Director of Sport Psychology


Robert Harmison,



Years at JMU: 1


Office Hours:

Godwin 116

Mon    8am-5pm

Wed    9am-5pm

Fri      9am-12noon


Johnston 115

by appointment



568-7959 (Johnston)

568-7347 (Godwin)


     Dr. Bob Harmison is in his first year on staff within JMU Athletics as the Director of Sport Psychology.  He also is the Kibler Professor of Sport Psychology in the Department of Graduate Psychology and the Director of the JMU Center for Sport Psychology.


     Dr. Harmison received a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas in 2000 and an M.S. in Exercise and Sport Sciences from the University of Arizona in 1994. He is a licensed psychologist in the state of Arizona, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry, and is designated as a Certified Consultant by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.


     Since 1993 Dr. Harmison has been providing sport psychology consultation services to athletes and teams, ranging from the high school through the elite, professional level.  He was a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee sport psychology staff from 1997-1999 where he provided services to 10 national teams.  Since 2000 he has been the sport psychologist for U.S. Snowboarding, including the 2002 and 2006 U.S. Olympic Snowboard teams.  His list of teams also includes the Kansas City Royals minor league baseball organization, USA women’s volleyball, University of Arizona women’s basketball, and Kansas State University men’s golf to name just a few. 


     Currently, he works with JMU athletes, teams, and coaches by helping them to develop their mental toughness, improve team unity, chemistry and leadership, create a championship team environment, and perform to their potential as individual athletes and teams.


Philosophy Regarding Mental Training for Athletes    


     “The foundation of every peak performer’s training is contained in a single word: program. Without the structure provided by a clear, step-by-step training program, the athlete can waste precious hours, or even years, seeking a path to excellence down cul-de-sacs where little or nothing is accomplished.” 


     This quote is from a book on sport psychology by Charles Garfield titled Peak Performance.  The book, given to me as a gift from my mother, served as a resource during my high school basketball and baseball playing days. It was my introduction to the concept of peak performance in sport, and the book proved to be quite helpful to me as an athlete. Even more, the book formed the foundation of my philosophical approach to doing sport psychology and ultimately shaped the very nature of my work with athletes.


     To maximize their potential and perform at their very best, I believe that athletes need to prepare themselves physically, technically, tactically, and psychologically.  My experience working with some of our nation’s and the world’s best athletes tells me that this preparation should be planned and purposeful.  As a result, I see myself in the business of helping athletes systematically prepare themselves mentally to achieve peak performances more consistently.  Thus, my work with athletes consists of helping them to develop their basic psychological skills (e.g., goal setting, visualization), advanced psychological skills (e.g., maintaining motivation, managing their confidence), and their coping skills to deal with whatever their sport and life may throw their way.