies they naturally use, tuning into their physical, psychological and emotional processes.This phase usually begins well before the performance date or competition period to allow the performer to embark on the process without any pressure.
The Acquisition Phase teaches specific strategies and techniques suited to the performer and the specific skill demands of the chosen pursuit. It is important to take into account practical issues such as the time frame before competition, the performer’s skill level, motivation, and the performer’s psychological strength’s and weaknesses.
In the Practice Phase, the performers then continue to develop their skills through repeated practice, simulations and actual performances. Throughout this period, the performer’s progress is recorded and periodically assessed to ensure that the most appropriate skills are utilised.

Like a physical skill, mastery builds slowly, becoming personalised to each performer.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is based on the theory that our ‘cognitions’ (thoughts, beliefs and interpretations) influence our emotional reactions and behaviours (Beck, 1964; Ellis, 1962).

Our thoughts or cognitions shape our perceptions and experiences of an event, and fundamentally, the meanings we attribute to them. An example of this can be seen in the different experiences that people often report having for the very same event or situation. For example, in a situation such as starting at a new school, a child who interprets the experience with thoughts such as “I wonder what kind of craft they have?” ” I can’t wait to play at lunchtime” may feel excited and joyfully go to school, whereas for another child who interprets the same situation with thoughts such as “my teacher will be mean”, “I will have no one to play with” may feel daunted and stressed and be reluctant to go to school.

Behaviours are the outcome of our cognitions and emotions. The behaviours we engage in following an event or situation can either reinforce or challenge how we interpret and feel about a situation, and consequently, the probability that we will engage in the same behaviour again. For example, if you are trying to learn a new and difficult skill with the thought “I can’t do this, it’s too hard” you are likely to give up and stop trying, or go back to a skill that you know you can do. Avoiding challenging situations will reinforce the thought “ I can’t do it”, because you have no evidence to suggest otherwise.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy works on managing both cognitions and behaviours to successfully move towards consistent and reliable performance. Challenges and new experiences are a constant, however, well developed CBT skills can help challenges become opportunities and new experiences become anticipated with confidence.

Positive Psychology

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy was developed to assist individuals suffering from mental illness such as depression and anxiety.

Recent trends have however moved away from utilising CBT to purely remediate negative psychological symptomatology  to using it to also enhance an individual’s everyday life experience. The Positive Psychology movement, initially mentioned by Maslow in 1954 and developed into its present form through the work of prominent American psychologist Martin Seligman (1991, 1993,1996, 2002, 2011), grew out of a desire to give individuals an opportunity to develop themselves to achieve greater fulfilment and happiness in life.

Positive psychology emphasises the importance of positive emotions, such as joy, optimism, and contentment. It aims to build certain mind-sets and actions that foster play, exploration and creativity and promote openness to new ideas and experiences. Positive Psychology draws upon an individual’s innate core strengths, such as their wisdom and knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence to improve their level of functioning and well-being (Kobau, et al., 2011; Mongrain & Anselmo-Matthews, 2012). These strengths are particularly important to draw upon when building and enhancing and individual’s skills and knowledge to support their ability to cope in times of stress and turmoil.

Positive Psychology is an important contributor to Performance Psychology as it emphasises that we do not engage in psychological skills training to remediate a deficit, but rather train our whole bodies and minds to achieve the best outcome.

Useful Resources

Below you will have access to links for useful resources that will assist you during your workshops and presentations. Please remember that this material is copyright of The Quirky Kid Clinic and should not be distributed to participants without prior consent from us. Also, please make sure you come back to this section regularly as we will keep updating the list of documents based on feedback or program updates.

Available presentations:

This presentation can be used to introduce the program for an audience like schools or parents.

Key Note (MAC) – Soon.
PowerUp – Small Version PPT (no animation)
Power Point file 

These are no longer available or necessary as animations were placed on the facilitators sub-topic areas.

Use this presentation to demonstrate the day to day demands of high achiever boys. Please keep in mind that this information used Australian research and may need to be used carefully in other areas. A presentation for girls in currently under production.

– Key Note (MAC), preferred and animated
– PDF, (no animation)
– Power Point file (soon)

Recent News

Four children encouraging running child by Quirky Kid

Sports Psychology Tips to Stop Negative Self-Talk

By Facilitators, Participate, Self-TalkNo Comments

This post was initially posted on

When it comes to improving performance. building self-esteem, good sportsmanship, and camaraderie, one of the most important aspects of sports psychology is positive self-talk. Research suggests that positive self-talk is associated with better performance. In fact, the Australian Sports Commission has carried out research that demonstrates the detrimental impact negative self-talk has on performance and having a positive attitude when it comes to athletic endeavours improves performance.

Young people, in particular, can benefit from learning more about positive self-talk. Improvements in their inner dialogue can improve both their attitude and performance and can have a positive influence on their interactions outside the sporting sphere. Quirky Kid has developed a program designed at young people aged 10 to 16, called Power Up. 

A common presentation for our young athletes is an inner dialogue that is dominated with doubt and negativity. Common expressions we hear from our young athletes are

“I’ll never be able to do it!”,
“I am no good at it,”
“there is no point trying.”

