Dr Sarah Williams

Lecturer in Sport Psychology and Coaching Science

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences

Dr Sarah Williams

Contact details

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

About

Sarah Williams is an expert in imagery use in sport, exercise, and rehabilitation.

Qualifications

  • PhD in Sport Psychology, University of Birmingham
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Research and Education, University of Birmingham
  • BSc (Hons) in Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham

Biography

Sarah Williams is a lecturer in Sport Psychology and Coaching Science. Her interest to study sport was stimulated by her participation in a number of different sporting activities from a young age. Through this involvement she pursued a degree in Sport and Exercise Sciences and then a PhD in Sport Psychology both in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham. Sarah’s PhD thesis, entitled athlete imagery ability and effective imagery use, was awarded the British Psychological Society Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology’s Outstanding PhD Thesis in 2011. Under the supervision of Dr Jennifer Cumming, Sarah’s thesis developed novel measures to assess athlete imagery ability, established techniques to improve imagery ability, and investigated how imagery could be used by athletes to alter their stress appraisals of upcoming competitions.

 

Since her PhD Sarah has remained an active researcher in the area of imagery and observation. She was received funding from various sources including the Applied Association of Sport Psychology and the Wellcome Trust to investigate and establish methods to improve the effectiveness of imagery interventions. More recently Sarah has developed an interest of how imagery can also be used in rehabilitation. She has published various peer reviewed journal articles and presented her work at a number of national and international conferences.

Teaching

Sarah teaches on the Sport, Physical Education and Coaching Sciences degree and the Applied Golf Management Studies degree. Her teaching responsibilities include:

  • Psychology of Golf
  • Research Methods in Sporting Pedagogy

 

She is also contributes to modules on the PGDip/MSc Sports Coaching degree and the Advanced Psychology of golf module on the Applied Golf Management Studies degree. Sarah supervises various dissertation students usually conducting imagery or stress and competition research projects.

Postgraduate supervision

Sarah is currently involved in supervising five PhD students who are conducting their PhD in imagery research:

  • Najla Alhashil
  • Nurwina Anuar
  • Maria-Christina Kosteli
  • Elliot Newell
  • Mary Quinton

Research

Sarah’s research interests centre around the following areas:

  • Imagery use in sport, physical activity, exercise, and rehabilitation
  • Action observation to improve motor performance
  • Psychological and physiological responses to stress and competition

 

The majority of Sarah’s research focuses on how imagery can be effectively used in the sport and exercise setting. This includes establishing valid and reliable measures to assess imagery ability and developing techniques to improve imagery’s effectiveness. Sarah also combines action observation with imagery use and has more recently started utilising these techniques for rehabilitation. Sarah also has an interest in psychological and physiological responses to stress and competition including competitiveness, challenge and threat appraisal, and anxiety.

 

Sarah publishes her research in internationally renowned peer reviewed journals and regularly presents at national and international conferences. Within the school Sarah has collaborates with other members of the Sport Psychology with Behavioural Medicine research group including Dr Jennifer Cumming, Dr Jet Veldhuijzen van Zanten, Dr Annie Ginty, and Dr Rob Gray. More recently she is also collaborating with Dr Michael Grey of the Motor Control and Rehabilitation research group.

Publications

Williams, S. E., Cooley, S. J., & Cumming, J. (2013). Layered stimulus response training improves motor imagery ability and movement execution. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 35, 60-71.

 

Williams, S. E. Cooley, S. J., Newell, E., Weibull, F., & Cumming, J. (2013). Seeing the difference: Advice for developing effective imagery scripts for athletes. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 4, 109-121.

 

Cooley, S. J., Williams, S. E., Burns, V. E., & Cumming, J. (2013). Methodological variations in guided imagery interventions using movement imagery scripts in sport: A systematic review. Journal of Imagery Research in Sport and Physical Activity, 8, 1-22.

 

Cumming, J., & Williams, S. E. (2013). Introducing the revised applied model of deliberate imagery use for sport, dance, exercise, and rehabilitation. Movement and Sport Sciences, 82, 69-81.

 

Williams, S. E., Cumming, J., Ntoumanis, N., Nordin-Bates, S. M., Ramsey, R. & Hall, C. R. (2012). Further validation and development of the Movement Imagery Questionnaire. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 34, 621-646.

 

Williams, S. E. & Cumming, J. (2012). Athletes’ ease of imaging predicts their imagery and observational learning use. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13, 363-370.

 

Williams, S. E. & Cumming, J. (2012). Challenge vs. threat: Investigating the effect of using imagery to manipulate stress appraisal of a dart throwing task. Sport & Exercise Psychology Review, 8, 4-21.

 

Williams, S. E. & Cumming, J. (2012). Sport imagery ability predicts trait confidence, and challenge and threat appraisal tendencies. European Journal of Sport Science, 12, 499-508.

 

Williams, S. E. & Cumming, J. (2011). Measuring Athlete Imagery Ability: The Sport Imagery Ability Questionnaire. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 33, 416-440.

 

Williams, S. E., Cumming, J., & Edwards, M. G. (2011). The functional equivalence between movement imagery, observation, and execution influences imagery ability. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 82, 555-564.

 

Williams, S. E., Cumming, J., & Balanos, G. M (2010). The use of imagery to manipulate challenge and threat appraisal states in athletes. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 32, 339-358.Williams, S.E. & Cumming, J. (2011). Measuring Athlete Imagery Ability: The Sport Imagery Ability Questionnaire. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 33, 416-440.

Back to top