A case study design was used to (a) describe the process and identify the content of the verbal interactions between an eminent mental training consultant and five elite level athletes during ten sessions, and to (b) compare the analyzed sessions with the consultant’s published approach on mental training. The sources of information included the audio recordings of the mental training sessions, the interviews with the consultant, the interviews with the athletes, and two articles published by the consultant. An adapted version of the Flanders’ (1965) Interaction Analysis in the Classroom was used to systematically code the process, and a content analysis was performed on the transcripts of the mental training sessions and interviews. During the sessions, the consultant’s verbal behaviors accounted for 39% of the total coded behaviors leaving 60% for the athletes and 1% for silence. The content analysis revealed that up to 24 topics were addressed in each session (often the athletes would “unload”) where certain issues had a more frequent word count. The analysis of the content and process revealed that the consultant follows an athlete-centered approach that corresponds to the consultant’s published perspective.
The authors are with the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5 Canada.