This type of negative self-talk can prevent a young athlete from performing well and create a negative cycle of poor self-esteem and poor performance. If a child feels they can’t be successful at a task, they often accept, and even expect failure. Negativity can turn a child’s insecurities into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The good news is that positive self-talk is a skill that children can learn and utilise with practice. By using positive self-talk, young athletes can build the confidence they require to accept new challenges, maintain a healthy self-esteem, and build on new skills, even when the task is personally challenging. The first task in helping children challenge and change their self-talk is to support them in recognising negative self-talk patterns and identifying unhelpful language such as “can’t” or “never” in their internal dialogue. Some children put themselves down by referring to themselves as “stupid” or by using other put-downs. Once a child has identified negative self-talk, they can be assisted in challenging and replacing those thoughts.

Like many habits, the process of replacing negative self-talk can take some time. Children need to learn to interrupt patterns of self-doubt with more realistic and helpful thinking. For example, a young soccer player who tells herself, “I’ll never score this goal,” can replace this thought with a more helpful and realistic thought such as  “I’ve made the goal many times during practice and I can do it again!”. Just saying happy things is not enough, children must believe the positive thought and thus the key is to replace negative thoughts with thoughts that reflect reality and that are helpful.

One way to practise positive thinking is through practising self-talk out loud each morning in front of the mirror. Write a daily affirmation on a Post-It note and stick it on the child’s mirror so they can start each day in a positive frame of mind. Ask them to say the affirmation out loud in the morning, and to remind themselves of it whenever they’re thinking negatively throughout the day.

Interrupting and replacing negative self-talk can be a challenging task for children who suffer from low self-esteem, but with practise, young athletes can learn to accept challenging situations without putting themselves down and can and learn to feel good about both their strengths and weaknesses.

If you’re interested in learning more about how sports psychology can help children develop their self-esteem and athletic skills, and be positive teammates, please contact us.

Support network:


Austin, M (2016). Listening to the voices in your head: identifying and adapting athletes’ self-talk. Volume 28 Number 4

Bunker, L, Williams, JM and Zinsser, N 1993, ‘Cognitive techniques for improving performance and self-confidence’, in JM Williams (ed.), Applied sport psychology: personal growth to peak performance, Mayfield, Mountain View, CA.

Carlson, R 1997, Don’t sweat the small stuff, Bantam, Milson’s Point, NSW.

Carlson, R 2005, Easier than you think, HarperCollins, New York, NY.

Hardy, L, Jones, G and Gould, D 1998, Understanding psychological preparation for sport: theory and practice of elite performers, John Wiley and Sons, West Sussex, UK.

Buy Power Up:

Power Up Online: what facilitators need to know.

By FacilitatorsNo Comments

As you all probably know, we recently launched the online version of the Power Up! program. If you have note yet seen it, you can read the blog post at the Quirky Kid website. In this article however, we will explain the online version of the program to our facilitators.

What is the online version?

The online version is a rich multimedia addition to the workbook. This version is delivered via a website that is organised in sections just as the workbook and program content are. Each section includes  animated videos with instructions and key concepts of performance psychology explained.  The videos speaks directly with the participant and guides them to complete each section of the workbook.

Below you can see some screen shots of the tutorial videos:

Each time a participant purchases a workbook they also receive access to the online content via a username and password. This also includes the participants attending the workshops you offer privately. This makes the offer much more attractive. Access is for 6 months only.

One key aspect of this version is that it is constantly evolving as more content and animations are added regularly.

How do Facilitator access the online version?

Currently facilitators do not have access to the online content offered to participants.  This is soon to change and you will find a new option in the menu bar when you log it, called: Learn.

Only facilitators that have completed the training and accreditation will have access.

[Update] We have now included most of the videos and tutorials directly to the Lesson Plan sections for facilitators. There are still a couple missing and we are just finalising the edition process.

The material can be used to ‘polish off’ key concepts participants are expected to obtain, as well as during your workshops as a learning resource. We encourage you to use this as a complementary exercise to assist with generalisation between workshop or class sessions.

Can we offer this version to our clients?

The good news is yes. This version of the program can be offered without the need of a facilitator or a workshop.

It is an ‘off the shelf’ product. We are calling this sale model ‘affiliation’. An affiliate is a person that is not an accredited facilitator: eg can’t offer classes, workshops or courses’ but sells the online program. For each sale, Quirky Kid pays a commission of 20%.

Facilitators will also receive the status of an affiliate automatically. So you too can offer the online program as a product OR as the workshop. There are a range of ways to ensure we know you referred or sold the item (so you can claim your commission) and we will write a post just about that. The best way to start, however, is to use the marketing material we offer, display some items in your office and offer it in your office or on your website.

What is the benefits for us?

Some of the benefits are stated above like the 20% commission on sales. However we believe there are many more, like:

  • Increase credibility for the program;
  • Provision of reach learning resources that will support your brand and service
  • Added value for workshop sessions and offerings
  • Easy to access learning material for use during sessions
  • What are the other values you see?

How does this impact on the workshops we offer?

We think it makes them better. This is a win situation for us, for you as a facilitator and for the clients accessing the program. Our experience demonstrates that the online program is bringing more conversion for the workshops.