Stay In The Game: Mental Skills for Sport and the Workplace

Friday 21st April 2023

Featuring Dr. Stuart Beattie, Nadia Portelli, and Nuala Moore


For caregiving professionals, high-performance athletes, and everyone in-between – it has never been harder to combat occupational turnover intentions, burnout, fatigue, frustration, and cynicism in the aftermath of an overworked COVID-19 world. This seminar will suggest how we can overcome these obstacles by examining the psychological resilience skills possessed by ultra-athletes, and how we can translate these highly beneficial skills into our own professions, sporting endeavours, and everyday lives.

Extreme endurance sports carry a significant physical and mental toll which can have profound transformational capabilities. Ultra-athletes possess a high-level of resilience and mental fortitude to succeed within their respective competitions – key skills which are applicable to everyday life. Extreme endurance sports are described as ‘meaningful’ and ‘life-enhancing’ (Immonen et al.) with the potential to be used as therapeutic interventions to address everyday psychological issues.

This unique seminar focuses on the challenges we might encounter across sport and the workplace, and how they often result in cognitive depletion and catastrophe. Our accomplished speakers will suggest how individuals can utilise mental hardiness skills to develop mental toughness and overcome these obstacles.

Topics include aspects of personality; psychological skills; cognition; emotional and behavioural regulation; leadership and the training environment; mental toughness; mental strength and behaviour in training and competition; maximising tolerance of diversity and unpredictability; and motivation.

Event details:

When: Friday 21st April 2023 | 9.30am – 4.30pm

Where: Spencer Hotel, Excise Walk, International Financial Services Centre, Dublin 1, D01 X4C9


If you have any queries regarding this event, please contact:


Guest speakers:

‘Stay In The Game’ is a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy Ireland event hosted by:

Dr. Stuart Beattie Ph.D. FBASES

  • Director of Teaching and Learning, Senior Lecturer of Performance Psychology – Bangor University
  • HCPC Registered Sport Psychologist PYL28829 – Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance

Dr. Stuart Beattie is a Senior Lecturer in Performance Psychology at Bangor University, Wales. He works within the Institute for Psychology of Elite Performance in the School of Human and Behavioural Sciences. Stuart’s PhD was funded by British Gymnastics where he worked as an applied Sports Psychologist from the year 2000 to 2006.

In 2006, Stuart began his academic career at Bangor University. Over the past 17 years, his research and applied work has focused on aspects of performance under pressure and protective factors such as mental toughness and resilience. Stuart’s areas of expertise also include managing performance, stress, burnout, and wellbeing in the workplace.

Recently, Stuart has been working with the Youth Justice Services for North Wales in developing psychological resilience interventions for Youth Justice Case Workers who support young people. Stuart recently developed and designed the School’s Distance Learning MSc Degree in Performance Psychology which recruited over 100 students in its first three years. National and international students undertaking this course come from a range of professions spanning opera singers, RAF Pilots, Armed Forces, business professionals, athletes, musicians, and NHS staff to name but a few.

Presentation: Mental Toughness, Resilience and Performance Catastrophes

It is very likely that at some point in our lives, we will witness or indeed experience quite large and sudden catastrophic events. These events can also affect performance, stress, burnout, and wellbeing in the workplace. Catastrophes can be regarded as any significant and sudden change in any specific variable. Humans were never meant to be invincible or invulnerable. For example, an individual may be able to deal with prolonged periods of stress until reaching what we all know as a ‘breaking point’. Once we reach this point, changes come about in a quick and dramatic fashion. Something snaps! But when it does, it is often very hard to reverse those effects quickly.

Catastrophes are very prevalent in everyday life whether you are a coach, athlete, or practitioner. For example, catastrophes are often witnessed in the following areas; in sports such as cricket batting collapses, performance collapses in golf and athletics; social catastrophes such as ending a friendship; workplace catastrophes such as verbal presentations going wrong, being fired or terminating your career; and personal relationship catastrophes such as a relationship suddenly ending or the sudden loss of a loved one. There is no doubt that you can think of a few other examples.

Catastrophe models are just that – models. Therefore, you can plug any combining factors into them to predict when a catastrophe on a specific variable may occur.

