Special Issue of The Sport Psychologist Case Studies in Sport Psychology Introduction
Burt Giges and Judy Van Raalte
Therapist or Mental Skills Coach? How to Decide
Tim Herzog and Kate F. Hays
This article addresses the challenging conundrum of when to offer psychotherapy versus mental skills training. To highlight aspects of this dilemma, we describe actual cases that illustrate different ways in which clients present and practitioners may respond: (1) mental skills training shifting to therapy; (2) therapeutic work shifting to mental skills training; (3) simultaneous work between two practitioners; or (4) alternating services from the same practitioner. A variety of intervention methods are used based on a number of theoretical orientations and perspectives. The article concludes with some recommendations that may assist the performance-oriented practitioner in decision-making regarding the delicate balance between therapy and mental skills training. Suggestions relate specifically to the nature of the referral, the client’s preferences, the practitioner’s perspective and skill sets, a continuous process of appraisal and adaptation, and the central importance of the athlete-practitioner relationship.
Using Team Building Methods With an Ice Hockey Team: An Action Research Case Study
Esa Rovio, Monna Arvinen-Barrow, Daniel A. Weigand, Jari Eskola, and Taru Lintunen
Research investigating the use of several team building (TB) interventions collectively in one case study is sparse. The purpose of this study was to evaluate, via action research, the process of implementation of a season-long (12 months) multifaceted TB program with a junior league ice hockey team in Finland. The team consisted of 22 players, aged 15–16 years, and three coaches. Inductive content analyses revealed that performance profiling, individual and group goal setting, and role clarification produced additional value to the TB program. Group norms became a vital part of group goal setting. The results are discussed in relation to existing definitions of TB and the importance of using a multifaceted approach to TB.
Why Coach? A Case Study of the Prominent Influences on a Top-Level UK Outdoor Adventure Coach
Ross Lorimer and David Holland-Smith
The purpose of this study was to examine the influences that led an individual to becoming and remaining an outdoor adventure sport coach. A case study of a single high level climbing/kayaking coach is presented using inductive thematic analysis to explore his perception of the factors that have influenced him before and during his career. This approach provides a unique insight into the social influences on coaches and how they inform coaches’ personal values. The study revealed a pattern of formative experiences acting on the participant throughout his life and career. Early experiences, exposure to the sport, and contact with significant others have influenced his decision to participate in outdoor adventure sports and allow him to derive satisfaction from passing his knowledge onto others. The value of this single coach’s personal experiences of sport is discussed in relation to the insight they provide into why coaches enter and stay in coaching careers.
Volume 26 (2012): Issue 3 (Sep 2012)
Group Dynamics in Sports: An Overview and Recommendations on Diagnostic and Intervention
Jens Kleinert, Jeannine Ohlert, Bert Carron, Mark Eys, Deborah Feltz, Chris Harwood, Lother Linz, Roland Seiler, and Marion Sulprizio
Working with teams and training groups is a common and major challenge for applied sport psychologists. This document is a position statement on the rationales, methods, and procedures of team-focused approaches in the practice of sport psychology. Furthermore, practice recommendations and research desiderata are discussed. To develop the paper, a consensus conference with nine experts from North America and Europe was held in Spring 2010. First, the paper presents the rationale for team-focused interventions and addresses the concepts of team cohesion, team efficacy, team potency, and a task involving leadership style. Second, the contributions of sport psychologists to enhancing group functioning are discussed, including methods for enhancing interpersonal skills, team climate, and coach athlete relationships. Third, determinants of how sport psychologists decide procedure and build trust in working with teams are articulated. Finally, the consensus group recommends an intensified effort to examine the effects and practice applicability of theory-driven, ecologically valid interventions.
How Do Coaches Experience Psychological Momentum? A Qualitative Study of Female Elite Handball Teams
Karin Moesch and Erwin Apitzsch
Psychological Momentum (PM) is commonly referred to in competitive sports, but still has to be considered elusive from a scientific perspective. This study explores coaches’ perception of triggers, strategies and characteristics of PM in female elite handball teams. Semi-structured interviews with nine coaches were evaluated using a qualitative content analysis. The results revealed that positive and negative PM were characterized by factors regarding behavior, cognition, confidence, emotions, and the team. Triggers for positive PM were categorized into confidence, players’ individual factors, team factors, and team-opponent-factors, whereas triggers for negative PM related to coach factors, confidence, external factors, players’ individual factors, and team factors. Moreover, strategies emerged that are considered beneficial for controlling PM. The results are discussed with emphasis on behavioral aspects, confidence, emotions, team factors, and application. Foundations based on this study and recent research lead to the assumption that PM is probably best portrayed in a circular approach.
Improving the Performance Environment of a Soccer Team During a Competitive Season: An Exploratory Action Research Study
Matthew A. Pain, Chris Harwood, and Richard Mullen
The aim of the current study was to facilitate systematic reflection and action to improve the performance environment of a soccer team during a competitive season. Using the Performance Environment Survey (PES; Pain & Harwood, 2007) as a diagnostic instrument, the researcher worked with the coach to collaboratively identify areas in which team preparation and functioning could be improved. Completed by the players and coach after each match, the PES captured feedback around team preparation and performance in the physical, psychological, coaching, social, planning/organizational and environmental domains. Analysis of this feedback provided the stimulus for weekly discussions with the coach. Results suggested that coach and player reflection increased during the study, and the coach reported that the PES data and his reflections on that data were beneficial to managing the performance environment. In areas where change was targeted—in particular the social and the phaysical domains—improvements in team functioning were reported. Team feedback meetings were also perceived as helpful to improving player ownership and cohesiveness.
Moral Atmosphere and Masculine Norms in American College Football
Jesse Steinfeldt, Leslie A. Rutkowski, Thomas J. Orr, and Matthew C. Steinfeldt
This study examined on-field antisocial sports behaviors among 274 American football players in the United States. Results indicated that moral atmosphere (i.e., teammate, coach influence) and conformity to masculine norms were significantly related to participants’ moral behavior on the field (i.e., intimidate, risk injury, cheat, intentionally injure opponents). In other words, the perception that coaches and teammates condone on-field antisocial behaviors—in addition to conforming to societal expectations of traditional masculinity—is related to higher levels of antisocial behaviors on the football field. In addition, conformity to traditional masculine norms mediated the relationship between moral atmosphere and on-field aggressive sports behaviors, suggesting a relationship between social norms and moral atmosphere. Results of this interdisciplinary endeavor are interpreted and situated within the extant literature of both the fields of sport psychology and the psychological study of men and masculinity. Sport psychologists can use results to design interventions that incorporate moral atmosphere and conformity to masculine norms in an effort to decrease aggressive sports behaviors in the violent sport of football.