OXFORD United’s latest off the pitch recruit is hoping she can unlock the best from players by helping them deal with high-pressure situations.

Having also worked as the lead sport psychologist at Swim England for six years, Dr Hannah Stoyel arrives at United with a wealth of experience in the industry.

Stoyel joins the U’s as a performance psychologist, with one goal to help make players at the club retain focus when they’re on the pitch.

She said: “I’m here as a performance psychologist – that means I’m looking to upskill the mental and emotional side.

“In these beginning weeks, I’m getting to know everybody and getting a sense of the demands placed upon players at this club.

“My main role is to listen so I listen well.

“Then I’m really able to take in what it is about that individual player as a person first and foremost, and as an athlete.

“What we want in pressured situations is to do what comes naturally to us.

“We want players to feel natural and let everything go that is external.”

She added: “We want people who really feel amazing and confident in what they do because if they’re not bringing any baggage mentally, they’re free to play their football that they know they can play.

“That marginal gain comes from that freedom.”

In addition to her role with Swim England, Stoyel has also worked as a performance psychologist working with British Diving at the English Institute of Sport, and as a sports psychologist with female academy players at Sky Bet Championship side Reading.

On the move to United, Stoyel said: “Oxford came at the right time in the right place, I was looking for a new challenge.

“I knew some of the staff here – there was a position opening so I applied, got to know everyone and it’s a great fit.”

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With such a strong background in aquatic sports, Stoyel is confident she can transfer skills from that area into her position with the U’s.

“The sports psychology and the science behind what I do stays the same, it’s about applying that science to the individual,” she said.

“There’s lots of things we can take from other sports, but the psychology is the same.”

She added: “It’s another way of helping players be their best selves.

“I think without the psychology, we sometimes don’t recognise what we’re good at.

“We also need to look at where we need to improve, if we can maximise our own strengths and minimise the weaknesses that are sinking our boat.”