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.
Rafael A.B. Tedesqui and Terry Orlick
The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore the attentional focus experienced by elite soccer players in different soccer positions and performance tasks of both closed and open skills. No previous studies have explored elite soccer players’ attentional skills from a naturalistic and qualitative perspective in such detail. Data collection consisted of individual semistructured interviews with eight highly elite Brazilian soccer players from five main soccer positions, namely goalkeeper, defender, wing, midfielder, and forward. Important themes were positive thinking, performing on autopilot, and relying on peripheral vision. For example, thematic analysis indicated that in tasks where there may be an advantage in disguising one’s intentions (e.g., penalty kick), relying on peripheral vision was essential. Early mistakes were among the main sources of distractions; thus, players reported beginning with easy plays as a strategy to prevent distractions. Implications for applied sport psychology were drawn and future studies recommended.
Luc J. Martin, Jessi Wilson, M. Blair Evans, and Kevin S. Spink
Although cliques are often referenced in sporting circles, they have received little attention in the group dynamics literature. This is surprising given their potential influence on group-related processes that could ultimately influence team functioning (e.g., Carron & Eys, 2012). The present study examined competitive athletes’ perceptions of cliques using semistructured interviews with 18 (nine female, nine male) intercollegiate athletes (Mage = 20.9, SD = 1.6) from nine sport teams. Athletes described the formation of cliques as an inevitable and variable process that was influenced by a number of antecedents (e.g., age/tenure, proximity, similarity) and ultimately shaped individual and group outcomes such as isolation, performance, and sport adherence. Further, athletes described positive consequences that emerged when existing cliques exhibited more inclusive behaviors and advanced some areas of focus for the management of cliques within sport teams. Results are discussed from both theoretical and practical perspectives.
Lorcan D. Cronin and Justine B. Allen
The present study explored the relationships between the coaching climate, youth developmental experiences (personal and social skills, cognitive skills, goal setting, and initiative) and psychological well-being (self-esteem, positive affect, and satisfaction with life). In total, 202 youth sport participants (Mage = 13.4, SD = 1.8) completed a survey assessing the main study variables. Findings were consistent with Benson and Saito’s (2001) framework for youth development. In all analyses, the coaching climate was related to personal and social skills, cognitive skills, goal setting, and initiative. Mediational analysis also revealed that the development of personal and social skills mediated the relationships between the coaching climate and all three indices of psychological well-being (self-esteem, positive affect, and satisfaction with life). Interpretation of the results suggests that coaches should display autonomy-supportive coaching behaviors because they are related to the developmental experiences and psychological well-being of youth sport participants.