Dr Katie Sparks

Lecturer In Sport & Exercise Psychology

Health, Education, Policing and Sciences

Sport has always played an integral role in my life, as a performer, student, coach, lifestyle & performance consultant and an academic. I have always enjoyed being a part of sport in any capacity, it all started from a very young age of playing football but my enthusiasm for the academic side came from my A level PE teachers and the rest is history.

I graduated from University of Birmingham with my Undergraduate, Masters and PhD. During my time in the doctoral studies I began my performance lifestyle consultancy with high performance sports team on their talent pathway. I have also taught at many HE's as a guest lecturer before starting my journey here, at Staffordshire University. I love my job, it gives me a chance to connect, support and inspire the students to be future explorers or help fulfill their dream jobs, while also giving me the freedom to investigate an area I am truly passionate about, performance and wellbeing

Academic qualifications

• PhD in Sport Psychology - University of Birmingham

• MA in Social Research (with two Sport Psychology modules) - University of Birmingham

• BSc in Sport and Exercise Science - University of Birmingham


My primary expertise fall in performance psychology and helping individuals to thrive under pressure both from a performance and wellbeing standpoint. Specifically, my focus is in using Mindfulness, Self-compassion and Stress-Mindset practices to help individuals in demanding contexts. I also have expertise in Performance Lifestyle and enhancing not just the athlete but the person first.

Research interests

• Understanding the mechanism of Mindfulness on performance and wellbeing

• Developing evidence-based interventions to help individuals in stressful and demanding climates

• Integrating brief practices to influence performance and enjoyment

• Exploring the use of Self-compassion on Cardiovascular responses and failure

Enterprise and commercial interests

Developing impactful interventions to help those experiencing stress, be it in the realms of academia or in sport performance but always encompassing holistic wellbeing.


  • Undergraduate and Postgraduate lecturer on the Sport and Exercise Psychology & Sport Therapy courses
  • Module Leader in Level 4 Individual Differences
  • Module Leader in Level 5 Advanced Research Methods
  • Module Leader in Level 4 Research Methods for Sport Therapy
  • Lecturer on the Level 6 Applied Sport Psychology module
  •  Lecturer on the Level 7 Skilled Performance Under Pressure module
  •  Dissertation Supervisor for Level 6 and 7 students


Sparks, K. V., & Ring, C. (2022). A rowing-specific mindfulness intervention: Effects on mindfulness, flow, reinvestment, and performance. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, 871804-871804.

Sparks, K. V., Kavussanu, M., Masters, R. S., & Ring, C. (2022). Conscious processing and rowing: A field study. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 20(2), 515-531.

Sparks, K. V., Kavussanu, M., Masters, R. S., & Ring, C. (2021). Mindfulness, reinvestment, and rowing under pressure: Evidence for moderated moderation of the anxiety-performance relationship. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2021.101998

Sparks, K., Ring, C, Kavussanu, M & Masters, R. (2021). The Rowing Specific State Reinvestment Scale. Journal of Sports Sciences, DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2021.1976489

External profiles

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021