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Kenshi’s Experiences of Sword Fighting in Kendo: The Way of Ippon With Soul, Sword, and Body

Takahiro Sato, Peter R. Jensen, and Craig A. Wrisberg

In response to recent calls for promoting the contextual intelligence of sport psychology practitioners, the aim of the current study was to obtain the first-person competitive experiences of kendo fighters (i.e., kenshi). Existential phenomenological interviews were conducted with eight competitive Japanese-American kenshi residing in the United States. The findings of thematic analysis indicated that the participants possessed a strong commitment to earning ippon (i.e., a valid point), which was achieved by a subjective synchronization of mind, sword, and body in the execution of a strike against an opponent. They considered this to be a transformative experience, which elevated them perceptually out of the sporting context to a momentary sense of “cutting” the opponent with a real sword. The current findings also offer sport psychology consultants possible context-specific insights (e.g., importance of seme) and strategies (e.g., management of attentional focus, self-regulation techniques) for assisting kenshi in preparing for competitive situations.

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Multicultural Training and Program Climate in Master’s Degree Sport Psychology Programs

Macey Arnold and Trent Petrie

Key governing bodies (e.g., Association for Applied Sport Psychology) recognize that graduate programs must prepare multiculturally competent practitioners. Students and recent graduates of sport psychology master’s degree programs (N = 107, M age = 26.32, SD = 5.19) reported moderate levels of feeling safe, valued, and comfortable within their program; low to moderate levels of multicultural training integration; and low to moderate satisfaction with their multicultural training. Students of Color (n = 42) compared to White students (n = 63) reported less satisfaction with their multicultural training; felt less safe, comfortable, and valued; and perceived less multicultural integration. Furthermore, perceptions of multicultural training integration and of feeling safe, comfortable, and valued were significantly related to satisfaction with their multicultural training. Training programs are advised to improve integration of multicultural training, invest in program climate to help students feel safe and valued, and ensure continuing education of faculty members.

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A Penny for Your Thoughts: Athletes’ and Trainee Sport Psychologists’ Internal Dialogue During Consultations

David Tod, Hayley E. McEwan, Amy E. Whitehead, and Daryl Marchant

The purpose of this study was to explore the internal dialogue of trainee sport psychologists (TSPs) and athletes immediately following athlete–practitioner consultations. TSPs (four male and three female, age 22–32 years) and athletes (four male, three female, age 19–29 years) completed a thought-listing procedure twice, while watching video recordings of their previous consultations. The thought-listing procedure involved participants’ pausing the video to record the in-session internal dialogue they had experienced during the consultation. Participants’ responses were categorized into six dimensions: time, place, focus, locus, orientation, and mode. TSPs’ and athletes’ retrospective accounts provided evidence that their in-session internal dialogue was (a) present focused, (b) about in-session material, (c) about the athletes or themselves, (d) about internal and external events, (e) professional (i.e., related to the session), and (f) neutral. Findings provide trainees and inexperienced practitioners with insights into the thought content of TSPs and athletes to guide their own athlete interactions.

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A Collective Case Study of Parent–Athlete–Coach Triads in British Youth Tennis

Ella F. Tagliavini, Chris G. Harwood, Sophia Jowett, and Sam N. Thrower

While important for athletic development and well-being in youth sport, knowledge remains limited around the processes underpinning triadic relationships between parents, athletes, and coaches. This study aimed to examine the relational processes that drive the functioning of parent–athlete–coach triads across three developmental stages of youth tennis. Using a collective-case-study design, 10 players, 10 coaches, and 9 mothers completed preinterview tasks and semistructured interviews and provided conversational history. Reflexive thematic analysis led to the generation of two higher order themes: foundations of relationship quality and factors enabling team effectiveness. Findings highlighted how specific relationship qualities (i.e., commitment, trust, respect, and parent–coach proximity) and team effectiveness constructs (i.e., shared goals, collaborative and adjusted roles, support, and role-specific communication) served to facilitate the tennis experience for triads. Scholars are encouraged to consider integrating small-group principles (e.g., team building) into tailored support programs that address the psychosocial needs of the triad.

