What is sport psychology?   

Traditionally, the technical, tactical, and physical aspects of sport have been viewed as the key to an athlete's performance and success. While these factors are important, coaches and athletes now recognise that an athlete's success or failure often lies in their ability to be "mentally fit." There are many factors that influence an athlete's "mental fitness," such as wellbeing, enjoyment, confidence, motivation, anxiety, focus, attitude, and preparation. Performance Psychologist Natalie Kyan specializes in working with athletes to develop these areas.
More specifically.

Natalie can assist athletes with:

  • Anxiety/stress management and relaxation

  • Anger management

  • Concentration and focus

  • Imagery/visualisation

  • Positive thinking

  • Confidence and self-esteem

  • Goal setting

  • Motivation

  • Behaviour change

  • Time management and life balance

  • Overtraining and burnout

  • Team building and conflict

  • Communication skills

  • Relationship issues

  • Travel skills

  • Preparation and routines

  • Sleep issues

  • Injury rehabilitation

  • Career planning and retirement

  • Decision-making and problem solving

  • Weight management and health behaviours

  • Grief and loss

  • Resilience and coping

  • Depression and other mental health issues

  • Disordered eating

  • Confidential counselling assistance for personal issues


What does the Maribyrnong Sports Academy Sport Psychology program involve?

Athletes and coaches at Maribyrnong Sports Academy have access to:
Individual consultations (by appointment)
Mental skills training workshops (as part of the Athlete Development Program)
Facilitation and collaboration of the Maribyrnong Sports Academy Wellbeing Team
Coach education workshops

Natalie is onsite Monday and Wednesday every week throughout the school year.


Individual Consultations - What to Expect

Unfortunately, psychology doesn't involve any "magic pills." At its best, it is a collaborative ongoing process that involves both you and I working together towards an agreed upon goal. I will predominantly use a cognitive-behavioral and strength based approach, which at times may include mindfulness. I also have a passion for neuroscience and will likely where appropriate provide you with education about key structures of the brain and their connection to optimal functioning and performance. I may also combine other approaches to ensure your needs are best met. During a session, you can expect to discuss past and current thoughts, feelings, and experiences. You will often be given tasks to complete and mental skills to practice at home, so you need to be open and willing to do some work. Please feel free to give feedback - the sessions are for you, so it's important that you get what you want out of them.

When providing a psychological service to student-athletes, I will need to collect and record their personal information. The information gathered will be stored in a secure file and will only be seen by me. This information is retained in order to document what happens during sessions, and enables me to provide a relevant and informed psychological service. At any stage, student-athletes are entitled to access the information about them kept on file. 

All personal information gathered from student-athletes will remain confidential except when: 

·     The information given is subpoenaed by a court of law.

·     Failure to disclose information would place the student-athlete or another person at serious and imminent risk of harm.

·     The student-athlete’s prior approval has been obtained.  

The maintenance of confidentiality is a fundamental aspect of professional practice, and is considered a cornerstone of the Psychology profession. The assurance of confidentiality helps me to establish relationships with student-athletes based on trust. 

How do I make an individual consultation appointment? 
By contacting your year level wellbeing team member, High Performance Manager Brent Vallance, Natalie Kyan Psychologist, Ola Luczak dietician and or talking to your Athlete Development Program teacher

Who is Natalie Kyan?
Natalie is a registered psychologist who works with individuals and groups to maximise wellbeing, performance and mental health. I specialise in sport and performance enhancement and have a particular interest in personal effectiveness for performers from all domains. She is passionate about helping people achieve their potential and build resilience, whilst at the same time maintaining mental health and wellbeing. 

She has enjoyed working one on one with athletes from a range of sports, including: AFL, diving, cycling, volleyball, gymnastics, rowing, tennis, golf, hockey, swimming, and cricket – to name a few. Natalie has also enjoyed working with a range of performing artists, including: dancers, classical musicians, opera singers, musical theatre performers, and actors. Natalie works in private practice, and was previously the psychologist at the Australian Ballet School. 

Her with athletes and performers has covered a diverse range of issues, including: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, conflict management, anger management, goal setting, imagery training, building concentration skills, stress management, relationships and social skill development, self-confidence, post injury / rehabilitation, transition out of sport, coping with setbacks and building resilience.

Natalie has provided services for the following teams and organisations:

  • The AFL Players Association 

  • Eastern Institute of Volleyball

  • Volleyball Australia

  • MLC gymnastics program

  • PLC aquatic sports program

  • The Australian Ballet School

  • The Australian National Academy of Music

  • Sydney Symphony Orchestra

“I constantly strive to provide a safe and nurturing environment within which individuals are free to explore and work through issues they are encountering in their lives. I incorporate techniques from a number of different therapeutic domains, particularly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Positive Psychology, Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Neuropsychotherapy. My approach is always tailored to a client's individual needs, and clients are free to develop their own specific and unique goals for our work together. “

Masters in Applied Psychology (Sport Psychology)

Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology

Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology)

Certified Clinical Neuropsychotherapy Practitioner & ResiCoach

Professional memberships/affiliations:

Member of the Australian Psychological Society
Member College of Sport and Exercise Psychologists
Committee member for Victorian College of Sport and Exercise Psychologists