Thriving in sport

Using ACT to optimise athletic performance

2 hours (2 CE credits)
Introductory level skills workshop
Recording available for 6 months
Psychologists, coaches working sports and performance industries

Course Description

Engaging in sports and exercise can be physically and mentally demanding, requiring athletes to sustain peak performance in challenging circumstances. Athletes commonly face struggles with nerves, anxiety, confidence, and motivation, particularly when encountering setbacks. Short-term strategies like positive thinking and visualisations may not suffice and could even worsen the situation. A new approach is needed to help athletes effectively manage their thoughts and emotions, enabling them to regain focus and perform at their best.

Whether it’s making a crucial move in a game, being selected for a team, facing a tough opponent or experiencing a setback, providing effective support to athletes is vital. It’s time for a fresh approach that encourages athletes to think differently and move closer to achieving their aspirations in both sports and life. This ground-breaking workshop, based on scientifically proven acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) techniques, offers a revolutionary perspective on the mental aspects of unlocking potential in sports.

About this workshop

This workshop is aimed at practitioners, coaches, and anyone involved in supporting athletes to attain greater success. It challenges conventional sports psychology by providing a practical toolkit of strategies for triumph. Participants will learn a sustainable approach to managing difficult thoughts, handling emotions, and harnessing them to enhance athletes’ performance to their fullest potential.

Dr. Alison Maitland and Jenna Ashford, the workshop leaders, possess extensive experience and knowledge gained through working with elite athletes to enhance their performance throughout their athletic journeys. During the workshop, Alison and Jenna will share the fundamental principles of applying ACT within a sporting context. Drawing insights from their book, Drop the Struggle: A transformative approach to achieving your potential in sport and life, they will discuss real-life case studies that demonstrate the practical application of the ACT model when working with athletes and teams. They will provide valuable insights into using ACT techniques with athletes and coaches, as well as ideas on how and when to implement them.

During this workshop, Alison and Jenna will dive into the core principles of ACT, using their four-part framework to show you how to:

  1. Drop the struggle: Learn techniques to help athletes release the struggle with their unhelpful thoughts and distinguish between their thinking and observing mind. Discover methods to support athletes in developing robust confidence, finding inner peace, and letting go of mental barriers.
  2. Play in the now: Explore the power of being fully present and learn mindfulness practices to assist athletes in cultivating a focused and grounded mindset. Gain tools to enhance athletes’ ability to perform in the present moment during training and competitions.
  3. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable: Help athletes understand the difference between pressure and performance. Learn to teach athletes ways to embrace discomfort as an integral part of growth. Practical tools will be provided to shift athletes’ focus from the pressures they face, acknowledging emotions, and adding them to the coaching toolkit.
  4. Do what matters: Focus athletes’ energy on meaningful actions that align with their values and contribute to their success. Learn to help athletes define their purpose and establish commitments to overcome obstacles, manage setbacks, and achieve their goals throughout their sporting journey.

The workshop will be interactive, allowing participants to learn about and experience a range of ACT techniques specifically tailored to the sporting domain. Ample time will be allocated for interaction and questions. Additionally, the leaders will explore strategies for gaining athletes’ early acceptance and enthusiasm when introducing the ACT approach.

Who would benefit from this workshop?

This workshop is ideal for psychologists and coaches working in various sports and performance industries. It will equip you with the necessary skills to support athletes effectively. Prior understanding of ACT is helpful but not necessary for participants to fully benefit from this workshop.

After this workshop you will be able to:

- Understand the key challenges of working with ACT in a sporting context

- Have a sport relevant ‘model’ and language when working with an athlete, coach or team from an ACT perspective

- Experience ACT techniques in practice and get a feel for using ACT in an applied sport setting

APA psychologists: This program is sponsored by Contextual Consulting and is approved for 2 CE credits for psychologists. 

Behaviour analysts: This workshop is available for 2 BACB Learning CEUs. Contextual Consulting is an approved BACB ACE Provider # OP-20-3415.

Nationally certified counselors: This workshop is available for 2 credit hours. Contextual Consulting Ltd. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7578. 

To find out more, including attendance requirements and how to access your certificate, go to our continuing education information page.

If you have disability and require adjustments or accommodation, please email us at to discuss your needs and we will do our best to help you.

Booking cancellation 

The registration fee will be refunded minus a administration charge if cancellations are received at least two weeks before the workshop date.

Cancellations within two weeks of the event date are charged the full registration fee, other than in exceptional circumstances that can be verified.

Event cancellation 
In the event of cancellation of the course outside of our control we will not be held accountable for travel and/or accommodation costs incurred. However, the workshop fees will be refunded.

All workshops will be subject to minimum delegate numbers being met; in the event that a workshop should be cancelled delegates will be given no less than 2 months’ notice.

Replacing delegates

If a delegate is unable to attend and a replacement is nominated there may be a charge depending on the individual circumstances, this will be advised at the time. Please contact the us to request a replacement of delegates at least a week before the workshop date.

Contextual Consulting is committed to the identification and resolution of potential conflicts of interest in the planning, promotion, delivery, and evaluation of continuing education. Potential conflicts of interest occur when an individual assumes a professional role in the planning, promotion, delivery, or evaluation of continuing education where personal, professional, legal, financial, or other interests could reasonably be expected to impair their objectivity, competence, or effectiveness.

There was no commercial support for this event. None of the planners or presenters for this educational activity have relevant financial relationship(s) to disclose with ineligible companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

Drop The Struggle: A Transformative Approach to Achieving Your Potential in Sport and Life
by Alison Maitland and Jenna Ashford
Thriving in sport
11th Mar 2025
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM (New York time) change timezone
$52.00 (+ VAT if applicable). Early-bird rate valid until 1st Nov 2024 and then the normal price of US$65.00 + VAT will apply.
Student price US$35.00   Select:


To find out more, including attendance requirements and how to access your certificate, go to our continuing education information page.

To access this workshop you will need a stable internet connection and a set of smart phone ear buds with built in microphone. Your internet speed should be a minimum of 1.5mbs  DOWNLOAD & UPLOAD. You can check that here at

We will have dedicated technicians on hand throughout the entire duration of the workshop. They will be there to help you manage any issues that may come up and get you back in to the workshop again. Also, if you think there may be a problem, be it with your work access or anything else, you can log in early to check if things are working for you, and be prepared. There may of course be technical issues that come up on your end, which will be your responsibility to look after. But these are rare and we have an extra handy troubleshooting guide that comes with tips and tricks to deal with any problems.

Yes! As long as you have access to a web browser and you’re connected to the internet, you will be able to attend. It’s that simple – all you need to do is go to the webpage link, login and you’re set to go. You can join the workshop on any device including your home computer or iPad. You can even join in using your smart phone.

Yes, we have a special portal in the system to allow you to connect with other participants joining via the workshop.

You just need a computer (PC or Mac), laptop or tablet that can access the internet. You need a good broadband speed that would allow you to comfortably stream a movie (such as a video on YouTube).

Yes, a video of the presentation will be available to you for up to 6 months after the workshop is finished.  You’ll be able to go back over any part of the workshop to review or check anything that you missed. You also don’t actually have to attend the live workshop – if you’re not able to make it on the actual date, you can still login afterwards and watch the recorded version.

Yes, you will receive a CPD certificate.

Absolutely. You will be able to ask the presenter questions, just as you would in any workshop. You’ll also have the extra benefit of being able to interact with other colleagues who have also joined the workshop.

It’s super simple. All you need to do is follow a link that you will be provided prior to the course, along with instructions.

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