ALISON QUINLAN

MSc. Kinesiology – Sport Psychology
CSPA – Mental Performance Consultant

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

— Henry David Thoreau

BIOGRAPHY

My name is Alison and I am a mental performance consultant, an avid athlete, and fitness enthusiast! I grew up competing in multiple sports until eventually finding golf at university and became hooked. I competed at UVic for four years and we won the Canadian National Championships in my final year. A memory and journey I will never forget! I continued on to pursue golf after I graduated and loved the daily grind of training for a sport I was so passionate about. I also became increasingly fascinated with the mental side of the sport and how what I was thinking about and what I was doing mentally in my preparation influenced my performance. I became fascinated with how some girls on the tour may not have had the best golf swings but if they had a strong mental game they would consistently perform well. On the other side, some girls with flawless swings didn’t perform to their potential due to weak mental games. After attending Qualifying School, which is a gruelling tournament to earn a spot on a professional tour, I really saw just how important a strong mental game is. That is when I decided I wanted to learn as much about this area as I could!
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Onto the next chapter in my life! I decided to go back to university and obtain a master’s in sport psychology. Here I was able to immerse myself in all of the research on this topic and study elite athletes to understand what they were doing for their mental preparation. My thesis focused on Canadian Olympic athletes who competed in London in 2012. I had the amazing opportunity to speak with multiple athletes and learn about how they used the mental game to help them reach their goals and understand what role mental training played in their lives and sport.
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All of these experiences have shaped my approach to mental training. I believe mental training is like strength training; it takes time, hard work and discipline. You wouldn’t lift weights the day before a competition and expect yourself to be stronger and I believe mental training is no different! It is a continual process of always improving with the goal of trying to be a little bit better every day. You can improve your mental toughness. You can become better at working with your nerves to achieve optimal performance. You can become more resilient in your sport! But it is not a ‘quick fix’ and takes hard work just like anything else!I believe it is important to practice what I preach so I am constantly incorporating mental strategies into my own athletic goals and other areas of my life. Please see my blogs for examples of mental training tools and programs I have implemented on myself! These strategies not only have helped me immensely as a competitive athlete, but I use them in all other areas of my life from preparing for large public presentations, to becoming mentally ready to compete in fitness competitions.

CURRENT WORK

  • Mental Performance Consultant for the University of Victoria Men’s and Women’s Golf Team
  • Mental Performance Consultant for the Reynolds Center for Excellence Soccer Academy
  • Mental Performance Consultant for Special Olympics BC
  • Mental Performance Consultant for Special Olympics Canada (under SOBC)
  • Mental Performance Consultant for individual athletes in multiple sports

MEMBERSHIPS AND PRESENTATIONS

  • Professional member of the CSPA (Canadian Sport Psychology Association)
  • Member of NASPSPA (North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity)
  • Presented at the Society of Behavioural Medicine Conference held on March 20th-23rd on predictors of physical activity change
  • Presented at the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity conference on June 13th-16th on Canadian university coaches’ attitudes towards sport psychology
    • Presented at the Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology (SCAPPS) conference on October 16th – 19th on “Mental training through a narrative lens as perceived by 2012 Paralympic athletes”
    • Presented at the Association for Applied Sport Psychology in Las Vegas on October 15th-18th, 2014 on mental training among Canadian Olympic athletes who competed in London in 2012

PUBLICATIONS

    • Rhodes, R.E. & Quinlan, A., (in-press). Physical Activity Messaging for Action Control. In B. Jackson, J. Dimmock, & J. Compton (Eds). Persuasion and Communication in Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity. Routledge Press.
    • Rhodes, R.E., Quinlan, A., and Mistry, C., (2016). Do Other Goals Influence Physical Activity? A Systematic Review Examining the Relationship between Other Goals and Physical Activity Behaviour. Preventive Medicine. 91, 306-317.
    • Rhodes, R.E., Kaushal, N., & Quinlan, A., (2016). Is Physical Activity a Part of Who I Am? A Review and Meta-Analysis of Identity, Schema and Physical Activity. Health Psychology Review. 10(2), 204-225.
    • Quinlan, A., Rhodes, R.E., Naylor, Blanchard, C., Naylor, P.J., Warburton, D.E.R., (2015). Family Planning to Promote Physical Activity: A Randomized Controlled Trial Protocol. BMC Public Health. 15:1011. 1-9.
    • Rhodes, R.E., and Quinlan, A. (2015). Predictors of Physical Activity Change among Adults using Observational Designs: A Systematic Review. Sports Medicine. 45(3), 423-441.
    • Rhodes, R.E. & Quinlan, A. (2014). The Family as a context for physical activity promotion. In Beauchamp, M.R., & Eys, M.A. (Eds). Group Dynamics in Exercise and Sport Psychology (2nd edition). London/New York: Routledge/Psychology Press.