A previous meta-analysis examining the relationship between cohesion and performance (Carron, Colman, Wheeler, & Stevens, 2002) revealed that this relationship was significantly stronger for female teams as compared with male teams. The purpose of the current study was to explore perceptions of the cohesion-performance relationship by coaches who have led teams of both genders. Semistructured interviews were employed with Canadian and German coaches with previous experience leading both male and female sport teams. The information obtained through the interviews yielded a number of categories pertaining to potential similarities and differences within female and male sport teams including: (a) the nature of cohesion (e.g., direction of the cohesion-performance relationship), (b) antecedents of cohesion (e.g., approaches to conflict), and (c) the management of cohesion (e.g., developing social cohesion). Overall, the results offer testable propositions regarding gender differences and group involvement in a sport context as well as informing best practices such that teams can attain optimal performance.
Mark Eys, M. Blair Evans, Luc J. Martin, Jeannine Ohlert, Svenja A. Wolf, Michael Van Bussel, and Charlotte Steins
Toby Woolway and Chris Harwood
Understanding the practitioner attributes that influence consumers’ preferences is of vital importance to licensing organizations and individual practitioners in the field of sport psychology (Hamberger & Iso-Ahola, 2006; Van Raalte, Brewer, Matheson & Brewer, 1996). This study examined consumer preferences toward three professional titles (sport psychologist, life coach, and neuro-linguistic programming practitioner) and a range of other practitioner characteristics, as well as the extent to which a brief intervention impacted these preferences. Following an assessment of current preferences among athletes (N = 229), researchers presented brief, educational vignettes formed of enhanced information regarding the three professions. Conjoint analysis was used to determine the relative importance of practitioner attributes pre- and postintervention. Interpersonal skills emerged as the most important attribute before intervention. Several significant, postintervention changes emerged in consumer preferences for practitioners, including an increased salience of professional title. The findings are discussed with an emphasis on implications for the training, professional development, and marketing of practitioners to potential clients.
Kate F. Hays
The ability to prepare effectively to execute complex skills under pressure is crucial in a number of performance-focused professions. While there is emerging evidence of best practice little research has sought to compare preparation strategies across professions. As a result, the aim of this research was to explore the approaches employed within a number of professions and whether there are similarities in the techniques and strategies adopted. Participants were 18 “performers,” purposefully selected from sporting, musical, performing arts, and medical domains. Participants were interviewed individually to gain an understanding of each participant’s preparation strategies and the functions these strategies fulfilled. The data were thematically analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results suggest that there are similarities in both behavioral and mental strategies adopted across professions. Future research should seek to explore the transferability of developmental approaches.
Peter Elsborg, Gregory M. Diment, and Anne-Marie Elbe
The objective of this study was to explore how sport psychology consultants perceive the challenges they face at the Olympic Games. Post-Olympics semistructured interviews with 11 experienced sport psychology consultants who worked at the London Games were conducted. The interviews were transcribed and inductively content analyzed. Trustworthiness was reached through credibility activities (i.e., member checking and peer debriefing). The participants perceived a number of challenges important to being successful at the Olympic Games. These challenges were divided into two general themes: Challenges Before the Olympics (e.g., negotiating one’s role) and Challenges During the Olympics (e.g., dealing with the media). The challenges the sport psychology consultants perceived as important validate and cohere with the challenge descriptions that exist in the literature. The findings extend the knowledge on sport psychology consultancy at the Olympic Games by showing individual contextual differences between the consultants’ perceptions and by identifying four SPC roles at the Olympic Games.
Suzanne Cosh and Phillip J. Tully
Participation in elite-sport and education is stressful and can result in sacrificed educational attainment. A dearth of research, however, has explored the specific stressors encountered by student athletes and coping strategies used, resulting in limited knowledge of how to best support student athletes. Interviews with 20 Australian university student athletes were conducted and data were analyzed via thematic analysis. Interviewees reported encountering numerous stressors, especially relating to schedule clashes, fatigue, financial pressure, and inflexibility of coaches. Athletes identified few coping strategies but reported that support from parents and coaches was paramount. Athletes would benefit from upskilling in several areas such as effective use of time, self-care, time management, enhanced self-efficacy, and specific strategies for coping with stress. Coaches have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in facilitating successful integration of sport and education.
Maurizio Bertollo, Selenia di Fronso, Edson Filho, Vito Lamberti, Patrizio Ripari, Victor Machado Reis, Silvia Comani, Laura Bortoli, and Claudio Robazza
We conducted a counterbalanced repeated measure trial to investigate the effect of different internal and external associative strategies on endurance performance. Seventeen college-aged students were randomly assigned to three experimental conditions to test the notion that different attention-performance types (optimal Type 1, functional Type 2, and dysfunctional Type 3) would influence endurance time on a cycling task. Specifically, Type 1 represented an effortless and automatic, “flow-feeling” attentional mode. Type 2 referred to an associative focus directed at core components of the task. Type 3 represented an attentional focus directed at irrelevant components of the task. Participants completed three time-to-exhaustion-tests while reporting their perceived exertion and affective states (arousal and hedonic tone). Results revealed that Type 1 and Type 2 attentional strategies, compared with Type 3 strategy, exerted functional effects on performance, whereas a Type 3 strategy was linked to lower performance, and lower levels of arousal and pleasantness. Applied implications are discussed.
Jacquelyn Paige Pope and Craig Hall
This study tested the degree to which coaches’ basic psychological need fulfillment and identity prominence were associated with their positive affect, commitment, and intentions to persist. In total, 413 coaches with an average of 14 years’ experience served as participants and completed an online survey that included six sections: Demographics, basic psychological needs, identity prominence, positive affect, commitment, and intentions to persist. The present study findings provide initial support for the links from coaches’ basic psychological needs and identity prominence to their positive affect and commitment. In contrast, the findings did not provide support for the relationship between coaches’ basic psychological need fulfillment and their intentions to persist or the association between their identity prominence and intentions to persist. The results offer an explanation of the mechanisms that may play a role in facilitating coaches’ optimal functioning.
Melissa Mae Iñigo, Leslie Podlog, and Morgan S. Hall
The purpose of this study was to examine athletes’ sources of commitment to return to sport following a severe injury using the Sport Commitment Model (Scanlan, Carpenter, Schmidt, Simons, & Keeler, 1993). To address this aim, ten varsity athletes from the University of the Philippines Diliman were interviewed following protocols outlined in the Scanlan Collaborative Interview Method (SCIM; Scanlan, Russell, Wilson, & Scanlan, 2003a). Results indicate that sport enjoyment, valuable opportunities, personal investments, social constraints, and social support were salient sources of commitment, while other priorities had either a neutral or positive effect on commitment. Furthermore, additional constructs were identified, in particular, wanting to be the best, self-affirmation, and contractual obligations. These merit further investigation and possible inclusion in the SCM. Findings are discussed in relation to previous research and practical implications are offered.