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‘Focus on what you can control’: Sports psychology in the age of uncertainty

COVID-19 and sports don’t seem to go hand-in-hand, but Kelli Warmouth would like to think they do. The Master of Sport Psychology candidate at the University of Utah believes that the pandemic — although frustrating — can cause feelings of gratitude and appreciation. 

“[People who have had COVID] have a lot of anxiety, but a few months later they also have a lot of gratefulness for things that they didn’t get to do or people they couldn’t see,” Warmouth said. 

Her work as a sport psychologist began in her undergraduate years. Before nearly completing her major in exercise science, she added a psychology degree after becoming fascinated by experiments and studies. 

“The Stanford Prison Experiment and Milgram and all these really cool psychology studies were really interesting to me,” Warmouth said. “So I added psychology as a major and then really noticed how well the two fields marry together.” 

Warmouth, a former collegiate athlete, also has a background in clinical psychology. She said there are many aspects of sports psychology that are transferable to everyday life and aren’t limited to athletes only. 

“If you’re nervous during a game or a high-pressure free-throw situation, it’s likely that you’re going to face situations like that in high-pressure meetings or exams,” Warmouth said. “You can use a lot of the strategies you use to regulate nerves and anxiety in sport for real life as well.” 

Listen to the full interview

Forum reporter Melissa Reeves sat down with Warmouth to discuss the effect of the pandemic on sports psychology and helpful techniques to reduce stress. You can listen to the latest episode on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, and Spotify


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Melissa Reeves is a senior communication student. She is a Pacific Northwest native who moved to Utah to avoid the rain. She thoroughly enjoys overpriced coffee and long walks around her college housing. When she's not scouring Salt Lake City for gluten-free food, you can find her on the lacrosse field.

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