This presentation will discuss the following:

  1. Explore what might cause Performance Catastrophes.
  2. How might we prevent ‘breaking points’  from happening
  3. What can we do about catastrophes when they occur?
  4. What has mental toughness, resilience, and extreme sporting environments have to do with catastrophes?

Nadia Portelli

  • Ultra-Trail Runner
  • PhD Researcher in Sports and Exercise Sciences – Bangor University
  • Senior Lecturer in Physics – University of Malta, Junior College


  • Ultra-Running
  • Extreme endurance
  • Cognitive depletion
  • Running pain and fatigue
  • Stress and coping strategies
  • Psychological aspects of extreme running
  • Breaking human limits




Nadia Portelli is currently conducting PhD research exploring how she and other endurance athletes fight pain, depletion, fatigue, and internal cognitive battles amongst other stressors and still persist to reach the finish line which might be days away or even in another country. Additionally, she is researching how psychological resources are used in cases of cognitive depletion during more extreme endurance sports. Nadia asserts that these psychological resources can also be translated to the ‘occupational phenomenon’ of burnout affecting increasingly different generational cohorts, especially young people; manifesting across an array of sectors including the clinical population, especially when it comes to pain and central, peripheral, and perceived fatigue.

Nadia is a Senior Lecturer in Physics at the University of Malta Junior College and is currently reading for a PhD in Sports and Exercise Sciences at Bangor University, Wales. Her specific area of interest is psychological performance in extreme ultra-running, and she is researching how ultra-trail runners use psychological resources such as mental toughness or resilience in addition to cognitive strategies to run extreme trail races in adverse conditions.

Nadia is an ultra-trail runner and has previously participated in some of the most difficult competitions around Europe. This year, she will be participating in Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), the pinnacle race of the Trail Running Summit in Chamonix, France – a gruelling 171km race with a cumulative ascent of 10,000m.


During the presentation, Nadia will discuss her use of psychological resources and cognitive coping strategies to deal with afferent feedback and environmental stressors which threaten homeostasis. She will highlight examples of her previous competitions to suggest how to manage pain, depletion, thoughts of quitting, fear, uncertainty, and failure in addition to central, peripheral, and perceived fatigue.

Nadia will discuss the importance of mental toughness, resilience, self-control, self-confidence, and motivation and how those skills enabled her to battle through obstacles such as adverse difficult mountainous terrain, while embracing the pain until reaching the finish line. When nothing seemed to be working, Nadia had to rely on her mental toughness to continue and used failure as an opportunity to grow. She will explain Ultra-Endurance vs. Conventional Endurance to critically understand how to create an environment that fosters motivation for behaviour change.

Nadia will explain the psychological techniques you can use to push your limits when you feel the exhaustion hit mentally and physically. She will conclude by uncovering how to deal with such adversities, not only physically but most importantly mentally, while highlighting how mental practice training is an essential component of holistic preparation for dealing with extreme situations.

Nuala Moore

  • Round-Ireland Relay Swim: 1,330km and 56 days swimming around Ireland
  • Two-time Guinness World Record holder – Bering Strait Relay and Cape Horn Swim
  • Two-time nominee of the World Open Water Woman of the Year Award 2014 and 2016
  • Listed three times in the top 50 of the World’s Most Adventurous Women in Open Water Swimming


Kerry-native Nuala Moore is an Irish Open Water Swimmer and an adventurer on a wider scale, mostly known for her extreme ice swims. Over the last decade, she has pushed the boundaries in some of the most dangerous icy waters and remote locations in the world. Nuala is self-coached and develops her own training plans for tackling the ice, forging a path into pushing human limits, focusing on what she believes is possible for herself. Pain was – and is – part of her journey.

Nuala is the first woman in the world under the International Ice Swimming Association rules to complete a 1,000m swim in zero-degree waters wearing only a hat, swim togs, and goggles. Nuala holds two Guinness World Records for extreme cold-water swimming – the first for her part in the first and only international relay team to swim from Russia to the USA across the Bering Strait, and the second for her pioneering cold-water swim in the notorious Drake Passage, the body of water between South America’s Cape Horn, Chile, and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. She is the first swimmer in the world to swim from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, the Drake passage, as well as being the first woman in the world to swim south of remote Cape Horn.