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Volume 37 (2023): Issue 4 (Dec 2023)

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Having a Goal Up Your Sleeve: Promoting a Mastery Climate in a Youth Football Academy Team

Niels N. Rossing, Michael Lykkeskov, Luc J. Martin, and Ludvig Johan Torp Rasmussen

In sport, there is extensive evidence that supports the benefits associated with a mastery climate. However, limited studies have explored how physical tools could be used to promote mastery climates in youth sport contexts. Using an action research approach, we sought to understand the benefits and drawbacks of applying tools grounded in goal setting to promote a mastery environment: (a) an “arm sleeve” to be worn by athletes during training and matches and (b) a “reflection sheet” for use pre- and posttraining/-matches. These tools were implemented for a 3-week period with a U13 academy team (18 players and two coaches). Based on observation notes, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews, the analysis showed that the arm sleeves were helpful reminders for process goals, whereas the coaches had abandoned the use of reflection sheets due to lack of time. The benefits and drawbacks of the tools are discussed while pedagogical and practical implications are considered.

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Australian Football Coaches’ Tales of Mental Toughness: Exploring the Sociocultural Roots

Stephanie J. Tibbert, Mark B. Andersen, Tony Morris, and Christopher Mesagno

The present study explored how three professional Australian football coaches learned and understood mental toughness. Participants shared stories regarding mental toughness through semistructured interviews. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to interpret the data. Creative nonfiction was employed to develop a composite story. All participants’ voices contributed equally to the narrative, which follows Sam (our composite coach) through three periods in his career: as a junior player, an elite footballer, and, finally, a coach in the professional football environment. Mental toughness was fundamentally determined by the sociocultural environment in which one was immersed. Athletes and coaches were expected to internalize dominant understandings of mental toughness and reinforce ideals and were punished if they deviated from mentally tough standards set up in their clubs. Mental toughness was defined by various values, beliefs, and norms that originated from the sociocultural environment, indicating the importance of context in understanding the roots of being mentally tough.

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Bulletin Board

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Identifying Predictors of Burnout and Health of Certified Mental Performance Consultants

Anthony Magdaleno and Barbara B. Meyer

Researchers have established factors that impair (e.g., stress) or facilitate (e.g., occupational recovery) health among professionals operating in sport and performance (e.g., coaches). However, there is a paucity of research examining factors that impair or facilitate the health of sport psychology professionals. Given that sport psychology professionals have an obligation to manage their health to maintain effective service provision, research is needed to fill this gap. The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of burnout and health among certified mental performance consultants. Participants completed measures of perceived stress, burnout, occupational recovery, and health-related quality of life. Regression results, including a moderator analysis, indicated that perceived stress and occupational recovery predicted burnout, while occupational recovery moderated the relationship between perceived stress and burnout. Perceived stress and burnout further predicted health-related quality of life. Recommendations include certified mental performance consultants spending nonwork time in low-effort and/or physical activities, as well as exerting autonomy over nonwork time.

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Client-Led Applied Sport Psychology Practitioners’ Narratives About Helping Athletes

David Tod, Hayley E. McEwan, Colum Cronin, and Moira Lafferty

The current study explored how applied sport psychology practitioners adopting client-led stances described two of their athlete interactions. Applied sport psychology practitioners (8 female and 12 male, mean age = 33.76 years, SD = 4.70), describing themselves as client-led practitioners, discussed two athlete consultancies during open-ended interviews. Data analysis involved examining the narrative structure of practitioners’ stories and identifying the features of client-led service delivery present in the accounts. The participants’ stories reflected a collaborative empiricism narrative in which they collaborated with athletes to resolve client issues. The stories contained features of client-led person-centered therapy and the use of practitioner-led techniques and interventions. The results point to applied implications such as providing accounts of service delivery on which practitioners can reflect as they consider the ways they wish to help clients.