CSUN Athletics Partners with Sport Psychologist Dr. Ashley A. Samson


Ashley A. Samson, Ph. D., will join CSUN athletics this fall as a sport psychology consultant, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Brandon E. Martin announced Tuesday.  Dr. Samson has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology since 2011 and will work with the coaches, individual student-athletes and teams to assist with the psychological element of performance and competition.

“Student-athlete welfare is our top priority as a department,” said Dr. Brandon E. Martin, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. “The addition of Dr. Samson supports the development of our student-athletes and is a vital step towards achieving our goal of comprehensive excellence.”

Dr. Samson will focus on performance enhancement and the development of the holistic athlete by helping student-athletes and coaches understand the mental factors of their performance. She will instruct teams on theories, research and techniques of mental skills training as it applies to the program, such as goal setting, communication and sport-life balance.  Through Dr. Samson’s research, CSUN student-athletes and coaches will also be participating in pilot study to test the effectiveness of a cutting-edge software program designed to act as a daily ‘check-in’ on their mental states.

Dr. Samson currently teaches courses in sport psychology and sport sociology, and has served as a sport psychology consultant for the CSUN soccer, softball, men’s golf, women’s volleyball and athletic training programs. Her research focuses primarily on motivation in endurance athletes, but has recently expanded to the areas of loss aversion, emotional contagion, self-talk, women's sports, and the impacts of social culture on athlete perceptions. 

“In CSUN Athletics’ new era of ‘Comprehensive Excellence,’ I think that adding this component [sport psychology] to the program is an essential step to ensure the continued success of our Matador athletes and I commend Dr. Martin on his support of this partnership,” added Dr. Samson. “It is easy to forget that while the physical body is doing the work and performing those essential skills for sport, it is the mind that is driving the body. Thus, developing ‘mental fitness’ is just as important as physical fitness for our student-athletes.”

Dr. Samson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Northwestern State University (2006) and completed her Master of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sport Psychology from the University of North Texas the following year. She joined the faculty at CSUN in 2011 after earning her doctorate in Kinesiology with a concentration in Psychological Sciences from Louisiana State University.

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