Enhancing the Mental Performance of Head Coaches in Professional Sports: A Case Study of Collaboration With the Head Coach of a Professional Basketball Team

in Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 Cleveland Indians Baseball Organization, Rutgers University
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This case reflects the approach used by a sport and performance psychologist with the head coach of a professional basketball team in the United States to enhance the mental performance of the coach. As part of his independent practice, the psychologist worked with the head coach in assisting that individual in developing and improving his mental performance. The approach was considered a collaboration between the head coach and the psychologist. Following an assessment of the coach’s mental and emotional needs, an individual mental performance development plan was formulated with the active involvement of the coach; the plan included several separate yet interrelated elements: (a) purpose and goals, (b) plan activities and their implementation, and (c) progress evaluation. In addition to a description of the collaborative approach, information is provided in this case about the implementation of the plan by the coach, as well as about the progress made toward his mental performance development goals. Furthermore, an evaluation of the approach is presented in terms of its practicality, utility, propriety, and technical relevance. Finally, practitioner reflections are offered along with suggestions for when such an approach may be useful for practitioners in working with coaches in professional sports and college settings.

Maher (cmaher@indians.com) is with the Cleveland Indians Baseball Organization, Cleveland, OH, USA, and emeritus, Rutgers University.

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