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Dr Phil Birch

Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology

24 Phil Birch (6)

About

Phil is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology in the Institute of Applied Sciences. 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 is currently a member of the Research Ethics Committee and the Institute of Applied Sciences CHASER research planning group for the Research Excellence Framework submission in 2028. Phil is also External Examiner for BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences at University of Hertfordshire.

Phil’s research activity rapidly accelerated in 2019 when he published a ‘first of its kind’ study examining stress and coping in professional esports players. According to a University of Chichester Press Report, the study was covered by over 80 global media outlets reaching an estimated 186,650,644 viewers which resulted in an advertising equivalency value (estimated value of coverage) of £1,073,241.20. Phil has continued this burgeoning area of research and has amassed over 10 publications examining the psychological demands placed on esports performers, with a specific focus on stress, coping, self-regulation (including heart-rate variability), and mental health. Phil has also advanced understanding of think aloud protocols in sport and has published numerous studies.

As a result of his success, Phil has delivered two invited keynote lectures at International and National conferences and is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the newly formed Human Kinetics publication Journal of Electronic Gaming and Esports. Phil also received the 2023 Outstanding Service award from Journal of Electronic Gaming and Esports to reflect his author and editorial contributions.

Phil leads a range of undergraduate sport and exercise psychology modules and leads the postgraduate module titled Advanced Performance Psychology. Phil supervises a range of undergraduate and postgraduate research projects, including a fully funded PhD student.

Education

  • 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 Sport 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

Research

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. (2023). Performance Psychology in the Arena of Esports. Keynote presentation delivered at British Association of Sport and Exercises Sciences (BASES) Student Conference, April, 2023.

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.

PhD Supervision

As of April 2022, Phil is primary supervisor for a fully funded PhD student who is examining the psychophysiological demands of esports performance using heart rate variability to capture self-regulation.

Phil is actively looking for motivated individuals to supervise for PhD programmes on topics related, but not limited to, psychometrics, stress, coping, self-regulation (including heart-rate variability), mental health, and think aloud in both tradition sports and esports. Please review the following link for fees [Link] and then contact Phil if interested [p.birch@chi.ac.uk].

Research Output

Articles

Birch, P. D. J., Smith, M. J., Arumuham, A., Ortiz de Gortari, A. and Sharpe, B. T. (2024) The prevalence of mental ill health in elite Counter-Strike athletes. Journal of Electronic Gaming and Esports. pp. 1-23. ISSN 2836-3523 (In Press)

Sharpe, B. T., Obine, E., Birch, P. D. J., Pocock, C. and Moore, L. (2023) Performance breakdown under pressure among esports competitors. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology. pp. 1-22. ISSN 2157-3905 10.1037/spy0000337

Runswick, O. R., Rawlinson, A., Allen, P. M., Sharpe, B. T., Pocock, C., Datson, N., Birch, P. D. J., Bruce, R. and Mann, D. L. (2023) The effects of simulated vision impairment on performance in football. Journal of Sports Sciences, 41 (14). pp. 1410-1422. ISSN 0264-0414 10.1080/02640414.2023.2273093

Monteiro Pereira, A., Bolling, C., Birch, P. D. J., Figueiredo, P., Verhagen, E. and Brito, J. (2023) Perspectives of efootball players and staff members regarding the effects of esports on health – a qualitative study. Sports Medicine - Open, 9:62 (1). pp. 1-17. ISSN 2198-9761 (In Press) 10.1186/s40798-023-00617-0

Welsh, M. R., Mosley, E., Laborde, S., Day, M. C., Sharpe, B. T., Burkill, R. A. and Birch, P. D. J. (2023) The use of heart rate variability in esports: a systematic review. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 69. pp. 1-38. ISSN 1469-0292 10.1016/j.psychsport.2023.102495

Birch, P. D. J., Greenlees, L. and Sharpe, B. T. (2023) An Exploratory Investigation of Personality in CS:GO. Journal of Electronic Gaming and Esports. ISSN 2836-3523 (In Press) 10.1123/jege.2022-0027

Sharpe, B. T., Besombes, N., Welsh, M. R. and Birch, P. D. J. (2023) Indexing Esport Performance. Journal of Electronic Gaming and Esports. pp. 1-13. ISSN 2836-3523 10.1123/jege.2022-0017

Abbott, C., Watson, M. and Birch, P. D. J. (2023) Perceptions of Effective Training Practices in League of Legends: A Qualitative Exploration. Journal of Electronic Gaming and Esports, 1 (1). pp. 1-11. (In Press) 10.1123/jege.2022-0011

