School of Health & Wellbeing
01752 636700 (Ext. 5001)
BSc (Hons) Psychology (University of York)
MSc Sport Psychology (Liverpool John Moores University)
PhD Sport Psychology (University of Kent)
Alister teaches psychology and its applications. He enjoys teaching students how psychology can be applied to sport, exercise, health, and counselling contexts to achieve valuable outcomes relating to performance, health, and wellbeing. Alister also enjoys teaching research methods, as they underpin the knowledge base within our profession.
My research focuses on two main interests.
First, how can psychology be applied to improve the performances of endurance athletes, such as competitive runners, cyclists, and triathletes? As an example, the first piece of research that I published from my PhD was a literature review of the published research that has examined the effects of psychological interventions on endurance performance. In this review, we found considerable support that learning psychological skills such as goal setting, imagery, and self-talk can improve the performances of endurance athletes. We also found that external motivators, such as head-to-head competition and verbal encouragement, which can be applied practically by coaches, can have substantial benefits on performance. In addition, we found that some psychological factors can have a detrimental effect on performance. In particular, engaging in prolonged and demanding tasks can cause mental fatigue, which leads to endurance exercise feeling even more strenuous.
Second, how can psychology be applied to support people who are new to running and other forms of endurance exercise? Running, cycling, and swimming are healthy activities, but people can find it hard to maintain these forms of exercise when they first take them up. I am currently studying how people become committed to running, in order to identify ways of supporting new runners.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
Gibbs-Nicholls, S., McCormick, A., & Coyle, M. (2022). “Keep the pace! You’ve got this!”: The content and meaning of impactful crowd encouragement at mass running events. The Sport Psychologist, 36, 115-127. https://doi.org/10.1123/tsp.2021-0082
Ingram, G., McCormick, A., & Gibson, K. (2021). Parents’ experiences of starting and maintaining exercise: A qualitative systematic review. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 57, 102058. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2021.102058
Meijen, C., McCormick, A., Anstiss, P. A., & Marcora, S. M. (2021). ‘Short and sweet’: A randomized controlled initial investigation of brief online psychological interventions with endurance athletes. The Sport Psychologist. https://doi.org/10.1123/tsp.2020-0088
McCormick, A., Anstiss, P. A., & Lavallee, D. (2020). Endurance athletes’ current and preferred ways of getting psychological guidance. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 18, 187-200. https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2018.1486874
Aldous-Granby, J., & McCormick, A. (2020). Effects of clothing perception on psychological factors and tactical intentions in fencing. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 18, 380-390. https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2018.1519840
Eubank, M., Holder, T., Lowry, R., Manley, A., Maynard, I., McCormick, A., Smith, J., Thelwell, R., Woodman, T., & Lafferty, M. (2019). All roads lead to Rome but Rome wasn’t built in a day: Advice on QSEP navigation from the ‘Roman Gods’ of assessment! Sport & Exercise Psychology Review, 15(2), 21-31.
Nicolò, A., Sacchetti, M., Girardi, M., McCormick, A., Angius, L., Bazzucchi, I., & Marcora, S. M. (2019). A comparison of different methods to analyse data collected during time‑to‑exhaustion tests. Sport Sciences for Health, 15, 667-679. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11332-019-00585-7
McCormick, A., Meijen, C., Anstiss, P., & Jones, H.S. (2019). Self-regulation in endurance sports: theory, research, and practice. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 12, 235-264. https://doi.org/10.1080/1750984X.2018.1469161
McCormick, A., Coyle, M., & Gibbs-Nicholls, S. (2018). Sharing good practice in sport and exercise psychology. Sport and Exercise Psychology Review, 14(1), 47-64.
McCormick, A., Meijen, C., & Marcora, S. (2018). Effects of a motivational self-talk intervention for endurance athletes completing an ultramarathon. The Sport Psychologist, 32, 42-50. https://doi.org/10.1123/tsp.2017-0018
McCormick, A., Meijen, C., & Marcora, S. (2018). Psychological demands experienced by recreational endurance athletes. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 16, 415-430. https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2016.1256341
Edwards, A. M., & McCormick, A. (2017). Time perception, pacing and exercise intensity: maximal exercise distorts the perception of time. Physiology & Behavior, 180, 98-102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.08.009
McCormick, A., Meijen, C., & Marcora, S. (2015). Psychological determinants of whole-body endurance performance. Sports Medicine, 45, 997-1015. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-015-0319-6
McCormick, A., & Meijen, C. (2015). A lesson learned in time: Advice shared by experienced sport psychologists. Sport and Exercise Psychology Review, 11(1), 43-54.
McCormick, A. (2014). Using solution-focused brief therapy with an amateur football team: A trainee's case study. Sport and Exercise Psychology Review, 10(3), 45-57.
McCormick, A., & Anstiss, P. (2020). Self-talk and endurance sports. In A.T. Latinjak & A. Hatzigeorgiadis (Eds.). Self-talk in sport. Routledge.
McCormick, A., & Hatzigeorgiadis, A. (2019). Self-talk and endurance performance. In C. Meijen (Ed.), Endurance performance in sport: Psychological theory and interventions (pp. 153-167). Routledge.
Meijen, C., & McCormick, A. (2019). Pursuing the next challenges: Directions for research on the psychology of endurance performance. In C. Meijen (Ed.), Endurance performance in sport: Psychological theory and interventions (pp. 212-224). Routledge.
Assessor on Stage 2 of the British Psychological Society’s Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology
Alister leads the Psychotherapy and Counselling courses at Marjon and is passionate about supporting students as they develop to become skilled, ethical helpers in counselling and other professions.
Master of Psychotherapy and Counselling:
BSc (Hons) Counselling for the Helping Professions:
MSc Psychotherapy and Counselling for Children and Young People:
MSc Advanced Psychotherapy and Counselling Studies: