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Reflections and Lessons Learned From a Career in Sport Psychology

Judy L. Van Raalte

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On the Road to Redemption: A Case Study of Triathlon Participation and Substance Use Recovery Stories

Kerry R. McGannon, Keira Towers, and Jenny McMahon

Although sport participation holds potential to facilitate substance use recovery, the role of sport and links to identity transformation are contentious. Using an instrumental and intrinsic case study, we used narrative inquiry to explore autobiographies as cultural sites of analysis in relation to the role that one sport (i.e., triathlon) plays in substance use recovery. We conducted a social constructionist narrative thematic analysis of four public autobiography sources (e.g., one book and three documentary films) chronicling one man’s 27-year journey of substance use recovery using recreational triathlon. A central narrative threaded the substance use recovery process: redemption narrative. Redemption narrative meaning(s) unfolded in distinct ways depending on identity themes: (a) athlete to triathlete: (re)creating a non-substance-using identity and (b) generative athlete: claiming a sober identity. The redemption stories and shifting identities were connected to recovery capital resources: human (e.g., mental health and life perspective), social (e.g., community belonging), and cultural (e.g., appreciation of new meanings connected with triathlon). This study extends work in sport psychology focusing on athlete autobiographies as research and pedagogical resources to learn more about the role of sport in substance use recovery. We provide reflections on findings, recommendations for practitioners, and future research directions.

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Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Unhelpful Thinking Toward Body Image With an Elite Figure Skater

Samuel Wood and David Fletcher

We outline the sport psychology service delivery provided to a 23-year-old elite figure skater who reported unhelpful thoughts about her body image that hindered her performance and concentration in training. An acceptance and commitment therapy intervention was implemented over 12 sessions across a 6-month period. The acceptance and commitment therapy matrix was used to conceptualize the client’s “stuckness” and provide a foundation for the techniques implemented. The aim of our work was to increase psychological flexibility, helping the client sit with, rather than change or remove, her unhelpful thoughts, moving her toward the athlete she wanted to be. This case reports how psychological flexibility was achieved through exercises to help the client “unhook” from her unhelpful thoughts about body image. Reflections from the client were obtained to monitor and evaluate the service delivery process. The trainee’s reflections on practice highlight the unpredictability of presenting problems disclosed during service delivery, the isolating and challenging nature of working with elite athletes in private practice, and the need for practitioners to understand the theoretical orientations of their approach.

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A Case Study of Using an Adult-Oriented Coaching Survey and Debrief Session to Facilitate Coaches’ Learning in Masters Sport

Bettina Callary, Catalina Belalcazar, Scott Rathwell, and Bradley W. Young

The Adult-Oriented Sport Coaching Survey (AOSCS) can be used by coaches to reflect on how they coach competitive adult sports participants. There are coach (AOSCS-C) and athlete (AOSCS-A) versions. The purpose of this case study is to portray how coaches reflect on scores from the AOSCS with a coach developer. Nine coaches (White; ages 23–72; five men and four women; six sports) and their respective athletes were invited to complete the AOSCS twice during a season. Coaches were given their survey scores and undertook a debriefing interview with a coach developer. We reflected on four key topics in this dedicated professional development session: coach impressions on receiving an AOSCS personal scorecard, leveraging comparisons between coach and athlete scores, leveraging comparisons in scores over time, and misunderstandings/inadequacies of numerical scores. We reflect on meaningful interventions for coach development in adult sport.

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A Rational-Emotive-Behavior Therapy Mindfulness Approach to Working Within the Elite Player Performance Plan

Dawn-Marie Armstrong and Martin J. Turner

Consultancy with children is rarely reported in the sport psychology literature. In light of this, the current case study sought to outline an age-appropriate approach to support provision for a 10-year-old soccer athlete at an elite soccer academy. The trainee sport and exercise psychologist utilized a combined rational-emotive-behavior-therapy and mindfulness-based approach to practice to understanding the athlete’s challenges and implemented psychological skills training. Effectiveness of the intervention was evaluated through a modified family systems approach, and player feedback was elicited using an adapted consultant effectiveness form. Reflection on the intervention details how open-mindedness to service delivery can facilitate the understanding of psychological skills training in the early years of sport performance and could pave the way for future reception and application at later levels.