Nuala was also a member of a six-person team who swam around the island of Ireland in 2006 which tallied over 56 days and 1,330km. This grueling expedition of back-to-back immersions which included travelling up to 20-miles off-shore in 300m deep waters was undoubtedly one of the most courageous swims ever achieved in the world of open-water swimming.

Nuala is a pioneer, a cold-water safety specialist, coach, mentor, and an incredible endurance swimmer who has pushed the boundaries for women in extreme sports. She is an engaging, inspirational, motivational, and mostly unassuming – a normal person fighting the daily fight to be the best version of herself. Nuala is down to earth, funny, and a wonderfully witty storyteller. Success was not always the objective for Nuala – her journey was all about facing her own weaknesses and finding her strengths. By participating in extreme swimming, she focuses on the need to tap into our own emotions, where we question our weaknesses and seek out those moments of greatness which allow us to grow. Life is all about the choices within choices for Nuala.

Nuala will take you around the world where you can witness her journey of risks, endurance, and perseverance first-hand. You will gain an understanding of how her strengths and weaknesses allowed her to develop a survival and growth plan, and a guide to accepting failure as a steppingstone. She has always shown determination, surrounded herself with great people and works with the motto that we are the ‘sum of the parts’ of our successes and failures – ‘we can only swim the water in front of us because we have no mountain top.’

Who should attend this event?

This event is open invitation, but will be of particular interest to the following groups:

  • Working professionals and managers looking to build resilience, avoid ‘burn-out’, and succeed within their area of work, particularly those working within an increasingly demanding healthcare sector.

  • Athletes who are looking to elevate their game to the next level through the deliberate practice of visualisation, relaxation, and goal setting techniques.

  • Coaching staff who wish to create an optimal environment for their team to perform at the highest-level while under pressure.

What will you learn?

  • Psychological interventions to combat fear and uncertainty and remain resilient and focused in the face of extremely adverse situations.

  • How we can apply lessons from high-performing environments into our own professions, sporting endeavours, and everyday lives.

  • The application of these theories on happiness, loneliness, rumination, and self-acceptance.

  • The utilisation of self-soothing dialogue during fragmentation of the self and internal conflict.

  • The different forms of motivation presented by high-performing environments.

  • The most up-to-date theories and applied interventions in stress and performance.

  • Attentional control e.g., why we are distracted by threat.

  • Ironic effects e.g., why we do the exact things that we tell ourselves not to.

  • Reinvestment e.g., why we sometimes ‘overthink’ our movements under pressure.

  • Challenge and threat perceptions e.g., how we can optimally control our psycho-physiological responses to stress.

  • Intervention planning, design, and the development of skills and capacities that support success in everyday life.

  • Distinguish sustainable leadership behaviours that lead to high-employee engagement and low-turnover.


Tickets for this event are limited, and early booking is highly advised. Members of CBPI are eligible for discounted registration fees. You can sign-up for the event by clicking here. The pricing options are as follows:

Ticket Category CBPI Member

(Per ticket)

General Public

(Per ticket)

Early bird rate €195 €220
Regular rate €195 €235
Group rate (4+ tickets) €195 €220

Please Note: Early Bird tickets are limited and are only available until Sunday, 5th March 2023. They are allocated on a first come, first served basis.


Registration closes on April 13, 2023. Tickets for this event are limited, and early booking is highly advised. There is limited availability of tickets priced at the early bird rate. They are allocated on a first come, first served basis.

This is an in-person, participative (face-to-face) event only and it will not be live streamed or recorded.

Tickets are transferrable in the event of not being able to attend.

Registration and ticket sales are not possible on the day or at the door.

Your ticket includes access to all educational sessions and event material, ID badge, CBPI Certified – CPD (6 hours), morning coffee/tea break and lunch.

08:50am – Registration and Coffee

09:30am – Event Introduction

09:40am – Nuala Moore

10:40am – Q&A

11am – Break

11:15am – Nadia Portelli

12:30pm – Q&A

12:45pm – Lunch

1:30pm – Dr. Stuart Beattie

2:45pm – Break

2:55pm – Dr. Stuart Beattie (continued)

4pm – Q&A

4:30pm – Finish

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