In this paper, the experiences of nine AASP-certified sport psychology consultants (SPCs) working with athletes who invoke spirituality in their consulting sessions are described. After a brief review of terms and literature, consultants’ own words from interview transcripts are used to illustrate four major themes. These were: (a) SPC definitions of spirituality; (b) SPC definitions of faith: (c) SPC perceived challenges; and (d) spirituality implementation within consulting session. We conclude by addressing why we believe that spirituality is a cultural competence component and why sport psychology consultants should engage with the ongoing development of cultural competency.
Trevor J. Egli, Leslee A. Fisher, and Noah Gentner
Mark W. Bruner, Jeremie M. Carreau, Kathleen S. Wilson, and Michael Penney
The purpose of this study was to investigate youth athletes’ perceptions of group norms for competition, practice, and social setting contexts in relation to personal and social factors. A secondary purpose of this study was to examine the interactions of the personal and situation factors on perceptions of group norms. Participants included 424 athletes from 35 high school sport teams who completed a survey assessing team norms in competition, practice, and social settings. Multilevel analysis results revealed differences in group norms by gender as well as gender by team tenure and gender by sport type interactions. Female teams held higher perceptions of norms for competition, practice, and social settings than male teams. Interactions between gender and team tenure and gender and sport type revealed significant differences in practice norms. No differences were found in norms by group size. The findings suggest that examining the characteristics of the team members (i.e., gender, team tenure) and team (i.e., type of sport) may enhance our understanding of group norms in a youth sport setting.
Katrien Fransen, Norbert Vanbeselaere, Bert De Cuyper, Pete Coffee, Matthew J. Slater, and Filip Boen
Research on the effect of athlete leadership on precursors of team performance such as team confidence is sparse. To explore the underlying mechanisms of how athlete leaders impact their team’s confidence, an online survey was completed by 2,867 players and coaches from nine different team sports in Flanders (Belgium). We distinguished between two types of team confidence: collective efficacy, assessed by the CEQS subscales of effort, persistence, preparation, and unity; and team outcome confidence, measured by the ability subscale. The results demonstrated that the perceived quality of athlete leaders was positively related to participants’ team outcome confidence. The present findings are the first in sport settings to highlight the potential value of collective efficacy and team identification as underlying processes. Because high-quality leaders strengthen team members’ identification with the team, the current study also provides initial evidence for the applicability of the identity based leadership approach in sport settings.
Ian J. Connole, Jack C. Watson II, Vanessa R. Shannon, Craig Wrisberg, Edward Etzel, and Christine Schimmel
This study used a consumer marketing approach to investigate the market for sport psychology positions in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) institutions. Athletic administrators’ (AA) preferences for various sport psychology positions were compared based on time commitment, affiliation, payment, services, and clients. Results indicated that AAs were most attracted to positions that included (a) part-time commitment, (b) athletic department employment, (c) payment via annual salary, (d) both performance and mental health related services, and (d) work with athletes, teams, and athletics staff members. Over two thirds of the 478 AAs sampled were interested in hiring a sport psychology professional to fill that position. It was concluded that the field of sport psychology collaborate across disciplines and emphasize multiple options for meeting the perceived needs of NCAA athletic departments.
Ken Hodge and Wayne Smith
This case study focused on pressure, stereotype threat, choking, and the coping experiences of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team during the period from 2004-2011 leading into their success at the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC). Employing a narrative approach this case study examined public expectation, pressure, and coach-led coping strategies designed to “avoid the choke” by the All Blacks team. An in-depth interview was completed with one of the All Blacks’ coaches and analyzed via collaborative thematic analysis (Riessman, 2008). In addition multiple secondary data sources (e.g., coach & player autobiographies; media interviews) were analyzed via holistic-content analysis (Lieblich et al., 1998). Collectively these analyses revealed five key themes: public expectation and pressure, learning from 2007 RWC, coping with RWC pressure, decision-making under pressure, and avoiding the choke. Practical recommendations are offered for team sport coaches with respect to coping with pressure and avoiding choking.
Jessyca N. Arthur-Cameselle and Paula A. Quatromoni
The purpose of this study was to characterize recovery experiences of female collegiate athletes who have suffered from eating disorders. Participants were 16 collegiate female athletes who experienced recovery from an eating disorder. Participants told their recovery stories in semistructured interviews regarding factors that initiated, assisted, and hindered recovery. The most common turning point to initiate recovery was experiencing negative consequences from the eating disorder. Factors that most frequently assisted recovery included making cognitive and behavioral changes, supportive relationships, and seeking professional care. Hindering factors most commonly included lack of support from others, professional care complaints, and spending time with others with eating disorders. Results suggested that unique features of the sport environment, including coaches’ behavior and team norms, introduce either positive or negative influences on athletes as they work to recover from an eating disorder. Based on these findings, specific treatment and prevention recommendations for athletes are discussed.
Judy L. Van Raalte, Allen E. Cornelius, Maureen K. Copeskey, and Britton W. Brewer
Research exploring spontaneously generated self-talk has involved recording performers’ self-talk categorized by researchers. The actor-observer bias, suggests that actors (performers) and observers (researchers) may perceive the same situation (e.g., self-talk) differently. The purpose of this study was to explore the actor-observer bias and validity of self-talk categorization. College students’ (n = 30) spontaneous self-talk was audio recorded during a dart throwing task. Participants then listened to and categorized their self-talk. Three independent researchers reviewed written transcripts and categorized the self-talk. Another three researchers who had not read the transcripts listened to audio recordings and categorized the same self-talk. Results confirmed actor-observer bias predictions. Spontaneous self-talk ratings made by participants were similar to but distinct from those made by researchers reading transcripts or listening to self-talk audio recordings. These results suggest that participant categorization of spontaneous self-talk may be a valid strategy to enhance understanding of self-talk used in competitive settings.
Domagoj Lausic, Selen Razon, and Gershon Tenenbaum
The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences in verbal communication between doubles tennis teams during close game situations. Verbal messages exchanged between team players were recorded by means of audiotapes and videotapes. Recorded communication data were coded and analyzed using the Discussion Analysis Tool software (DAT; Jeong, 2003). Results indicated that most of the verbal communication included action (i.e., 34%) and emotional statements (i.e., 34%). Winning teams communicated twice as many messages than losing teams. Specifically, during the close games they won, winning teams communicated significantly more than losing teams. Losing teams used more communication patterns in close games they won relative to the ones they lost. Winning and losing teams also used distinct communication patterns during the close games they won relative to the ones they lost. These distinct communication patterns may have in turn improved the winning teams’ coordination and thereby increased their likelihood of winning.
John W. Mahoney, Daniel F. Gucciardi, Clifford J. Mallett, and Nikos Ntoumanis
In light of the extant literature, the aim of the current study was to compare adolescents’ perspectives on mental toughness and its development across performance contexts, and to explore if such perspectives align with Bronfenbrenner’s (2001) bioecological model. Eighteen mentally tough adolescents (9 boys, 9 girls, Mage = 15.6 years) from three performance contexts (i.e., sport, academia, and music) participated in focus groups, 7 of whom also participated in follow-up one-to-one interviews. Inductive analyses revealed that mental toughness was conceptualized by 9 personal characteristics, and that while similar across performance contexts, some difference between previous mental toughness conceptualization and the current study existed. Analyses also revealed that mental toughness development was predicated on significant others, supportive social processes, critical incidents, and curiosity. These findings resonated with the properties of the bioecological model. Future research into how bioecological factors combine to facilitate mental toughness development during critical stages of life was suggested.