“I Realized It Was a Different Kind of Culture to Other Sports”: An Exploration of Sport Psychology Service Provision and Delivery in Gaelic Games

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Patricia C. Jackman School of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, United Kingdom

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Aoife Lane Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Technological University of the Shannon, Athlone, Ireland
Gaelic Games Sport Science Working Group, Athlone, Ireland

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David Tod Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom

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Matthew D. Bird School of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, United Kingdom

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In this article, we present two studies that provide the first evidence on sport psychology services in Gaelic games. In Study 1, 36 participants providing support for mental aspects of performance in Gaelic games completed a survey that ascertained an initial insight into practitioners and the services they provided in this context. Findings of Study 1 suggested considerable engagement with psychology support in Gaelic games but also highlighted a range of challenges with service delivery. In Study 2, we interviewed 11 sport psychology consultants to understand the active ingredients that contribute to context-driven sport psychology in Gaelic games and the role of contextual intelligence. Findings from Study 2 offered insights into how participants shaped their services to the context and how the active ingredients for effective service delivery, including working alliances, buy-in, and engagement with individuals within the performance environment, could be enabled or constrained in this context.

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