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.
Rich Neil, Harry C.R. Bowles, Scott Fleming, and Sheldon Hanton
The purpose of the study was to conduct an in-depth examination of the stress and emotion process experienced by three sub-elite-level male cricketers over a series of five competitive performances. Using reflective diaries and follow-up semistructured interviews, the findings highlighted the impact of appraisal, coping, and emotion on performance, with perceptions of control and self-confidence emerging as variables that can influence the emotive and behavioral outcomes of a stressful transaction. Postperformance, guided athlete reflection was advanced as a valuable tool in the production and application of idiographic coping behaviors that could enhance perceptions of control and self-confidence and influence stress and emotion processes.
Tracey Devonport, Andrew Lane, and Christopher L. Fullerton
Evidence from sequential-task studies demonstrate that if the first task requires self-control, then performance on the second task is compromised (Hagger, Wood, Stiff, & Chatzisarantis, 2010). In a novel extension of previous sequential-task research, the first self-control task in the current study was a sport psychology intervention, paradoxically proposed to be associated with improved performance. Eighteen participants (9 males, 9 females; mean age = 21.6 years, SD = 1.6), none of whom had previously performed the experimental task or motor imagery, were randomly assigned to an imagery condition or a control condition. After the collection of pretest data, participants completed the same 5-week physical training program designed to enhance swimming tumble-turn performance. Results indicated that performance improved significantly among participants from both conditions with no significant intervention effect. Hence, in contrast to expected findings from application of the imagery literature, there was no additive effect after an intervention. We suggest practitioners should be cognisant of the potential effects of sequential tasks, and future research is needed to investigate this line of research.
Hannah Macdougall, Paul O’Halloran, Emma Sherry, and Nora Shields
The well-being needs and strengths of para-athletes in a global and sport-specific context were investigated across subjective psychological, social, and physical health and well-being dimensions. Data were drawn from (a) semistructured interviews with Australian para-athletes (n = 23), (b) a focus group with the Australian Paralympic Committee (n = 9), and (c) a confirmatory para-athlete focus group (n = 8). The well-being needs and strengths of para-athletes differed across gender, sport, level of competition, and nature of impairment. Well-being needs were an interaction between physical pain, emotional regulation, lacking purpose outside of sport, and a lack of self-acceptance, especially for athletes with acquired impairments. Well-being strengths were perceived to increase as athletes increased their level of competition, and included personal growth, optimism, strong social support networks, and contributing to multiple communities. The importance of well-being as a multidimensional concept within the global and sport-specific context for para-athletes is discussed.
Karen M. Appleby and Kristen Dieffenbach
The purpose of this study was to investigate elite masters cyclists’ involvement in competitive sport. Using a descriptive, qualitative approach, the researchers interviewed ten elite-level masters cyclists. Data analysis revealed the following salient themes relevant to participants’ experiences: (a) athletic identity, (b) motivational factors, and (c) life balance. These findings suggest that participation as an elite-level masters athlete reflects a high degree of continuity for athletic identity that can be positive in relation to self-esteem and social validation and challenging in relation to transition and maintaining social relationships out of cycling settings.
Grounded in Scanlan’s sport commitment model (SCM), the purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between feelings of teammate acceptance and sport commitment in a sample of adolescent female volleyball players (N = 209). Despite theoretical justification for including social forms of influence such as social support and social acceptance as direct sources of sport commitment, empirical evidence has not been supportive of this association. Therefore, direct and indirect relationships between teammate acceptance and sport commitment within the SCM were tested. Findings supported the indirect relationship between teammate acceptance and sport commitment through sport enjoyment, personal investments, social constraints, and investment opportunities, accounting for 48% of the variance in sport commitment. It appears that teammate acceptance may be better situated as a distal source of sport commitment, but further research with more diverse samples is necessary. Sports psychologists who can collectively help athletes, coaches, and parents develop responsive interpersonal skills while reducing corporal punishment and aggression tactics can facilitate greater levels of social acceptance.
Mikel Zabala, Jaime Morente-Sánchez, Manuel Mateo-March, and Daniel Sanabria
This study addresses performance-enhancement drug (PED) consumption in amateur sport by investigating the relationship between psychosocial factors and PED use in amateur cyclists. Participants were asked whether they had ever taken PED. They were also asked whether they had any experience in competitive cycling, and the degree to which they participated in the event with a competitive aim. In addition, they completed the Performance Enhancement Attitude Scale, the Rosenberg self-esteem scale, and a bespoke self-efficacy questionnaire, and they rated the percentage of cyclists they believed took PED. Between-groups comparisons and two multiple regression analyses were performed. Overall, the results of our study point to adult amateur cyclists in general, and amateur cyclists with experience in competition in particular, as groups at risk for PED use. This study highlights the value of measuring psychosocial variables as a tool to assess PED use, a current issue at both sport performance and health levels.