Dr Phil Birch

Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology

Phil Birch


After completing his PhD in 2014 which developed instruments to measure mental toughness in sport, Phil joined the team at the University of Chichester.

Phil leads a range of undergraduate sport and exercise psychology and esports modules and leads the postgraduate module titled Advanced Performance Psychology.

Phil supervises a range of undergraduate and postgraduate research projects.


  • PhD Student in Sport and Exercise Psychology, University of Chichester (2010 – 2014)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching, University of Chichester (2007 – 2013)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Skills, University of Chichester (2007 – 2008)
  • MSc Psychology of Sport and Exercise (Distinction), University of Chichester (2006 – 2007)
  • BSc port and Exercise Science (First Class), University of Chichester (2003 – 2006)

Membership of Professional Bodies

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Executive Board for Association for Continuing Education in Esports


Phil’s main area of research interest is performance psychology in traditional sports and esports.

Phil is currently examining stress, coping, and mental ill health in esports athletes and the use of think aloud protocols in both traditional sports and esports.

Phil’s research activity in the psychology of esports field is reflected by his role on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Electronic Gaming and Esports.

Keynote presentation

Birch, P. D. J. (2021). Research to practice: Stress, coping and mental ill health in esports. Keynote presentation delivered as part of the keynote panel on Mental Performance in Esport: Considerations for Practitioners for Association for Applied Sport Psychology’s 36th annual (online) conference, October, 2021.

Recent Publications


  • Smith, M. J., Runswick, O. Jewiss, M., & Birch, P., D., J. (2022). Challenge and threat states in academic presentation assessments. Educational Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/01443410.2022.2069229
  • Smith, M. J., Sharpe, B. T., Arumuham, A., Birch, P. D. J. (2022). Examining the predictors of mental ill health in esports athletes. Healthcare. 10(4), 626. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10040626
  • Leis, O., Franziska, L., Birch, P. D., & Elbe, A. M. (2022). Stressors, perceived stress responses, and coping strategies in professional esports players: A qualitative study. International Journal of Esports. https://www.ijesports.org/article/76/html



  • Shaw, M., Birch, P. D. J., & Runswick, O. R. (2021). An in-situ examination of cognitive processes in professional and amateur golfers during green reading. Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/spy0000261





  • Smith, M. J., Birch, P. D., & Bright, D. (2019). Identifying Stressors and Coping Strategies of Elite Esports Competitors. International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS), 11(2), 22-39. https://doi.org/10.4018/IJGCMS.2019040102
  • Birch, P. D. J., & Whitehead, A. E. (2019). Investigating the Comparative Suitability of Traditional and task-specific Think Aloud Training, Perceptual and Motor Skills, 127(1), 202-224. https://doi.org/10.1177/0031512519882274
  • Batten, J., Jessop, T., & Birch, P. D. J. (2019). Doing what it says on the tin? A psychometric evaluation of the Assessment Experience Questionnaire, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 44, 309-320. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2018.1499867



  • Birch, P. D. J., Crampton, S., Greenlees. I. A., Lowry, R. G., & Coffee, P. (2017). The Mental Toughness Questionniare-48: A Re-examination of Factorial Validity. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 48, 331-355. http://www.ijsp-online.com/abstract/view/48/331

PhD Supervision

As of April 2022, Phil is primary supervisor for a funded PhD studentship examining the use of heart-rate variability as a measure of self-regulation in esports performance.

Other department members

Adrian Penrose
Coach Development Officer (Women & Girl's)
Amber Chafe
Lecturer in Sports Therapy
Benjamin Sharpe
Benjamin T. Sharpe
Lecturer in Psychology, Programme Coordinator for the BSc Criminology and Forensic Psychology

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