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Australian Football Coaches’ Tales of Mental Toughness: Exploring the Sociocultural Roots

Stephanie J. Tibbert, Mark B. Andersen, Tony Morris, and Christopher Mesagno

The present study explored how three professional Australian football coaches learned and understood mental toughness. Participants shared stories regarding mental toughness through semistructured interviews. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to interpret the data. Creative nonfiction was employed to develop a composite story. All participants’ voices contributed equally to the narrative, which follows Sam (our composite coach) through three periods in his career: as a junior player, an elite footballer, and, finally, a coach in the professional football environment. Mental toughness was fundamentally determined by the sociocultural environment in which one was immersed. Athletes and coaches were expected to internalize dominant understandings of mental toughness and reinforce ideals and were punished if they deviated from mentally tough standards set up in their clubs. Mental toughness was defined by various values, beliefs, and norms that originated from the sociocultural environment, indicating the importance of context in understanding the roots of being mentally tough.

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Bulletin Board

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Identifying Predictors of Burnout and Health of Certified Mental Performance Consultants

Anthony Magdaleno and Barbara B. Meyer

Researchers have established factors that impair (e.g., stress) or facilitate (e.g., occupational recovery) health among professionals operating in sport and performance (e.g., coaches). However, there is a paucity of research examining factors that impair or facilitate the health of sport psychology professionals. Given that sport psychology professionals have an obligation to manage their health to maintain effective service provision, research is needed to fill this gap. The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of burnout and health among certified mental performance consultants. Participants completed measures of perceived stress, burnout, occupational recovery, and health-related quality of life. Regression results, including a moderator analysis, indicated that perceived stress and occupational recovery predicted burnout, while occupational recovery moderated the relationship between perceived stress and burnout. Perceived stress and burnout further predicted health-related quality of life. Recommendations include certified mental performance consultants spending nonwork time in low-effort and/or physical activities, as well as exerting autonomy over nonwork time.

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Client-Led Applied Sport Psychology Practitioners’ Narratives About Helping Athletes

David Tod, Hayley E. McEwan, Colum Cronin, and Moira Lafferty

The current study explored how applied sport psychology practitioners adopting client-led stances described two of their athlete interactions. Applied sport psychology practitioners (8 female and 12 male, mean age = 33.76 years, SD = 4.70), describing themselves as client-led practitioners, discussed two athlete consultancies during open-ended interviews. Data analysis involved examining the narrative structure of practitioners’ stories and identifying the features of client-led service delivery present in the accounts. The participants’ stories reflected a collaborative empiricism narrative in which they collaborated with athletes to resolve client issues. The stories contained features of client-led person-centered therapy and the use of practitioner-led techniques and interventions. The results point to applied implications such as providing accounts of service delivery on which practitioners can reflect as they consider the ways they wish to help clients.

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“I Realized It Was a Different Kind of Culture to Other Sports”: An Exploration of Sport Psychology Service Provision and Delivery in Gaelic Games

Patricia C. Jackman, Aoife Lane, David Tod, and Matthew D. Bird

In this article, we present two studies that provide the first evidence on sport psychology services in Gaelic games. In Study 1, 36 participants providing support for mental aspects of performance in Gaelic games completed a survey that ascertained an initial insight into practitioners and the services they provided in this context. Findings of Study 1 suggested considerable engagement with psychology support in Gaelic games but also highlighted a range of challenges with service delivery. In Study 2, we interviewed 11 sport psychology consultants to understand the active ingredients that contribute to context-driven sport psychology in Gaelic games and the role of contextual intelligence. Findings from Study 2 offered insights into how participants shaped their services to the context and how the active ingredients for effective service delivery, including working alliances, buy-in, and engagement with individuals within the performance environment, could be enabled or constrained in this context.

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The Effects of a Brief Online Rational-Emotive-Behavioral-Therapy Program on Coach Irrational Beliefs and Well-Being

Ryan G. Bailey and Martin J. Turner

Research into the psychology of coaching has been somewhat neglected in comparison to research on the psychological development of athletes. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a brief online rational-emotive-behavioral-therapy (REBT) program on coach irrational beliefs and well-being. Coaching staff from an elite international canoeing team (N = 4) took part in a three-session (30- to 40-min) REBT program. Participants completed measures of irrational beliefs and mental well-being at preintervention, postintervention, and follow-up (1 month) time points. Visual analyses and social validation revealed that the intervention reduced irrational beliefs and enhanced mental well-being in two participants. However, REBT was more effective for some coaches than others, and follow-up data indicated a return to base levels in some coaches. Limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed, alongside practitioner reflections.

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How to Support Athlete Autonomy in University Sports: Coaches’ Experience of the reROOT Program

Emilie Lemelin, Hali Kil, Élodie Petit, Joëlle Carpentier, Jacques Forest, Sophie Gadoury, Jean-Paul Richard, Mireille Joussemet, and Geneviève A. Mageau

The purpose of this study was to evaluate coaches’ experience of the reROOT program, a program aiming to increase coaches’ autonomy-supportive skills, structure, and involvement. We delivered the program to 32 university sports coaches, and of these coaches, 13 participated in three semistructured focus groups 2 weeks postprogram and discussed their experience of the program. Guiding questions aimed at assessing participants’ responsiveness to the program and its perceived usefulness. Classical content analyses were performed and organized based on the guiding questions when applicable. Results suggest that coaches appreciated the program, believed that they could implement its skills in their day-to-day coaching, and observed positive impacts on themselves and their athletes despite the COVID-19 pandemic. It thus appears that coaches are responsive to the reROOT program and that it could be a useful part of their training.

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Volume 37 (2023): Issue 3 (Sep 2023)

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Applying Educational Psychology in Coaching Athletes

Joonyoung Lee

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Missing Out, as Well: The Absence of Youth Sports and Its Effect on Parents During the COVID-19 Global Pandemic

Niel Strydom, Alex Murata, and Jean Côté

In December of 2019, COVID-19 began spreading globally. As a result, many youth sport organizations were forced to halt programming. While unfortunate, this imposed disengagement from youth sport provided an opportunity to explore what youth sport means to parents, being that this was the first time many were without it. As such, researchers aimed to explore the attitudes and perceptions of youth sport parents regarding their child’s sport participation in its absence. Semistructured interviews were conducted to explore these perceptions, and three themes were constructed through thematic analysis. Findings suggest that sport parents miss their experiences as “live-in” sports fans of their child’s sport participation due to the absence of their spectator experiences, social opportunities, and feelings of success, which drive their motivation for continued involvement. Understanding parental motivations to support youth sport participation may lead future researchers to uncovering the influences of parental behavior in the youth sport context.