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Esports Coaching: Applying a Constraints-Led Approach to Develop Team Coordination and Communication

Kabir Bubna, Michael G. Trotter, and Matthew Watson

The current case study reports on the application of a novel coaching approach in the context of a semiprofessional League of Legends team competing in Europe. The case study aimed to develop the coordinative tendencies of the team by applying a constraints-led approach that manipulated the practice environment to promote specific goal-directed behavior. The present study outlines the objectives of League of Legends, the needs analysis, intervention development, intervention delivery, and feedback from the players in regard to the effectiveness of the intervention and their development. Finally, the present study provides personal reflections from the practitioner, who was applying contemporary skill-acquisition approaches in esports for the first time.

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Behind the Curtains of Elite Esports: A Case Study From a Holistic Ecological Approach to Talent Development

Ismael Pedraza-Ramirez, Bernadette Ramaker, Ole Winthereik Mathorne, Matthew Watson, and Sylvain Laborde

This case study utilized the holistic ecological approach to talent development as a framework to examine the structure and influence of an elite League of Legends environment. We conducted semistructured interviews with five elite male players (M age = 20.2, SD age = 2.95) and three elite coaches (M age = 24.67, SD age = 3.21). In addition, observations were implemented in situ to gather important information about the daily life experiences of the esports players and coaches. Findings suggest that this environment’s organizational culture was significantly influenced by interactions within the microenvironment, leading to the development of healthy relationships between players and coaches, impacting development and performance. Given the findings, we offer several salient applied implications for practitioners in elite esports, notably, the importance of understanding a team’s organizational culture alongside working at a one-to-one level. Furthermore, practitioners can educate coaches in optimizing a learning environment and support them in mitigating the challenges of a volatile industry.

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A Reflective Account of Delivering Multilevel Sport Psychology Support in Professional League of Legends

Matthew Ashford and Laura Swettenham

This case study follows the journey of a trainee sport and exercise psychologist who provided sport psychology support to a top-tier, professional League of Legends team across a competitive season. The purpose of this case study is to highlight some of the pertinent professional and contextual demands associated with the process of embedding a three-level (e.g., individual, team, coach) sport psychology service at the professional level of esports. Specifically, a detailed account of the micro-processes involved in the design and delivery of the sport psychology support are offered, along with critical reflections on the lead author’s professional judgements throughout the case in relation to their model of practice and the contextual factors faced. It is hoped this case study can provide a granular and thoughtful account of how to provide sport psychology support at the professional level in League of Legends.

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A Case Study of a Senior High-Performance Leader Managing Psychological Effects During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Andrew P. Friesen and Tom Patrick

The potential scope for qualified sport psychology service providers is broadening. Recent empirical research and associated commentaries have highlighted the opportunity for applied sport psychology professionals to apply concepts and experiences toward having a positive effect on athletes’ training environment. This case study details a high-performance leader within an Australian national training institute who is also a trained sport psychology practitioner, attempting to optimize psychological effects in the time leading up to the Tokyo 2020 (i.e., 2021) Olympic Games. The objective was to meet or exceed medal targets though the provision of a strong, team-led approach where activity to achieve high-performance outcomes was prioritized but in a manner that leveraged strong professional relationships and through the prioritization of everyone’s mental and emotional health whenever practicably achievable.

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Volume 8 (2024): Issue 1 (Jan 2024)

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Volume 8 (2024): Issue S1 (Jan 2024): Esports Horizon-Expanding the Realms of Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Person-Centered Sport Psychology Practice: A Framework for Working With Emotions and Complex Processes

Sahen Gupta and Elaine Duncan

Person-centered therapy (PCT) is a client-centered therapeutic approach that focuses on the practitioner–client relationship and has been shown to be an effective practice approach when working with clients presenting complex emotional experiences. We provide a brief outline of PCT theory and specific practice techniques for working with emotions in applied sport psychology practice. By adopting a case-report methodology, we outline self-charting and clearing a space, which can be applied when working with complex emotions in the sport context. This case report contributes to the literature as the first study to provide a framework for PCT application in applied sport psychology. By providing a “how-to-apply” framework, we aim to show how to apply these techniques in practice using “in vivo” session transcripts. Evaluations of interventions and reflections are demonstrated, which will provide practitioners with a case example and recommendations for context-sensitive application of PCT.

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Using an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Approach for Fear of (Re)Injury With a Competitive Figure Skater

Samuel Wood and Martin J. Turner

This case study outlines the sport psychology service delivery provided to an 18-year-old competitive figure skater. The client reported fearing (re)injury in training following her return to sport, which hindered her performance and concentration in training. An acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) intervention was implemented over six sessions across a 3-month period. The ACT matrix was used to conceptualize the client’s “stuckness” and provide a foundation for the strategies and techniques implemented. The aim of our work was to increase psychological flexibility, helping the client sit with, rather than change or remove, her unhelpful thoughts, moving her toward the athlete she wanted to be. This case reports how psychological flexibility was achieved through exercises to help the client “unhook” from her thoughts around fear of injury. Reflections from the client and practitioner capture the evaluation of the service delivery process.

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What It Means To Be an Applied Exercise Psychologist: Reflections From 2003 to 2023

Paula M. Watson

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Reflections and Lessons Learned From a Career in Sport Psychology

Judy L. Van Raalte