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Stable or Fluid? An Investigation Into Female Student Athlete Basketball Players’ Well-Being

Allison Columbus, Diane E. Mack, Philip M. Wilson, and Nicole J. Chimera

The purpose of this study was to examine changes in female student athlete basketball players’ well-being over time. Eleven female student athlete basketball players completed the Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale—Short Form (WEMWBS-SF) every week for 22 consecutive weeks. Differences in well-being (p = .027; η p 2 = .25 ) were found across time with the magnitude of weekly changes in WEMWBS-SF scores ranging between trivial and large. Magnitude-based differences highlighted individual variability, with five (45.45%) athletes very likely reporting increased well-being over time. It is evident that the well-being of female student athletes could be improved given the interpretation of aggregate scores, combined with joint consideration of the individual trajectories, reported in this study. Future work examining environmental factors with logical and practical links to well-being seems necessary to support female student athletes.

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“He’s Asked for You. . . . ” One-to-One Support With an Elite Academy Soccer Player and Navigating Through the Unforeseen Roles of Sport Psychology Practitioners

Lauren Garner, Hayley McEwan, and Amy Whitehead

This case study outlines the holistic development of an adolescent soccer player, placing focus on the welfare of the individual first and the performer second. The client was seeking support as family life disturbances were having a negative impact on his mental health and general well-being. In addition, scholarship decisions were imminent, and the client felt that his performance had deteriorated. An introduction to the practitioner and client is provided, along with an account of the challenging and anxiety-provoking process encountered. Practitioner reflections are embedded throughout, and recommendations for other trainee sport psychology practitioners are provided. This case highlights the potentially unforeseen roles that sport psychology practitioners may, at times, play to best support their clients. It demonstrates the benefit of seeking guidance and support from supervisors and collaborating with other members of a multidisciplinary team, as well as the importance of having a clearly defined philosophy of practice to ensure that one is working from a place of congruence.

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Magic Carpet Ride: A Narrative Exploration of Disability and Adaptive Physical Activity

Rebecca Busanich and Emma McAfee

Using a narrative approach framed by social constructionism, we partnered with an adaptive physical activity (PA) program to explore the underlying meanings constructed around disability and the adaptive PA experience for individuals with a broad array of disabilities, including cognitive/intellectual, neurological, and developmental and physical. In doing so, we were able to gain new and more inclusive perspectives on the pathways between adaptive PA and health. Our results showed that the partnering adaptive PA program and its volunteers adhered primarily to a quest narrative, which was often taken up and reproduced by the adaptive PA participants and their families. The quest narrative allowed for the individuals with disabilities to reframe their sense of self-identity, revise meanings around their disability, and connect on a deeper level to the world around them, all of which led to increased feelings of joy, freedom, transformation, hope, and overall improved health-related quality of life.

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Using Mobile 360° Video as a Tool for Enhancing Sport Referee Performance: A Case Study

Ian Cunningham, Lionel Roche, and Duncan Mascarenhas

Many new video-based technologies (e.g., eye trackers, point-of-view camera) have been integrated into sport referee performance monitoring and training. Mobile 360° video (an omnidirectional video-capture tool affixed to the referee during their performance using a chest harness) provides moving images recorded from a first-person perspective. This case study explored rugby union referees’ and referee coaches’ engagement with mobile 360° video during a viewing of another referee’s performance. Using an other-confrontation interview approach, referees’ and referee coaches’ cognitive activity (interests, concerns, noticing, and knowledge) while viewing mobile 360° video was elicited and studied. Participants experienced heightened immersion in the situation, as well as enhanced discovery and noticing behavior, and they constructed different types of embodied and corporeal knowledge. Using a rugby union setting, this occurred through enhanced perceptual involvement provided by mobile 360° video for reflection on referee positioning and movement, contextual inference about decisions, and sensitivity to player cues and interactions. This study provides preliminary evidence for the utility and acceptability of mobile 360° video as a pedagogical innovation in referee training to enhance referees’ decision making, game management, and reflexivity. Limitations, challenges, and applications of immersive mobile 360° video as a pedagogical tool in rugby union refereeing and other sports are discussed.

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A Case Study Investigation Into a Group Online Sport Psychology Support Intervention for Injured Athletes

Caroline Heaney and Nichola Kentzer

Sport psychology support can have a positive impact on sport injury rehabilitation; however, there appear to be barriers to injured athletes accessing such support (e.g., financial and geographical constraints). Online delivery has been suggested as a method to address some of these barriers. This case study therefore sought to explore whether an online sport psychology support hub was an effective method of sport injury psychology support. Sixteen injured athletes (seven male and nine female) participated in a 6-week sport psychology intervention where they were given access to an online hub moderated by a sport psychologist, in which sport psychology support was provided through social support (online forum), written emotional disclosure (diary), and psychological skills development (education resources). The impact of the hub was measured through analysis of the forum posts, diary entries, and responses to an evaluation questionnaire. While engagement with the hub was not as high as anticipated, the athletes reported several positive benefits from using the hub and rated its overall impact highly, demonstrating the potential of online delivery.