This quasi-experimental intervention study investigated the impact of mindfulness training on attention and performance in swimmers. Following an 8-week intervention with six national-level university swimmers (M = 20 years), single case analysis of pre- and post- measurements for three of six participants showed large improvements in mindfulness and attention efficiency. Two participants showed a small increase in one of mindfulness or attention efficiency, and one showed no changes. Four participants improved performance times compared with season-best, and five participants improved self-rated performance. Athletes and coach positively evaluated mindfulness training. This study, with strong ecological validity, shows improvements in mindfulness, attention, and performance, consistent with theory that proposes attention as a mechanism for mindfulness based performance changes. Mindfulness training can be an effective and practical intervention. Further applied research is required utilizing designs to determine causality and further test the proposed mechanisms through which mindfulness may influence performance.
Nick Mardon, Hugh Richards, and Amanda Martindale
Melodie Fearnow-Kenney, David L. Wyrick, Jeffrey J. Milroy, Erin J. Reifsteck, Timothy Day, and Samantha E. Kelly
College athletes are at risk for heavy alcohol use, which jeopardizes their general health, academic standing, and athletic performance. Effective prevention programming reduces these risks by targeting theory-based intermediate factors that predict alcohol use while tailoring content to student-athletes. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the myPlaybook online prevention program on student-athletes’ social norms, negative alcohol expectancies, and intentions to use alcohol-related harm prevention strategies. NCAA Division II student-athletes were recruited from 60 institutions across the United States to complete myPlaybook and pretest/posttest surveys measuring demographics and targeted outcome variables. Participants were randomly assigned to the treatment group (pretest-program-posttest; final n = 647) or the delayed treatment “control” group (pretest-posttest-program; final n = 709). Results revealed significant program effects on social norms (p < .01) and intentions to use harm prevention strategies (p < .01), while the effect on negative alcohol expectancies was nonsignificant (p = .14). Implications for future research and practice are discussed.
Alexander Tibor Latinjak, Raquel Font-Lladó, Nikos Zourbanos, and Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis
The purpose of this single-case study was to describe a goal-directed self-talk (ST) intervention with an elite athlete. The participant was a 36-year-old elite orienteerer, who declared himself to be continuously engaged in some sort of autonomous self-dialogue. During six sessions, we undertook an intervention which started with identifying variety of relevant problematic sport situations and goal-directed ST in them. Subsequently, through questioning, the original ST was challenged and alternative instructions were theoretically examined before putting them into practice. The participant valued highly the intervention process and its outcomes. Overall, the study provides preliminary evidence on the effectiveness of goal-directed ST interventions and encourages research to further explore their potential.
Adam James Miles, Rich Neil, and Jamie Barker
The purpose of this study was to explore the stress, emotion, and coping (SEC) experiences of elite cricketers leading up to and on the day of their first competitive fixture of the season. Four elite male cricketers (M = 21.25, SD = 1.5) completed Stress and Emotion Diaries (SEDs) for the 7-day period leading up to and on the day of their first competitive fixture of the season. We then interviewed the cricketers to explore the content of the SEDs in more detail. We used semistructured interviews to glean insight into the stressors, cognitions, emotions, coping strategies, and behaviors. Inductive and deductive content data analysis provided a holistic and temporal exploration of the SEC process underpinned by the cognitive-motivational-relational theory of emotions (Lazarus, 1999). The results highlighted the ongoing and continuous nature of the SEC process while illustrating the coping strategies the cricketers used leading up to and on the day of competition.
John H. Kerr and Pippa Grange
Tucker Readdy, Rebecca Zakrajsek, and Johannes Raabe
Sport coaching is marked by a pathos created by limited control and limited awareness, contradictory beliefs, and novelty. Still, coaches can enhance the likelihood of optimal outcomes through orchestration, a process marked by unobtrusive, flexible actions that enhance athletes’ ability to work toward competitive goals (Jones & Wallace, 2005). This research sought to create a detailed understanding of pathos and orchestration in collegiate coaching. Participants were 10 head coaches from National Collegiate Athletic Association universities. Analysis of semistructured interviews produced four themes: (a) true control is limited but attempted control is extensive, (b) orchestration strategies are varied in context and method, (c) relationships enhance the effectiveness of the orchestration process, and (d) planning the next step allows for relative stability in the pathos. These results expand our understanding of pathos and orchestration, suggesting the concepts have promise in educating coaches about sources of adversity and the means to mitigate them.
Stacy Winter and David J. Collins
Although the field of applied sport psychology has developed, it faces further challenges on its way toward gaining greater professional status. The following principal criteria of professionalism are proposed as a test of such status: (a) provides an important public service, (b) has a knowledge-base underpinning, (c) has organizational regulation, (d) has a distinct ethical dimension, and (e) has professional autonomy. This article undertakes to explore the nature of implications for practice and the extent to which the suggested principal criteria justify a distinctive applied sport psychology profession. In doing so, we hope to stimulate debate on these and other issues in order that an even greater professionalization of our applied discipline may emerge.
Sebastian Harenberg, Harold A. Riemer, Erwin Karreman, and Kim Dorsch
The study explored the competition between teammates for playing time (i.e., positional competition) within university team sports from the athletes’ perspective. Sixteen Canadian interuniversity team sport athletes (11 women, 5 men) participated in semistructured interviews. Results revealed that positional competition (a) occurs between players in the same position, (b) is necessary to determine playing time, (c) is an ongoing, omni-present process, and (d) happens under the awareness of the coach. Furthermore, various inputs (by the individual athlete, team, coach), processes (performance-related, information-related), and outcomes (individual, collective) became apparent. Positional competition is a group process that occurs across multiple competitive situations (e.g., practices, games). Future research is needed to clearly define and operationalize it as its own construct.