The present study investigated the psychological experiences of elite athletes in a team that failed using qualitative methods informed by reversal theory. Five athletes, from a national men’s volleyball team, playing in a European tournament completed a post-game review after each of 6 games. After the tournament, each player took part in in-depth semi-structured interviews, prompted by their post-game reviews. The results indicated that unrealistic expectations, poor team motivation, a negative coaching style, and faulty team process around game performance played an important role in the failure of this team. Also, inappropriate metamotivational states and state reversals were found to have had a negative impact on team performance. Several consultant recommendations for enhancing team motivation and functioning are identified.
Jonathan R. Males is with Performance 1 Ltd., Hertfordshire, UK. John H. Kerr is with the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences at Kokushikan University, Tokyo, Japan. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Joanne Thatcher is with the Department of Sport & Exercise Science at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Emma Bellew is with the School of Social Sciences at the University of Teesside, England.