Consultancy Under Pressure: Intervening in the “Here and Now” With an Elite Golfer

in Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 Aspire Academy
  • 2 University of South Wales
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This case study is a reflective account of a consultation with a 30-year-old male professional golfer. The approach by the player was made on the evening prior to the final round of a European Tour event, needing a top-20 finish on the final day of the tournament year. Failure to achieve this objective would have resulted in forfeiting of his playing privileges on the PGA European Tour for the following season, with the associated loss of income and, in this case, genuine threats to his livelihood. The consultant used a number of interventions (e.g., best-performance imagery, external focus of attention, hypnosis, and music) and an approach established in humanistic, phenomenological, and transpersonal psychology. Effectiveness was determined by performance and the player’s descriptions of his transcendental experience. The client provided social validation for the consultation approach and the intervention through his reflections. The intervention in this case appeared to elevate positive emotions and trigger a transcendental precursor to peak performance. While this type of intervention may provide immediate performance benefits for golfers experiencing low self-confidence, the case study also illustrates how consultants are often asked to support athletes under severe time constraints.

Pates is with Aspire Academy, Aspire Zone, Doha, Qatar. Kingston is with the University of South Wales, Pontypridd, United Kingdom.

Pates (j.pates@btinternet.com) is corresponding author.
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