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Poczwardowski’s passions align with sport and performance program at DU

Artur Poczwardowski, associate professor of sport and performance psychology, is passionate about advancing people into excellence in every area of their lives.

“We tend to emphasize sport, but we want people to experience excellence in living in all aspects—health, relationships, work and sport,” says Poczwardowski, who teaches at DU’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP).

Poczwardowski discovered his passion when he was a high-level athlete in his native country of Poland. He was a prominent collegiate judo athlete and was ranked fifth in the country at one time.

“When I started to compete at a national level, I learned that the mental component was key,” he says.

He went on to be a sport psychology consultant for Poland’s Olympic judo team as they prepared for the 1992 games in Barcelona. That year, Waldemar Legień took gold for Poland in the middleweight competition.

Poczwardowski enjoyed working with athletes, but wanted to expand his clientele. He opened a private practice to help scholars and businessmen with performance techniques.

In 1993, he sought further education in the area of sport and performance psychology, but could not find a university in Poland that offered an advanced degree in the field. He and his wife moved to the United States so he could attend the University of Utah, where he graduated in 1997 with a PhD in psychosocial aspects of sport.

“It is very hard to find a program where sport and performance are equally emphasized,” Poczwardowski says. “It is one of the reasons GSPP is a fantastic place to work.”

Poczwardowski wants his students to get hands-on training in both areas. While his graduate students can coach or consult with individual athletes or teams, they also conduct workshops for international students attending DU who need help with stage fright or public presentations.

“We are very fortunate and thrilled to have Artur join the sport and performance psychology faculty at the GSPP,” says Mark Aoyagi, director of the program. “He is right at the top of the list of the best regarded professionals in our field, and our students and faculty both look forward to benefitting from his expertise.”

In addition to his full-time teaching responsibilities, Poczwardowski and his wife run Planet Excellence Sports.

“The consulting practice focuses equally on enhancing enjoyment derived from sports and performance itself,” he says.

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