Paige Dunn – Sport Psychology Consultant

As a Sport Psychology Consultant, Paige Dunn counsels and educates athletes on the mental component of athletic experience through her private practice, Xcel Sport Psychology Group. In her practice, Paige teaches various Sport Psychology techniques to enhance performance: goal setting, motivation, imagery, confidence, relaxation, focus & concentration, effective team communication, and more. She currently works with athletes in individual and group sessions.

Paige Dunn is also a freelance writer specializing in sport psychology, cycling, triathlon, sports, fitness, and wellness. Currently she is a Regional Editor with Competitor Magazine and a contributing writer to Road Magazine. She is currently working on her first book which focuses on advances in goal setting and is continuing her post graduate research on elite endurance athletes and pain management.

When she is not working with athletes, writing or lecturing, Paige is probably on her bike. This past year she completed a 600+ mile bike ride with Specialized to raise money and awareness for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She also just completed a 100 day/100 run challenge and is looking forward to her next adventure yet to be determined.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working with a great new group of athletes this year. I am thrilled to be supporting an elite open water swimmer with his “Oceans Seven” adventure. The athlete I am working with will be swimming the Irish Channel, the Cook Strait, the Moloka’i Channel, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Channel and the Strait of Gibraltar. I’ll be providing Sport Psychology support along the way. I’m also going to be supporting a brilliant endurance sports coach and will be working at some great cycling camps this year. And there may be a chance you’ll see me at the epic mountain bike race, La Ruta de los Conquistadores, in Costa Rica later this year.

3 Trends that excite you?

1) Increased awareness around the benefits of Sport Psychology. In the past there has been a stigma attached to our work. For some reason athletes and coaches thought there was something negative about working with Sport Psychology professionals and that athletes had to have something wrong with them to need our services. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Smart athletes who are committed to being the best in the world know the benefits and are speaking out. Elite marathon runner, Kara Goucher recently shared her thoughts around how her career has dramatically changed through working with a Sport Psychologist. Word is getting out and more and more athletes are willing to do whatever it takes to be the best.

2) Increased focus on women’s products and women in general in the cycling industry. Cycling is a passion of mine and I love the idea of recruiting more women to enjoy the sport. Companies like Specialized are doing great things to provide more access and education around the sport.

3) Twitter. I love following athletes through Twitter. As a Sport Psychology professional, Twitter provides me an inside look in to the lives of athletes that I don’t directly work with and I’m always learning something interesting.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I set clear, specific goals. I am a strong believer in goal setting and spend a great deal of time teaching goal setting tactics to athletes as well as conducting goal setting workshops. I set daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, yearly and 5-year goals. I constantly review and revise my goals to make things happen.

Goal setting is clearly important to you. What are some of your longer term goals, professional or personal?

I’ve got a long list so I’ll share a few – finish my first book, work with swimmers at the 2012 Summer Olympics, work with a pro cycling team every year, Sport Psychology TV Correspondent, and produce a sports focused documentary. Those are top of mind right now.

In addition to working as a Sport Psychology Consultant you stay active as an athlete as well. What’s next for you?

Having my own own athletic experiences is something that is important to me. First of all, participating in sports is what makes me smile and enjoy life. But more importantly I know how much value it adds to my professional life. How could I possibly understand what an athlete goes through if I didn’t have some perspective? Last year I had a great six day cycling adventure and rode with a team from Morgan Hill, CA to Las Vegas, NV. The 600+ mile journey was something that was extremely challenging for me but I loved every minute. That experience is going to be hard to beat. I’m not sure what my next adventure is but I’m sure it will involve a bike and a ridiculous amount of riding.


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