But Why Does What Works Work? A Response to Fifer, Henschen, Gould, and Ravizza, 2008

in The Sport Psychologist
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The article “What works when working with athletes” by Fifer, Henschen, Gould, and Ravizza (2008) offers an interesting array of information and insights used by three highly experienced applied sport psychology consultants. This response article, however, contends that it may be possible to glean a further, and crucial, level of understanding by exploring the metacognition behind the selection of such courses of action. This may be provided through applied cognitive task analysis (ACTA) techniques to access the cognitive mechanisms underpinning professional practice. A suggested research direction is to use ACTA techniques such as in-depth interviews and cognitive mapping with highly experienced applied sport psychology consultants. Specifically, these techniques would enable readers to access judgments and decisions, attentional demands, critical cues and patterns, and problem solving strategies (Gore & McAndrew, 2009). This level of understanding may help to establish how these cognitive processes impact on the support provided to clients, and in turn, assist in developing more conceptually rigorous training methods.

Martindale is with the Dept. of Physical Education, Sport, and Leisure Studies, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ, Scotland, United Kingdom. Collins is with the School of Sport, Tourism, and the Outdoors, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 2HE, United Kingdom.

The Sport Psychologist
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