Drawing from the experiences of the authors in developing, conducting, and evaluating sport psychology interventions, several considerations are highlighted and recommendations offered for effective psychometric assessment. Using the Test of Performance Strategies (TOPS; Thomas, Murphy, & Hardy, 1999) as a working example, opportunities for bias to undermine a measure’s validity and reliability are discussed with reference to a respondent’s four cognitive processes: (a) comprehension, (b) retrieval, (c) decision-making, and (d) response generation. Further threats to an instrument’s psychometric properties are highlighted in the form of demand characteristics athletes perceive in the environment. With these concerns in mind, several recommendations are made relating to the process of questionnaire administration and how possible compromises to the psychometric soundness of measures used in applied interventions can be minimized.
Charlotte Woodcock, Joan L. Duda, Jennifer Cumming, Lee-Ann Sharp, and Mark J.G. Holland
Kyle J. Paquette and Philip Sullivan
Multiple conceptual frameworks support the link between coaches’ attitudes and behaviors, and their effect on a variety of athlete outcomes, such as performance, motivation, and athlete self-perceptions. The present study explored the relationships among coaches’ attitudes and behaviors, with respect to psychological skills training (PST), and the beliefs of their athletes. One hundred and fifteen coaches completed PST attitude (SPA-RC-revised) and behavior measures, while 403 athletes completed two perception measures (CCS and SCI). Structural Equation Modeling showed that the proposed relationships were statistically significant, except for the pathway between coaches’ attitudes and their behaviors. Results support the disconnect between coaches’ attitudes and behaviors previously established in PST research, as well as the theoretical links between coaches’ behaviors and athletes’ perceptions (i.e., evaluation of their coach and self-confidence).
Andrea J. Becker
The primary purpose of this study was to examine basketball players’ experiences of being coached during a turnaround season. Participants included eight collegiate men’s basketball players (ages 18–23) and one staff member representing an NCAA Division I program at a large university in the United States. All participants were involved with the basketball program during back-to-back seasons in which the team experienced a losing record (14–17) followed by a coaching change, and then a winning record (22–8) and conference championship. Semistructured interviews (lasting between 30–90 min) were conducted and transcribed verbatim. Analyses of the transcripts revealed 631 meaning units that were further grouped into lower and higher order themes. This led to the development of five major dimensions which encompassed these basketball players’ experiences of being coached during this extraordinary turnaround season including their (a) Experiences of Coach’s Personality Characteristics; (b) Experiences of Coach’s Philosophy, System, and Style of play; (c) Experiences of His Coaching Style; (d) Experiences of the Practice Environment; and (e) Experiences of How Coach Influenced Us.
Mickaël Campo, Stephen Mellalieu, Claude Ferrand, Guillaume Martinent, and Elisabeth Rosnet
This study systematically reviewed the literature on the emotional processes associated with performance in team contact sports. To consider the entire emotional spectrum, Lazarus’s (1999) cognitive motivational relational theory was used as a guiding framework. An electronic search of the literature identified 48 of 5,079 papers as relevant. Anxiety and anger were found to be the most common emotions studied, potentially due to the combative nature of team contact sports. The influence of group processes on emotional experiences was also prominent. The findings highlight the need to increase awareness of the emotional experience in team contact sports and to develop emotion-specific regulation strategies. Recommendations for future research include exploring other emotions that might emerge from situations related to collisions (e.g., fright) and emotions related to relationships with teammates (e.g., guilt and compassion).
Nicholas L. Holt, Camilla J. Knight, and Peter Zukiwski
The purpose of this study was to examine female varsity athletes’ perceptions of teammate conflict. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 19 female varsity athletes (M age = 21.17 years) from four sport teams. Analysis revealed that conflict was a prevalent feature of playing on their teams. Conflict relating to performance and relationships was identified. Strategies athletes thought may help create conditions for managing conflict were to (a) engage in team building early in the season, (b) address conflict early, (c) engage mediators in the resolution of conflict, and (d) hold structured (rather than unstructured) team meetings. It also seemed that athletes required personal conflict resolution skills. These findings are compared with previous research and offered as implications for professional practice.
Craig Wrisberg, Jenny Lind Withycombe, Duncan Simpson, Lauren A. Loberg, and Ann Reed
In the current study National Collegiate Athletic Association D-I athletic directors (n = 198) and presidents (n = 58) were asked to rate their perceptions of the benefits of various sport psychology services and their support of possible roles for a sport psychology consultant (SPC). Participants gave higher ratings for (a) services that were performance-related (e.g., dealing with pressure) than for those that were life-related (e.g., preventing burnout) and (b) a role for a SPC that involved the provision of services but not a full-time staff position or interactions with athletes at practices and competitions. Results indicated that while administrators acknowledge the potential benefits of sport psychology services, some remain reticent to employ them on a full-time basis. Future research is recommended with administrators that have employed SPCs full-time to determine their perceptions of the impact of sport psychology services on their student-athletes.
Phillip G. Post and Craig A. Wrisberg
The authors would like to extend their gratitude to the ten gymnasts participating in this study. Their willingness to share their time and experiences made this research project possible.
Phenomenological interviews were conducted with ten female collegiate gymnasts (M age = 22.2; SD = 1.68 yr) to determine their lived experience of sport imagery. Qualitative analysis of the interview data revealed a total of 693 meaning units and produced a final thematic structure consisting of five major dimensions: preparing for movement; mentally preparing; feeling the skill; controlling perspective/speed/effort; and time and place. Among the results not reported in previous studies were athletes’ manipulations of imagery speed for various purposes, the incorporation of abbreviated body movements during imagery to accentuate the feel of the action, correcting inadvertent mistakes in an imaged performance, and the imaging of upcoming segments of a serial skill during execution. The findings extend previous sport imagery research and provide suggestions for sport psychology consultants working with elite gymnasts.
Philip Sullivan, Kyle J. Paquette, Nicholas L. Holt, and Gordon A. Bloom
This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
The purposes of this study were to examine how coaching context and level of coaching education were related to coaching efficacy and, subsequently, how coaching efficacy was related to perceived leadership behaviors in youth sports. One hundred and seventy-two youth sport coaches completed the Coaching Efficacy Scale and Revised Leadership Scale for Sports. Structural equation modeling revealed that coach education significantly affected the multidimensional construct of coaching efficacy whereas coaching context did not. Coaching efficacy predicted perceived leadership behaviors comprising training and instruction, positive feedback, social support, and situational consideration. These findings question the issue of coaching efficacy as a factor that may distinguish between coaches at different organizational contexts but highlight the importance of coach education training for improving coaching efficacy in youth sport.
Denise M. Hill, Sheldon Hanton, Nic Matthews, and Scott Fleming
The study examined the effect of an evidence-based intervention on choking in golf. It is informed by the work of Hill, Hanton, Matthews and Fleming (2010a) that explored the experiences of elite golfers who either choked or excelled under pressure. The perceptions of elite golf coaches who worked with both ‘chokers’ and those who excelled, were also considered. It revealed that choking may be alleviated through the use of process goals, cognitive restructuring, imagery, simulated training and a pre/postshot routine. The present study incorporated each strategy into an intervention that was introduced to two professional golfers (aged 22) who choked under pressure regularly. Through an action research framework the impact of the intervention was evaluated over a ten month period via qualitative methods. The results indicated the intervention alleviated the participants’ choking episodes and so provides information that can be of use to practitioners working with golfers who choke.