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This study explored the phenomenon of the role episode in sport. Performance profiles and interviews were conducted with 11 male collegiate soccer players to identify the factors that contributed to the formation of positive perceptions of role states and the consequences for the individual and team. Role clarity developed via a combination of learning through implicit experiences in the sport and explicit instruction from role senders. Role acceptance formed through the focal person’s perceptions of the assigned performance role and the role sender. Positive perceptions of role states were suggested to improve performance by enhancing individual and group-related variables, including role satisfaction, group cohesion, and collective efficacy. The findings highlight the significance of understanding the factors that contribute to a positive role episode in sport and present implications for future team-building interventions.
Stephen D. Mellalieu is with the Department of Sports Science, Swansea University, United Kingdom. E-mail: S.D.Mellalieu@swan.ac.uk. Scott W. Juniper is founder of Psimax Performance Solutions in Irvine, CA. E-mail: Scott@psimax.net.