Healthy Mind

Performance Mindset

Sport psychologists are trained in areas that include the mental and emotional knowledge necessary in helping athletes consistently perform at their best and enjoy their sport. They also help improve the athletic environment to aid in better development (e.g., increase feelings of confidence), consistent execution (e.g., better decision-making), and positive experiences in athletes. As professional athletes, jockeys face a variety of unique mental challenges associated with performing at an elite level.

We can now offer this service completely free of charge through our Performance Consultant and trainee Sports Psychologist Aodhagán Conlon.

As a former jockey, Aodhagán fully understands the unique pressures of horse-racing. Whilst qualifying with a degree in psychology and a masters in sport and exercise psychology, Aodhagán’s areas of research have looked at athlete burnout and the athletic identity, giving him a thorough understanding of the physical, emotional, and psychological demands of elite sport. In addition, Aodhagán’s current PhD research looks at the effect of using breathing techniques, which can further benefit elite athletes in terms of dealing with stress, improving psychological performance, and aiding physical recovery.

Aodhagán has helped our members to cope with numerous aspects of being a jockey such as bad runs of form and returning from injury, as well as enhancing individual self-confidence and decision-making. Aodhagán has assisted a number of PJA members, particularly young jockeys, either through face to face meetings or over the phone/online sessions. Additionally, he has also helped numerous jockey coaches to enhance their own delivery and service.

He can be contacted every weekday until 7pm on 07815016900, at aodhaganconlon@gmail.com, or through the PJA office.

Aodhagán is currently on Stage 2 training with the British Psychological Society to become a chartered sports psychologist, which involves comprehensive supervision and peer assessment. Aodhagán has produced a variety of useful resources for jockeys which can be found below.

Key resources

Mental Health Series Episode 4: Anxiety

Mental Health Series Episode 3: Depression

Mental Health Series Episode 2: Mental Health

Mental Health Series Episode 1: Wellbeing

Jockey Matters: Resilience

Jockey Matters: Resilience Top Tips