Dr Kirsten van Heerden | SASCOC - SASCOC
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Dr Kirsten van Heerden

Dr Kirsten van Heerden – Chairperson of Psychology in Sport Commission

Dr Kirsten van Heerden is one of a handful of people in South Africa to have both represented her country on the sports field and also hold a PhD in the area of sport psychology. She has worked and travelled extensively with high performance athletes and teams for more than 10 years and her services and techniques have been used by many Olympians, World Champions as well as the South African Netball, Polocrosse and Endurance Riding teams.
Kirsten works with multiple sporting bodies and associations, advising and creating content for their programmes and initiatives. She is currently regional and national player development manager for the South African Cricketers Association’s Player Plus programme and runs mental and life skills and research programmes with the South African Jockey Academy. She is also involved in various international sports programmes.
She is also a keen advocate for women in sport and is chairwomen of Girls Only Project, a non-profit company focusing on providing a platform for elite female athletes to share their stories and experiences of what it means to be a female athlete and giving girls and women an opportunity to talk about their own struggles and successes in sport.
Her doctoral thesis was the first to examine issues of identity in elite athletes within a multiple identity framework, and she currently writing a book on the challenges elite athletes face when they retire.
Kirsten is currently in private practice in Durban