Psychologist shuns couch for table

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A 33-YEAR-OLD former salesman swapped careers to follow his passion and is now hoping to cater for a market inspired by next year’s London Olympics.

Up until 2003 Stuart Leonard from Edgcott worked for a manufacturer in Bicester. But when the firm relocated he took the chance to find an earning in his passion for fitness.

After qualifying as a trainer and sports massage therapist he spent the next eight years helping sportsmen perform at their best and is now a qualified sports psychology consultant.

In the lead up to 2003, the former Waddesdon School boy, said there were countless times when he caught himself staring out of his office window dreaming of a career in sports.

He said: “I’ve always been into sports and fitness and I really wanted to do something I enjoyed. So I qualified as a personal trainer in 2003 and some of the psychological problems I saw people have with exercise and sport prompted me to get into sports psychology.”

Mr Leonard thinks with the London Olympics looming, and record levels of obesity the time is right to get a foot hold in a new market and added: “I think the psychology side of sport is to going to growing gradually in the next ten years. Also I think it has suffered from a misunderstanding, that you only see a psychologist through a clinical need. That’s really not the case and perceptions are slowly changing. What it does is assist in building confidence and motivation and helps coaches find the best way to coach their players.”

After revamping the massage treatment room at his home in Edgcott he discovered a useful relationship between the relaxing atmosphere of a sports massage and the exploration of a sportsman’s psychology.

He added: “I’m finding people a lot more relaxed and open on the table about how they feel and we often start talking about an aspects of their performance.”

Sports psychology can assist in goal setting, motivation, leadership, relationships and counselling.

As a player Mr Leonard has also helped give Marsh Gibbon Cricket Club the winning edge they have needed to fight for promotion into division one of the Oxford Cricket Association League.

For more information or to contact Mr Leonard phone 07717 235595