Adolescent athletes can use psychological skills immediately after being taught, but a dearth of empirical evidence exists regarding whether these skills are maintained over time. A 12-week curriculum (i.e., UNIFORM; Gilbert, 2011) was taught to a high school varsity soccer team with three data collection points: pretest, posttest, 4-week follow-up. Use of several skills was significantly greater posttest compared with pretest as measured by the Test of Performance Strategies (Thomas, Murphy, & Hardy, 1999). Follow-up results were also salient. Relaxation, imagery, and self-talk use in practice was significantly greater than pretest at follow-up; relaxation, imagery, goal setting, and self-talk in competition showed similar results. Descriptive statistics and qualitative data triangulate these results. The UNIFORM curriculum enabled the athletes to use the skills more consistently. This study makes a contribution by measuring the skills at follow-up and providing evidence of their continued use four weeks after the curriculum’s conclusion.
Jenelle N. Gilbert, Stephanie D. Moore-Reed, and Alexandra M. Clifton
Matthew J. Smith, David J. Young, Sean G. Figgins, and Calum A. Arthur
We examined transformational leadership behaviors are exhibited in an elite sport environment. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 9 professional county cricket players to explore perceptions of transformational leadership behaviors of their captain and head-coach. Behaviors were firstly deductively categorized based on the Differentiated Transformational Leadership Inventory, with the most frequently cited being high performance expectations and individual consideration from the coach, and appropriate role-modeling of the captain. Further inductive analyses revealed a range of other factors which may influence players’ perceptions of transformational leadership. From these findings, suggestions are offered for those working in an applied context with sporting leaders.
Michelle McCalpin, Blair Evans, and Jean Côté
Competitive engineering is a process whereby sport organizations modify the rules, facilities, and equipment involved in sport to facilitate desirable athlete outcomes and experiences. Competitive engineering is being increasingly adopted by youth sport organizations with empirical evidence positively supporting its influence on skill development and performance. The purpose of this study was to explore young female athletes’ experiences in their modified soccer environment. Seventeen recreational and competitive soccer players, aged 8–11, participated in semistructured photo elicitation interviews that featured several visual qualitative methods (i.e., athlete-directed photography, drawing exercises, and pile-sorting) to facilitate insight on their sport environments. Results revealed that the athletes’ competitively engineered soccer experience was perceived as being a distinct environment that emphasized personal development, positive relationships, and the underlying enjoyment of sport. These findings shed light of how youth sport structure modifications influence the athletes’ experiences, providing practical implications to further promote positive youth sport experiences.
Göran Kenttä, Stephen Mellalieu, and Claire-Marie Roberts
This paper presents a case study of an elite female coach and her career termination from a 20+ year career following a critical life incident. A novel autobiographical approach was adopted whereby the participant undertook expressive writing to describe her experiences before, during, and following coaching an athlete at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Thematic analysis indicated seven phases related to the participant’s experiences of the critical incident: Build up to the event, the event, the aftermath, recovery and reflection on the event, sampling of new avenues, enlightenment, and career rebirth. The findings reinforce the high demands placed upon elite coaches, the subsequent threats to physical and mental well-being, and the importance of having robust psychological skills and suitable social support to cope with these demands. Implications for preparing and supporting coaches for successful career transition are discussed.
Robert Joel Schinke, Amy T. Blodgett, Kerry R. McGannon, Yang Ge, Odirin Oghene, and Michelle Seanor
This study explores a composite vignette of athletes acculturating in a national sport system. The research questions were: What acculturation narratives did the athletes’ construct when they considered the notion of their receiving culture’s national sport system? And within these, what are the key challenges in relation to support that the athletes storied about their receiving culture’s national sport system as they sought to acculturate? The research was framed in critical acculturation (see Chirkov, 2009a, 2009b). The fluid process of acculturation is illustrated using creative nonfiction presenting one unifying voice presented within a composite vignettes (see Spalding & Phillips, 2007). The three themes in the acculturation vignette were as follows: (a) nothing but love—a nationalistic romance, (b) losing my romance with nationalism, and (c) dollars in exchange for newcomer results. This project reveals how immigrant elite athletes can move between distinct narratives that can contradict one another.