An Analysis of Olympic Sport Psychology Consultants’ Best-Ever Consulting Experiences

in The Sport Psychologist

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John PartingtonCarleton University

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Terry OrlickUniversity of Ottawa

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This article provides direct accounts of best-ever consulting experiences as well as lessons about effective consulting given by 19 sportpsych consultants who worked with Canadian athletes in preparation for the 1988 Olympic Games. These consultants attended a workshop funded by Sport Canada, organized and conducted by the authors. Findings are based on the consultants’ written answers to a preworkshop survey. Best-ever experiences were characterized in terms of the openness of athletes and coaches, how the consultation was started, time allowed to work with the athletes, and the fit of the consultant to the situation. Recommendations were also extracted from the content of audiotape recordings and written minutes of workshop discussion groups. These recommendations were directed to the following aspects of consultation: assessing commitment, defining one’s role, beginning the consultation, testing, executing the consultation, team meetings, and consultant characteristics and practices. Implications for selecting and preparing effective consultants are discussed.

John Partington is with the Department of Psychology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6. Terry Orlick is with the School of Human Kinetics at the. University of Ottawa, 125 University, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5.

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