Renowned sports psychologist captains new centre

Issued by North West University
North-West, Oct 7, 2019

The North-West University's (NWU's) Faculty of Health Sciences is taking its level of expertise to an even higher level with the recent appointment of its first director for the newly established NWU Centre for Health and Human Performance (CHHP).

Prof Pieter Kruger, a well-known sports psychologist in the global sports arena, will captain this centre, and - according to his colleagues - he is just the right man to supercharge this facility.

According to Prof Kruger, the CHHP's aim is to combine the expertise and experience of the NWU's Institute of Psychology and Wellbeing, the Institute for Sport Science and Development and the Institute for Biokinetics to allow the services and the teaching, learning, training and research opportunities to be fully utilised.

"It is a well-known fact that the NWU has delivered world-class international athletes," he says.

"Due to the NWU's state-of-the-art facilities and highly specialised researchers and staff, more than 1 000 athletes from all over the world choose the NWU for their pre-season training and preparation every year. This centre will create synergy between all the professionals in the three currently existing institutes.

"Part of the NWU's Strategic Plan 2015-2025 is about empowering people through quality education, world-class research and the meaningful implementation of expertise. We are committed to employing strategies and processes that will be aimed at achieving a sustainable competitive advantage that is intelligence-informed and cutting edge in design and implementation, while being leadership-driven and collectively owned," Prof Kruger adds.

Prof Kruger, who holds a PhD in clinical/performance psychology, has worked with a range of South African, Australian, Irish and English club, national and international sports teams since 2004. More recently, he was the performance psychologist for the South African Springbok Rugby team (Rugby World Cup Bronze medal winners) in 2015, the Sharks Super Rugby team (2017 to 2018), and the Sharks as the Currie Cup Champions (2018).

He supported the South African Springbok Sevens Rugby team, which won back-to-back World Series titles in 2017 and 2018, as performance psychologist. He is also currently the performance consultant for Munster Rugby in Ireland, which is competing in the European Champions Cup and in the Pro14 competition.

As a director at Cognacity UK (London), Prof Kruger has plied his trade in corporate and business environments since 2006. He has a special interest in the design and implementation of high-performance strategies and products to optimise well-being and performance in high-pressure multinational businesses, and has worked with clients in more than 19 countries over the past 15 years - from the UK, Europe, USA and Canada, to Australia, China, India and Russia.

Clinically, Prof Kruger specialises in the range of mood and anxiety disorders and has worked in various hospital and private-clinic settings during his career. He has worked with individuals in English Premier Football, county cricket and Premiership Rugby on performance and clinical aspects. As a LOCOG specialist psychologist for the London 2012 Olympic Games, he has worked with individuals from the GB Track and Field team, and with the GB Rowing team.

He is currently an associate professor in clinical psychology at the NWU's Institute of Psychology and Wellbeing, and is a visiting professor at the Institute for Sport Exercise and Health of the University College London Medical School.

"In line with this strategic focus, the CHHP's main aim will be to become the most respected and influential service delivery centre of its kind in the country through the implementation of expertise. It will be able to offer the best training placements for interns, have expert staff who can teach in post-graduate training courses and also conduct meaningful and relevant applied research," Prof Kruger says.

The CHHP will be able to render comprehensive, quality, evidence-based services in the field of physical health, mental health and human performance. These services will be applicable and make a meaningful difference to businesses, elite and other sports teams, the general public, staff and students at the NWU, and to the students and interns at the CHHP.

The CHHP's key focus areas include:

* Service delivery in the health and human performance domains; * Training and supervision of post-graduates and interns (psychology and biokinetics); * Academic training of undergraduate and post-graduate students; and* Active research and supervision of applied research students.

"Understanding people is a highly specialised job, especially in the fields of physical health, mental health, business and sports performance. With the academic credibility and backing of the NWU and our strategic partnerships with national and international organisations, combined with our business acumen and quality services, we are in a unique position to become the preferred institution for any health and human performance services on a national level," Prof Kruger concludes.

The NWU Centre for Health and Human Performance can be contacted on:

E-mail: [email protected] Phone: 018 299 1737 Web