Birch, P. D. J., Yeoman, B. and Whitehead, A. (2022) 'Think Aloud’ as a facilitator of self-regulation in golfers. The Sport Psychologist. pp. 1-10. ISSN 0888-4781 (In Press) 10.1123/tsp.2022-0017

Smith, M. J., Runswick, O. R., Jewiss, M. and Birch, P. D. J. (2022) Examining the theory of challenge and threat states in athletes: do predictions extend to academic performance? Educational Psychology. pp. 1-18. ISSN 1469-5820 10.1080/01443410.2022.2069229

Smith, M. J., Sharpe, B. T., Arumuham, A. and Birch, P. D. J. (2022) Examining the Predictors of Mental Ill Health in Esport Competitors. Healthcare, 10 (4). ISSN 2227-9032 10.3390/healthcare10040626

Leis, O., Franziska, L., Birch, P. D. J. and Elbe, A.-M. (2021) Stressors, perceived stress responses, and coping strategies in professional esports players: A qualitative study. International Journal of eSports. (In Press)

Shaw, M., Runswick, O. R. and Birch, P. D. J. (2020) An in-situ examination of cognitive processes in professional and amateur golfers during green reading. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology. ISSN 2157-3905 (In Press)

Murphy, C. P., Wakefield, A., Birch, P. D. J. and North, J. S. (2020) Esport expertise benefits perceptual-cognitive skill in (traditional) sport. Journal of Expertise, 3 (4). pp. 227-237. ISSN 2573-2773

McGreary, M., Birch, P. D. J., Eubank, M. and Whitehead, A. (2020) Thinking Aloud. A qualitative analysis of stressors and coping responses in cricket bowlers during a competitive match. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health. pp. 1-18. ISSN 2159-6778 10.1080/2159676x.2020.1829013

Birch, P. D. J. and Whitehead, A. (2020) Investigating the Comparative Suitability of Traditional and Task-specific Think Aloud Training. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 127 (1). pp. 202-224. ISSN 0031-5125 10.1177/0031512519882274

Yeoman, B., Birch, P. D. J. and Runswick, O. R. (2019) The effects of smart phone video analysis on focus of attention and performance in practice and competition. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 47. ISSN 1469-0292 10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.101644

Smith, M. J., Birch, P. D. J. and Bright, D. (2019) Identifying stressors and coping strategies of elite esports competitors. International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, 11 (2). pp. 22-39. ISSN 1942-3888 10.4018/IJGCMS.2019040102

Batten, J., Jessop, T. and Birch, P. D. J. (2018) Doing what it says on the tin? A psychometric evaluation of the Assessment Experience Questionnaire. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 44 (2). pp. 309-320. ISSN 0260-2938 10.1080/02602938.2018.1499867

Birch, P. D. J., Crampton, S., Greenlees, I. A., Lowry, R. G. and Coffee, P. (2017) The Mental Toughness Questionniare-48: A Re-examination of Factorial Validity. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 48 (3). pp. 331-355. ISSN 0047-0767 10.7352/IJSP.2017.48.331

Birch, P. D. J., Batten, J. and Batey, J. (2016) The influence of student gender on the assessment of undergraduate student work. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 41 (7). pp. 1065-1080. ISSN 0260-2938 10.1080/02602938.2015.1064857

Batten, J., Birch, P. D. J., Wright, J., Manley, A. J. and Smith, M. J. (2014) An exploratory investigation examining male and female students' initial impressions and expectancies of lecturers. Teaching in Higher Education, 19 (2). pp. 113-125. ISSN 1356-2517 10.1080/13562517.2013.827645

Manley, A. J., Greenlees, I. A., Smith, M. J., Batten, J. and Birch, P. D. J. (2013) The influence of coach reputation on the behavioral responses of male soccer players. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. ISSN 0905-7188 10.1111/sms.12108

Birch, P. D. J., Batten, J., Manley, A. J. and Smith, M. J. (2013) An exploratory investigation examining the cues that students use to form initial impressions and expectancies of lecturers. Teaching in Higher Education, 17 (6). pp. 660-672. ISSN 1356-2517 10.1080/13562517.2012.658561

Batten, J., Batey, J., Shafe, L., Gubby, L. and Birch, P. D. J. (2013) The influence of reputation information on the assessment of undergraduate student work. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38 (4). pp. 417-435. ISSN 0260-2938 10.1080/02602938.2011.640928

