Ultramarathon running entails coping with unanticipated environmental circumstances and intense physical and psychological fatigue; a sport in which the role of mental toughness can be crucial. This research focused on semistructured interviews with 12 ultramarathon runners who volunteered to discuss their perceptions of mental toughness. The data allowed researchers to gather a multidimensional view of mental toughness from ultramarathon runners’ experiences and perspective in addition to providing a snapshot of the challenges and demands ultrarunners face, as well as ethical concerns associated with athletes pushing themselves beyond their limits. Central themes included: perseverance/persistence, overcoming adversity, perspective, life experience, psychological skills use, and camaraderie in the ultra community. A deeper understanding of mental toughness obtained from a sample of ultramarathon runners can inform consultants working to improve quality or consistency of performance, and become aware of ethical concerns of encouraging athletes to exceed perceptual or actual limitations.
Anna-Marie C. Jaeschke, Michael L. Sachs, and Kristen D. Dieffenbach
Fran Longstaff and Misia Gervis
This study examined how practitioners who provide sport psychology support use counseling principles and skills to develop practitioner-athlete relationships. Semistructured interviews were conducted with thirteen competent practitioners (Mean age = 41.2 ± 10.9 years old, five men, eight women). Thematic analysis revealed that the participants used a range of counseling principles to develop practitioner-athlete relationships including: the facilitative conditions, self-disclosure, counseling skills, the formation of working alliances, and awareness of the unreal relationship. The participants also described using noncounseling strategies (e.g., gaining an understanding of the athlete’s sporting environment) to build relationships with their athletes. There was considerable variation between the participants both in the training that they had received in counseling principles and skills, and how they applied them. It was concluded that counseling principles and skills play a significant role in the development of practitioner-athlete relationships.
Sandrine Isoard-Gautheur, Emma Guillet-Descas, and Henrik Gustafsson
The negative feelings that are part of burnout syndrome may prompt athletes to drop out of their sport. The objective of the current study was therefore to examine the influence of athlete burnout profiles on playing status 6 years later. The participants of this study were 458 boys and girls between 14 and 18 years old (M = 15.44; SD = .95) enrolled in elite handball training centers. Cluster analysis on athlete burnout and multinomial logistic regressions on the playing status were conducted. The results suggest that those individuals with a “higher burnout” profile at Time 1 were more likely to have stopped playing handball 6 years later. It therefore seems important to develop strategies to prevent burnout in young athletes enrolled in elite training structures and to promote long-term engagement and well-being in elite sporting activity.
Kacey C. Neely, John G.H. Dunn, Tara-Leigh F. McHugh, and Nicholas L. Holt
The overall purpose of this study was to examine coaches’ views on deselecting athletes from competitive female adolescent sport teams. Individual semistructured interviews were conducted with 22 head coaches of Canadian provincial level soccer, basketball, volleyball, and ice hockey teams. Interpretive description methodology (Thorne, 2008) was used. Results revealed deselection was a process that involved four phases: pre-tryout meeting, evaluation and decision-making, communication of deselection, and post deselection reflections. Within the evaluation and decision-making phase coaches made programmed and nonprogrammed decisions under conditions of certainty and uncertainty. When faced with uncertainty coaches relied on intuition.
Ashley M. Duguay, Todd M. Loughead, and Krista J. Munroe-Chandler
The purpose of the current study was to develop, implement, and evaluate a season-long athlete leadership development program. Participants were 27 female varsity athletes who participated in four leadership workshops throughout the season, each 1 hr in duration. All of the participants completed inventories measuring leadership behaviors, cohesion, communication, athlete satisfaction, and peer motivational climate. Overall, the results showed significant differences in regards to leadership behaviors, athlete satisfaction, and peer motivational climate from pre- to postintervention. Further, follow-up focus groups were also conducted to assess the social validity of the leadership development program. These focus groups revealed important insight into program structure, influence of the program, leadership challenges, and suggestions for future improvements. These findings provide researchers, sport psychology consultants, and coaches with important information regarding the effectiveness of this athlete leadership development program in targeting human and social capital development.
Nick Mardon, Hugh Richards, and Amanda Martindale
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.
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.