The real world practice of sport and performance psychology will inevitably present the practitioner with performers for whom spirituality is the supreme motivator (Balague, 1999). Spirituality and sport, despite its practical relevance, is an underdeveloped and sometimes misunderstood combination (Nesti, 2007). The aim of this study was to reveal the individual experiences of athletes as they integrate spirituality and their sport participation. Five high level athletes (1 female, 4 male), each holding a Christian worldview were interviewed. A strategically designed interview guide illuminated several key themes, which Watson and Nesti (2005) suggested, would contribute much to the existing literature. Out of these themes, practical implications have been considered for the delivery of sport and performance psychology services to Christian athletes. Evidenced by this study, is the reality that some Christian athletes present a unique perspective through which appropriately tailored sport psychology services can readily precipitate personal excellence in sport and life.
Michael J. Mosley, Desiree’ J. Frierson, Yihan Cheng, and Mark W. Aoyagi
Edel Langan, John Toner, Catherine Blake, and Chris Lonsdale
We conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the effects of a self-determination theory-based intervention on athlete motivation and burnout. In addition, we examined the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention. We randomly assigned youth Gaelic football coaches (N = 6) and their teams to an experimental or a delayed treatment control group (n = 3 each group). We employed linear mixed modeling to analyze changes in player motivation and burnout as a result of their coach participating in a 12-week SDT-based intervention. In addition, we conducted a fidelity assessment to examine whether the intervention was implemented as planned. The findings demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of implementing a self-determination theory-based intervention in the coaching domain. In addition, this study demonstrated favorable trends in the quality of player motivation and burnout symptoms as a result of an SDT-based intervention.
Lee-Ann Sharp, Ken Hodge, and Steve Danish
The purpose of this investigation was to; (a) examine what experienced SPCs perceived to be the necessary components of the sport psychology consulting relationship, and (b) examine individual contributions of the SPC and client to the consulting relationship. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit 10 experienced SPCs (8 male and 2 female, M age = 50.44 years, M years consulting experience = 21.67 years) who held current sport psychology accreditation/certification and who had considerable consulting experience. Following individual interviews, extensive content analysis revealed that the sport psychology consulting relationship was reflective of (a) rapport, (b) respect, (c) trust, (d) a partnership, and (e) a positive impact on the client. Members of the consulting relationship made individual contributions to the relationship; SPCs contributed; (a) honesty, (b) commitment, (c) knowledge and expertise, (d) counseling skills, and (e) professional ethical behavior. With clients contributing; (a) openness to change, (b) honesty, and (c) willingness to work.
Joey Ramaeker and Trent A. Petrie
We explored athletic trainers’ (ATs) beliefs regarding the roles of fellow ATs and sport psychologists (SPs) when working with athletes, and assessed where ATs’ typically refer athletes with psychological concerns. ATs’ beliefs and referral preferences across three hypothetical sport performance scenarios also were evaluated. ATs viewed aiding athletes’ psychological recovery from injury as their most acceptable role followed by teaching mental skills and counseling regarding personal issues. ATs rated SPs’ roles similarly. Regarding the scenarios, ATs were most likely to refer to a SP when performance was affected by mental factors. Considering performance difficulties attributed to interpersonal concerns, ATs were most likely to refer to a counselor. When recovering from physical injury, ATs viewed referring to a sport psychologist and assisting on their own as equally viable options. ATs’ views regarding their roles and referral preferences likely reflect educational and clinical experiences. Collaboration between athletic training and sport psychology professional organizations and individual professionals is warranted to enhance athlete care.
Michael McDougall, Mark Nesti, and David Richardson
The challenges encountered by sport psychologists operating within elite and professional sports teams have arguably been inadequately considered (Nesti, 2010). It has been suggested that this may be due to the inaccessibility of elite team environments (Eubank, Nesti, & Cruickshank, 2014; Nesti, 2010). The purpose of this research was to examine the challenges facing practitioners who operate in elite environments and to illuminate how these were experienced. Qualitative interviews with six experienced applied sport psychologists were conducted and a narrative themed analysis undertaken. Four main themes emerged as most prevalent and meaningful: challenges to congruence, a broader role: managing multiple relationships, the influence of elite sport cultures, and surviving and thriving were presented in narrative form. Practitioners provided experiential insight into how specific challenges were understood and dealt with, and how they are able to provide an effective service while managing themselves and the demands of the environment.
Sandra E. Short and Frazer Atkinson
Tim Woodman, Matthew Barlow, and Recep Gorgulu
We present two novel tests of Wegner’s (1994) theory of ironic processes of mental control using a hockey penalty-shooting task (Study 1) and a dart throwing task (Study 2). In Study 1 we aimed to address a significant limitation of ironic effects research in a performance setting by differentiating nonironic performance error from specifically ironic performance error. When instructed not to miss in a specific direction, anxious performers did so a significantly greater number of times; importantly, there was no difference in nonironic error, which provides the first specific support for Wegner’s theory in a performance setting. In Study 2, we present the first examination of the precision of ironic errors. When anxious, participants performed not only more ironically but also performed more precisely in the to-be-avoided zone than when they were not anxious. We discuss the results in the context of the importance of specific instructions in coaching environments.
Liam A. Slack, Ian W. Maynard, Joanne Butt, and Peter Olusoga
The present study evaluated the effectiveness of a Mental Toughness Education and Training Program (MTETP) in elite football officiating. The MTETP consisted of four individual and two group-based workshops designed to develop mental toughness (MT) and enhance performance in three English Football League (EFL) referees. Adopting a single-subject, multiple-baseline-across-participants design, MT and referee-assessor reports were evaluated. Self and coach-ratings of MT highlighted an instant and continued improvement in all three referees during the intervention phases. Performance reports of all referees improved throughout the intervention phases compared with the baseline phase. Social validation data indicated that an array of strategies within the MTETP facilitated MT development. Discussions acknowledge theoretical and practical implications relating to the continued progression of MT interventions in elite sport.
Olivier N. Schmid, Malayna Bernstein, Vanessa R. Shannon, Catherine Rishell, and Catherine Griffith
Tennis has been identified as an ideal context for examining the dynamics of parenting and coaching relationships (Gould et al., 2008) but coaching dual-role relationships remain unexplored in this sport and related investigations only included volunteer coaches (Jowett, 2008; Harwood & Knight, 2012). An open-ended interview approach was used to examine how female tennis players previously coached by their fathers (professional coaches) before competing in college tennis perceived their experiences with the dual-role relationship and the coaching transition. A holistic narrative approach was used to reconstruct retrospectively the stories of the participants’ experiences and understand their development. Despite some beneficial aspects, a majority of participants emphasized their challenging experiences with regards to their needs to manage blurred boundaries, receive paternal approval, and endure their fathers’ controlling and abusive behaviors. Coaching transitions helped normalize father-daughter relationships and provided insight into the respective needs that were fulfilled through the dual-role relationships.