Book Sections

Smith, M. J., Birch, P. D. J. and Bright, D. (2020) Identifying Stressors and Coping Strategies of Elite Esports Competitors. In: Research Anthology on Business Strategies, Health Factors, and Ethical Implications in Sports and eSports. IGI Global, Hershey, PA, pp. 895-914. ISBN 9781799877073 10.4018/978-1-7998-7707-3.ch048

Smith, M. J., Birch, P. D. J. and Bright, D. (2020) Identifying Stressors and Coping Strategies of Elite Esports Competitors. In: Research Anthology on Business Strategies, Health Factors, and Ethical Implications in Sports and eSports. IGI Global, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA, pp. 895-914. ISBN 9781799877073 10.4018/978-1-7998-7707-3.ch048

Conference or Workshop Items

Birch, P. D. J. and Sharpe, B. T. (2023) Mental (ill) health and performance. In: International Federation of Esports Coaches Summit, 6 - 7 September 2023, University of Northampton (online).

Birch, P. D. J., Sharpe, B. T., Ortiz de Gortari, A., Arumuham, A. and Smith, M. J. (2023) Mental ill health in professional esports athletes: prevalence and relationships. In: Annual Research Conference 2023, University of Chichester, 5 - 6 July 2023, Bognor Regis, England.

Welsh, M. R., Mosley, E., Laborde, S., Day, M. C., Sharpe, B. T., Burkill, R. A. and Birch, P. D. J. (2023) The use of heart rate variability in esports: a systematic review. In: Annual Research Conference 2023, University of Chichester, 5 - 6 July 2023, Bognor Regis, England.

Sharpe, B. T., Obine, E., Birch, P. D. J., Pocock, C. and Moore, L. (2023) Stress influences gaze behaviour, quiet eye durations, and esport action performance. In: Annual Research Conference 2023, University of Chichester, 5 - 6 July 2023, Bognor Regis, England.

Whitehead, A., McEwan, H., Vaughan, S., Swettenham, L., Birch, P. D. J. and Jackman, P. (2023) Applying Think Aloud to applied sport psychology practice. In: European College of Sport Science, 4 - 7 July 2023, Paris, France.

Birch, P. D. J. (2023) Performance psychology in the arena of esports. In: British Association of Sport and Exercises Sciences (BASES) Student Conference, 24 - 25 April 2023, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, England.

Whitehead, A., McEwan, H., Vaughan, S., Swettenham, L., Jackman, P., Tod, D. and Birch, P. D. J. (2022) ‘If only I could know what they are thinking?’ Applying Think Aloud to applied sport psychology practice. In: British Psychological Society Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology Conference, 29 - 30 November 2022, Swansea, Wales.

Birch, P. D. J., Sharpe, B. T., Ortiz de Gortari, A., Arumuham, A. and Smith, M. J. (2022) Mental ill health in professional esports athletes: Prevalence and relationships. In: ERNC 22: Esports Research Network Conference, 21 - 23 November 2022, Jönköping,Sweden.

Birch, P. D. J., Sharpe, B. T., Ortiz de Gortari, A., Arumuham, A. and Smith, M. J. (2022) Mental ill health in professional esports athletes: Prevalence and relationships. In: FEPSAC 2022, Padova: 16th European Congress of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 11 - 16 July 2022, Padova, Italy.

Sharpe, B. T., Besombes, N., Welsh, M. R. and Birch, P. D. J. (2022) Psychological index of individualised esports performance. In: FEPSAC 2022, Padova: 16th European Congress of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 11 - 16 July 2022, Padova, Italy.

McEwan, H., Whitehead, A., Tod, D., Jackman, P., Birch, P. D. J., Vaughan, S. and Swettenham, L. (2022) Storied practice: Narratives on think aloud. In: International Conference on Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise Durham, England., 26 - 28 July 2022, University of Durham.

Birch, P. D. J., Whitehead, A. and Dowrick, C. (2016) “Think Aloud” – Examining the suitability of traditional and task specific training for Think Aloud protocol. In: British Psychological Society, The Division of Sport & Exercise Psychology Conference, December 12-13, 2016, Cardiff.

Theses

Birch, P. D. J. (2014) THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN INSTRUMENT TO MEASURE MENTAL TOUGHNESS IN SPORT. Doctoral theses, University of Chichester.

Other department members

Adrian Penrose
Coach Development Officer (Women & Girl's)
Amber Hartigan
Lecturer in Sports Therapy
Bea Pine
Lecturer in Physiotherapy

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