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Fun, Failure, and Fulfillment: A Case-Study Approach to Informal Athlete Leadership in Minor League Baseball

Philip D. Imholte, Jedediah E. Blanton, and Michelle M. McAlarnen

The purpose of this study was to crystalize a single case of informal athlete leadership in Minor League Baseball (MiLB) during the 2015 season. Teammates and coaches of a Class A MiLB team voted for the highlighted participant as the best athlete leader on the team. The first author conducted 8 individual semistructured interviews with the participant, 2 coaches, and 5 teammates. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis and open-ended prompts based on leadership and athlete literature, the first author learned about the highlighted participant’s emergence as a leader on a team without formal leadership titles. Findings revealed 4 main themes: navigating personal on-the-field failure, fulfilling others’ expectations, helping teammates manage emotions, and fostering a fun working environment. Findings also indicated 1 foundational theme, having a philosophy, that grounded the 4 main themes. Implications for athlete leadership development and future directions for athlete leadership research are discussed.

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A Mental Warm-Up for Athletes

Britton W. Brewer, Adisa Haznadar, Dylan Katz, Judy L. Van Raalte, and Albert J. Petitpas

The purpose of this research was to develop and evaluate a 5-min structured mental warm-up involving aspects of goal setting, imagery, arousal regulation, and positive self-talk. Results of a study that featured a pretest–posttest design with 101 male youth soccer players (Study 1) and a study that featured a repeated-measures experimental design with 29 female intercollegiate soccer players (Study 2) indicated that executing the mental warm-up was associated with significantly greater readiness to perform and to use mental skills to enhance performance. In Study 3, 30 male high school soccer players used the mental warm-up daily over a competitive season and rated it as acceptable (albeit less so than their physical warm-up) at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the season. The findings suggest that a mental warm-up is both acceptable to athletes and potentially useful in helping them prepare for training and competition.

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A Qualitative Exploration of Division I Tennis Players Completing the Mindfulness Meditation Training for Sport 2.0 Program

Trevor Cote, Amy Baltzell, and Robert Diehl

The present study examined college tennis players’ experience of the 6-hr sport-tailored mindfulness- and self-compassion-based intervention Mindfulness Meditation Training for Sport 2.0 (MMTS 2.0). Nine college athletes participated in individual semistructured interviews. Interview results revealed that the athletes perceived the mindfulness and self-compassions skills as valuable tools to respond optimally to adversity through observing, accepting, and offering self-compassion toward negative internal states on and off the court. The mindfulness and self-compassion skills were described as creating enhanced ability to overcome challenges and improve focus on the court and an enhanced quality of life off the court, including self-reported well-being markers. The participants also noted several challenges in completing the program (i.e., discomfort meditating, lack of independent practice, and hectic schedule as a student-athlete). These findings provide insight into how the delivery of mindfulness and self-compassion skills in a time-limited environment helps male and female athletes combat competition distress.

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A Review of the Sport-Injury and -Rehabilitation Literature: From Abstraction to Application

Courtney W. Hess, Stacy L. Gnacinski, and Barbara B. Meyer

Despite advancements in sport-injury rehabilitation theory and intervention design, return-to-play outcomes remain suboptimal. To explore the current knowledge base in sport-injury rehabilitation, the authors use an existing framework to review and outline gaps in the sport-injury evidence base. Through the lens of this framework they highlight the dearth of literature exploring how professionals approach rehabilitation, which may be one of several factors contributing to persistently poor rehabilitation outcomes. To begin addressing the identified gap in practice, the authors hypothetically apply 3 established team-based approaches from other rehabilitation domains to a single sport-injury case study to provide concrete examples of how team-based practice approaches can be effectively used in the sport domain. Professional-practice implications are discussed alongside areas for future research.

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Volume 33 (2019): Issue 3 (Sep 2019)

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Sport Psychology Consultants’ Perspectives on Facilitating Sport-Injury-Related Growth

Ross Wadey, Kylie Roy-Davis, Lynne Evans, Karen Howells, Jade Salim, and Ceri Diss

Despite recent conceptual, methodological, and theoretical advancements in sport-injury-related growth (SIRG), there is no research on sport psychology consultants’ (SPCs) experiential knowledge of working with injured athletes to facilitate SIRG. Toward this end, this study examined SPCs’ perspectives on facilitating SIRG to provide an evidence base for professional practice. Participants (4 female, 6 male; mean 19 years’ applied experience) were purposefully sampled and interviewed. Transcripts were thematically analyzed. Methodological rigor and generalizability were maximized through self-reflexivity and eliciting external reflections. Five themes were identified: Hear the Story, Contextualize the Story, Reconstruct the Story, Live the Story, and Share the Story. Findings offer practitioners a novel approach to working with injured athletes. Rather than focusing on returning to preinjury level of functioning, the findings illustrate how SPCs can work with injured athletes to help transform injury into an opportunity to bring about positive change.

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Volume 33 (2019): Issue 2 (Jun 2019)

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Volume 33 (2019): Issue 1 (Mar 2019)

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Certified Athletic Trainers’ Experiences With and Perceptions of Sport Psychology Services for Student-Athletes

Rebecca A. Zakrajsek, Leslee A. Fisher, and Scott B. Martin

Nine (5 female, 4 male) certified athletic trainers (ATs) from a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I institution participated in semistructured interviews about their experiences with sport psychology services and perceptions on the potential role of sport psychology consultants (SPCs) in student-athlete development. Through consensual qualitative research procedures, 3 domains were constructed: knowledge of availability and understanding of sport psychology services, perceptions of sport psychology services for injury rehabilitation, and use of sport psychology services for sport performance. Interacting professionally with SPCs, working with sport teams that use sport psychology services, and receiving mentorship from senior ATs who have “bought in” to sport psychology were identified as underlying factors that influenced ATs’ knowledge and use of services. Recommendations for how SPCs can nurture collaborative relationships between themselves and ATs are also provided.