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The present study was designed to identify (a) the backgrounds of U.S. Olympic sport psychology consultants, (b) the services they provide, (c) their own evaluation of those services, and (d) the problems they encounter as well as their recommendations for improving programs. Forty-four of 47 sport psychology consultants who were identified as working with sports affiliated with the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1984 to 1988 completed extensive surveys. Results revealed that the consultants represented 20 sports and were well trained in sport psychology. They were most frequently involved in individual athlete consultations, athlete group seminars, and individual coach consultations. Intervention techniques used most often included goal setting, relaxation training, arousal regulation, imagery-visualization, and self-talk. The consultants also indicated that the most frequently experienced problems were lack of program funding, poor scheduling and logistics, poor interaction with coaches, and lack of time to work with athletes. The need to individualize sport psychology strategies with athletes was identified as the most meaningful recommendation for the future.
Daniel Gould is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27412. Vance Tammen is with the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801. Shane Murphy is with the Department of Sport Psychology, U.S. Olympic Complex, Colorado Springs, CO 80909. Jerry May is with the School of Medicine at the University of Nevada-Reno, Reno, NV 89557.
This project was made possible through a grant given to the U.S. Olympic Committee Sports Medicine Council from the U.S. Olympic Foundation. Moreover, much of this work was completed when the first author was in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Finally, special appreciation is extended to all the National Governing Body sport psychology consultants who so freely gave of their time to participate in the project.