Aston Villa have appointed performance psychologist Tom Bates.

He was recruited from Championship rivals Brentford by director of football Steve Round.

Bates previously worked for Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion and Brentford.

Round confirmed the appointment at a meeting of the Fans Consultation Group (FCG).

Notes from the meeting appeared in the matchday programme for the game against Cardiff City.

Here’s what Round said about the new arrival:

Round on Bates

Sports psychology and culture is massive now in modern elite sports. I have brought in Tom Bates from Brentford who now now heads up that department.

I did a search nationwide to find the best sports psychologist/performance coach that I could.

It happened to be Tom – he had worked at West Brom, Bournemouth, Birmingham and he was currently at Brentford so I was really pleased to get him.

He’s had a massive impact. Not only with the players individually but just the resonance of the training ground – that was important. Confidence is building.

Round on sports psychology

Sports psychology in football has been a bit of a taboo. People have doubted it – does it work?

But every other sport takes it and uses it massively.

The advent of neuroscience has now dictated that psychology is real and is measured and it’s appropriate to many issues but sport especially and I wanted somebody in because I sense that.

Aston Villa had lost its way a little bit culturally in the training ground environment.

People are positive or negative depending on the results and the situation but I felt internally we needed to rediscover what Aston Villa really is.

It’s a football club not a “brand” or “commercial tool”. I wanted that heartbeat to come back but I also recognised that there’s a hangover after a few years of decline so we needed to flip that mentality.

This article first appeared in the Birmingham Mail

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