An Evaluation of a Mental Toughness Education and Training Program for Early-Career English Football League Referees

in The Sport Psychologist

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Liam A. SlackProfessional Game Match Officials Limited

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Ian W. MaynardSheffield Hallam University

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Joanne ButtSheffield Hallam University

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Peter OlusogaSheffield Hallam University

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The present study evaluated the effectiveness of a Mental Toughness Education and Training Program (MTETP) in elite football officiating. The MTETP consisted of four individual and two group-based workshops designed to develop mental toughness (MT) and enhance performance in three English Football League (EFL) referees. Adopting a single-subject, multiple-baseline-across-participants design, MT and referee-assessor reports were evaluated. Self and coach-ratings of MT highlighted an instant and continued improvement in all three referees during the intervention phases. Performance reports of all referees improved throughout the intervention phases compared with the baseline phase. Social validation data indicated that an array of strategies within the MTETP facilitated MT development. Discussions acknowledge theoretical and practical implications relating to the continued progression of MT interventions in elite sport.

Liam A. Slack is with the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, London, UK. Maynard, Butt, and Olusoga are with the Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK.

Address author correspondence to Liam A. Slack at lslack@pgmol.com.
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