Emily Kroshus and J.D. DeFreese
Athlete burnout is an important psychological health concern that may be influenced by coach behaviors. Participants were 933 collegiate soccer coaches who described their utilization of burnout prevention strategies. Deductive content analysis was used to categorize and interpret responses. The most frequently endorsed prevention strategies involved managing/limiting physical stressors. Reducing nonsport stressors and promoting autonomy and relatedness were also endorsed. Motivational climate changes and secondary prevention strategies were infrequently reported. These findings can help inform the design of educational programming to ensure that all coaches are aware of the range of ways in which they can help prevent athlete burnout.
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Meghan S. Ingstrup, Amber D. Mosewich, and Nicholas L. Holt
The purpose of this study was to explore factors that contributed to the development of self-compassion among highly self-compassionate women varsity athletes. More specifically, the research question was: how did women varsity athletes with high self-compassion perceive they became self-compassionate? To purposefully sample participants, 114 women varsity athletes completed the Self-Compassion Scale (Neff, 2003b). Ten athletes with high self-compassion scores then participated in individual interviews and a follow-up second interview. Data were analyzed using interpretive phenomenological analysis (Smith & Osborn, 2003). Analysis produced three main themes that contributed to the development of self-compassion: (a) role of parents (seeking and receiving help from parents, parents teaching self-kindness, parents putting experiences in perspective); (b) gaining self-awareness; and (c) learning from others (peers, siblings, coaches, sport psychologists). These findings provide insights into the ways in which self-compassion can be learned and taught, and have implications for practitioners who work with women athletes.
Joanne E. Perry, Michael Ross, Jeremiah Weinstock, and Terri Weaver
Research has supported mindfulness as a predictor of athletic success. This study used a parallel trial design to examine the benefit of a brief one-session mindfulness training for performance on an individual, nonpacing, closed skill athletic task (i.e., golf putting). All participants (N = 65) answered questionnaires and engaged in two trials of the putting task. Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention or control group using a simple randomization strategy. Between trials, the intervention group received a mindfulness intervention. Mindfulness intervention included psychoeducation, reflection upon previous sport experiences, an experiential exercise, and putting applications. Repeated-measures ANOVAs demonstrated that the intervention group exhibited more successful outcomes on objective putting performance, flow state experience, and state anxiety (p < .05). Results suggest mindfulness may prevent performance deterioration and could produce psychological benefits after a brief training session.
Stacy L. Gnacinski, William V. Massey, Courtney W. Hess, Mellanie M. Nai, Monna Arvinen-Barrow, and Barbara B. Meyer
To enhance the specificity of psychological skills training (PST) interventions, the purpose of the current study was to examine stage of change and gender differences in the combination of transtheoretical model (TTM) constructs (i.e., decisional balance pros and cons, self-efficacy, cognitive and behavioral processes of change) among collegiate student-athletes. Participants (N = 602) completed all TTM measures, and a factorial multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to examine the effects of stage of change and gender on the combination of TTM constructs. No significant interaction effect was identified, yet significant main effects of stage of change and gender were identified. Post hoc tests revealed unique linear combinations of decisional balance, self-efficacy, and processes of change for each stage of change contrast. Taken together, study findings may be used to enhance the specificity of behavior change interventions when delivering PST programs to both male and female collegiate student-athletes.
Jack A. G. Marlow and Mark Uphill
This study explored the characteristics, contextual factors and consequences of counterfactual thoughts in seven elite athletes using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Counterfactuals were experienced regularly with self-directed and upward counterfactuals (cognitions about how things could be better) being most frequent. These upward counterfactuals typically occurred following performance that was below participants’ goals and expectations. These thoughts were perceived by participants to have a negative affect initially, and that they then led to facilitative behavioral consequences around learning and development. Some elements of counterfactual thinking could be used as a useful reflective tool to encourage elite athletes to problem solve and motivate cognitive, emotional and behavioral change to enhance future performance.
Rory Mack, Jeff Breckon, Joanne Butt, and Ian Maynard
The purpose of this study was to explore how sport and exercise psychologists working in sport understand and use motivational interviewing (MI). Eleven practitioners participated in semistructured interviews, and inductive thematic analysis identified themes linked to explicit use of MI, such as building engagement and exploring ambivalence to change; the value of MI, such as enhancing the relationship, rolling with resistance and integrating with other approaches; and barriers to the implementation of MI in sport psychology, such as a limited evidence-base in sport. Findings also indicated considerable implicit use of MI by participants, including taking an athlete-centered approach, supporting athlete autonomy, reflective listening, demonstrating accurate empathy, and taking a nonprescriptive, guiding role. This counseling style appears to have several tenets to enhance current practice in sport psychology, not least the enhancement of therapeutic alliance.
Johannes Raabe, Tucker Readdy, and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek
Coaching is characterized by an inherent pathos between the goals coaches hope to accomplish and those that are realized (Jones & Wallace, 2005). Coaches can actively enhance the likelihood of optimal outcomes through orchestration, a process of incremental coping intended to create improvement in performance (Jones & Wallace, 2005). The current study explored to what extent pathos also manifests in the lives of elite athletes and whether they engage in processes consistent with orchestration. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I student-athletes. Primarily deductive analysis of the qualitative data provided confirmation for four domains: (a) sources of ambiguity created by coaches, (b) other sources of ambiguity within student-athletes’ experiences, (c) attempted strategies for orchestrating the pathos, and (d) relationships are crucial for navigating the pathos. The findings potentially offer an approach to understanding the challenges athletes face, which allows coaches to more accurately provide assistance.