Consistent with the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology’s mission, the current special issue on psychophysiology and neuroscience in sport has brought together a variety of timely papers exploring the relationship between physiological processes and both sport performance and personal well-being. These final thoughts observe patterns noted among the papers in this issue, highlight future research directions, and most importantly, clarify where this emerging technology and its associated procedures currently stand in the evidence-based practice of clinical sport psychology.
Robert Schinke and Zella E. Moore
Sport psychologists work with athletes from a vast array of cultural backgrounds. Numerous factors comprise the cultural composition of both the client and the practitioner, including, though not necessarily limited to, ethnicity, socioeconomic background and status, race, socialization, sexual orientation, religion, gender, and geographic location. These intersecting and often deeply ingrained personal variables can certainly impact the nature of the therapeutic relationship, intervention strategies, and intervention outcomes with athletic clientele. Yet, while other domains of professional psychology have long embraced the integration of cultural aspects, the field of sport psychology has been slow to join the dialogue or to learn from these relevant sources. Therefore, this special issue of the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology was conceptualized and constructed with the intention of opening these lines of discussion to help ensure that sport psychologists are gaining a comprehensive understanding of the athletes with whom they work, demonstrating respect for and integration of cultural constructs in the treatment room, and maintaining personal and professional self-awareness. As Co-Editors of this unique special issue, Drs. Robert Schinke and Zella Moore provide the present paper to begin this important dialogue. This paper sets the stage for six informative articles by leading professionals in their areas, including both theoretical articles and articles highlighting culturally informed direct service provision with athletes from around the world. We hope that this timely special issue leads to numerous additional questions, cutting-edge research ideas, and most importantly, an enhanced or renewed commitment from sport psychologists to integrate the concepts found within these pages, and those already found within the professional literature of mainstream psychology, into their daily work with athletes.
Philomena B. Ikulayo and Johnson A. Semidara
This article discusses unorthodox sport psychology practices typical with Nigerian athletes, which differ from Western mainstream practice models. These practices are specific Nigerian cultural approaches to sport psychology and are based on two broad types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The intrinsic aspects include prayers, chanting of songs, verbalization of incantations, psyching verses, and juju and spirits in motivational processes. The extrinsic strategies include praise singing, audience verbalization, drumming effects, persistent silent audiences’ effects, and presence of important persons as spectators or part of the audience. The article concludes with the hope that some of these unique practice strategies will be further researched and will be viable for adoption by athletes in other nations of the world who believe in their power so that multicultural practices can help advance the field of sport psychology.
Gangyan Si, Yanping Duan, Hin Yue Li, and Xiaobo Jiang
This article, via discussing various psychological manifestations among Chinese elite athletes, illustrates sociocultural “meridians” in Chinese elite sports including (a) “Whole-Nation system,” (b) Chinese culture, and (c) their interaction. We propose that the sociocultural characteristics be integrated in athletes’ psychological training and further discuss the aspects of (a) cultural inheritance and (b) traditional beliefs, including “harmony with differences,” “doing the best and following the fate,” “Ah Q spirit,” “all are Buddha,” and the balance between Confucianism and Taoism. We suggest that the ultimate goal of sport psychologists is to facilitate the athlete’s overall development, with such a maturing process only achieved by integrating the above factors into athletes’ sociocultural contexts.
Donald R. Marks
Despite valuable research regarding multicultural encounters in sport psychology settings, the mechanisms by which culture operates, including the ways that it is transmitted and learned, and the specific processes though which it exerts influence upon behavior, remain poorly understood. Research also has not addressed how a dimension of experience that is so fundamental could remain so transparent and reside so consistently outside the awareness of researchers, clinicians, and clients. Recent contributions to cultural psychology using an interactivist model provide a theoretical perspective through which clinical sport psychologists could conceptualize these challenging issues and address the complex behaviors observed in cross-cultural contexts. Interactivism offers a framework for investigating the internally inconsistent “polyphonic,” or multivoiced, nature of the self. In doing so, it highlights the need for investigative methods that can account for frequent discrepancies between implicit attitudes and observed behaviors, on one hand, and explicit attitudes and behaviors as endorsed on self-report measures, on the other.
William D. Parham
The ascendance of cultural sport psychology as a concentrated focus of academic inquiry is timely, and emergent investigations therein represent welcome areas of scholarship. The invitation embedded in this forthcoming discussion to sport psychology researchers and practitioners to stretch beyond their comfort zones is being extended with a request to consider pursuing sport psychology research and practice with a “more of thee and less of me” mindset. The North Star goals articulated herein are to stimulate avant-garde and imaginative thinking by expanding the concepts of reflective practice and reflexivity, thereby creating a portal through which to see how perceived stumbling blocks to overcoming traditional approaches to the study of sport psychology can be transformed into stepping stones. Six premises provide the context within which this discussion is presented. Collectively, these premises support and raise caution about the scientific method and suggest that the time has come to rethink commonly held beliefs about color-blindness, melting pot formulations, and alleged-to-be-absent historical and contemporary cultural influences on in-the-moment interpersonal interactions. A context-sensitive across-cultures communication model is offered as a way of synthesizing the premises and creating a portal through which to enter into new domains of investigative inquiry. Implications for the future of sport psychology relative to research, practice, training, and consultation will be offered for consideration.