“A Blank Slate”: Preparing for Tokyo 2021 During COVID-19

in Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Nick WadsworthUniversity of Bolton

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Adam HargreavesUniversity of Bolton

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This article presents a case study of an applied consultancy experience with WL, an Olympic athlete preparing for Tokyo 2021. WL sought psychological support after decreases in performance and well-being forced them to consider their future as an athlete. COVID-19 and the lockdown of the United Kingdom were highly influential to the consultancy process, providing WL with the opportunity to explore their identity in the absence of sport. WL framed their emergence from the lockdown as a “Blank Slate,” which was a critical moment allowing them to “find themselves on and off the mat.” The sport psychologist’s existential philosophy is presented and discussed in detail. Furthermore, reflections are provided by WL’s strength and conditioning coach about the referral process and by WL themself about the efficacy of the interventions. The importance of supporting both the person and the performer when working with aspiring Olympic athletes is also discussed.

The authors are with the University of Bolton, Bolton, United Kingdom.

Wadsworth (n.wadsworth@bolton.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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