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A sports psychology and coaching expert, credited with playing a role in the North Queensland Cowboys’ maiden NRL premiership, will be formally promoted to Professor.

Cliff Mallett of the University of Queensland School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences is to be bestowed his new title at 1 January 2016.

“I’m told this will make me Australia’s first professor in sports coaching,” Dr Mallett said.

“That suggests sports coaching has become an established field for academic enquiry.”

Currently an Associate Professor, Mallett was pinpointed as a decisive force in the Cowboys turning around a three-game losing streak at the start of 2015 and building to a historic premiership.

After heavy 44-22 and 28-4 defeats to the Broncos and Roosters respectively, along with a 16-14 defeat by wooden spooners Newcastle, Cowboys head coach Paul Green called in Mallett.

He took the squad through a series of activities that emphasised the importance of being present in the moment, regulating breathing and thinking clearly.

The eventual champions responded by beating perennial heavyweight Melbourne 18-17 the following week, before maintaining a level of consistency for the remainder of the season.

Unforgettably, the rank outsiders then dispatched of Cronulla and Melbourne in the finals series, before a heart-stopping 17-16 win against Brisbane in one of the best grand finals seen.

“The University of Queensland also has a partnership with the Broncos, so if anything I thought that result would count against a promotion,” joked Dr Mallett.

Mallett was praised specifically for helping North Queensland prop James Tamou return to his barnstorming best after injuries led to a crisis of confidence.

Referred to by Tamou as a “bit of a guru”, Mallett was joined on the North Queensland coaching staff by several other UQ alumni.

Coach Green completed a Graduate Certificate in Sports Coaching at UQ, Andrew Croll completed a Masters of Sports Coaching and Bachelor of Applied Science, while Anthony Wood undertook a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Sciences.

Dr Mallett is presently in North Queensland taking staff through a series of workshops about establishing organisational culture.

He has also been working on a publication that extensively analyses the backgrounds and attributes of 14 of the world’s most prolific sports coaches, who have trained more than 130 Olympic gold medal winning performances.

First published on

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