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.
Denise M. Hill, Sheldon Hanton, Nic Matthews, and Scott Fleming
Patricia L. Laguna
Paul Baar and Theo Wubbels
The majority of research on children’s peer aggression has focused exclusively on the school context. Very few studies have investigated peer aggression in sports clubs. The prevalence and stability of peer aggression, prosocial behavior, and resource control strategies for children participating in three types of sports (martial arts, contact, and noncontact sports) were examined in two contexts: the sports club and the elementary school. We distinguished aggressive children with (i.e., Machiavellians) and without prosocial tendencies (i.e., coercive-aggressive children). Self-reports about experiences in the two contexts where gathered from 1,425 Dutch elementary school students (717 boys and 708 girls, fourth to sixth grade, mean age 11.25 years) who were participating in a sports club. We found roles for resource control strategies to be rather stable across contexts. The findings did not provide support for the “enhancement” assumption in these contexts with regard to martial arts participants.
John K. Gotwals
This study investigates the functional nature of perfectionism in sport through a person-oriented comparison of healthy and unhealthy perfectionist athletes’ levels of burnout. A sample of 117 intercollegiate varsity student-athletes (M age = 21.28 years, SD = 2.05) completed measures that assessed multidimensional sport-based perfectionism and athlete burnout indices (i.e., reduced accomplishment, sport devaluation, and emotional/physical exhaustion). Cluster analysis revealed that the sample could be represented by four theoretically meaningful clusters: Parent-Oriented Unhealthy Perfectionists, Doubt-Oriented Unhealthy Perfectionists, Healthy Perfectionists, and Non-Perfectionists. Intercluster comparisons revealed that healthy perfectionists reported (a) lower levels on all athlete burnout indices in comparison with both doubt-oriented unhealthy perfectionists and nonperfectionists and (b) lower levels of emotional/physical exhaustion in comparison with parent-oriented unhealthy perfectionists (all ps < .05). The degree to which findings fit within perfectionism/burnout theory and can serve as an example for research with enhanced relevancy to applied sport psychology contexts is discussed.
Charlotte Woodcock, Mark J.G. Holland, Joan L. Duda, and Jennifer Cumming
The aim of the current study was to extend previous research by Holland and colleagues (2010) into the required psychological qualities of young talented rugby players by considering the perceptions and supportive role of influential others. Perceptions of players’ parents (n = 17), coaches (n = 7), and sport administration staff (SAS; n = 2) were explored through focus group discussions. Findings show that these influential others considered the same 11 higher order themes for psychological qualities previously identified as desirable by players. Their views on how they assisted in developing these player psychological qualities were classified into three higher-order themes, namely progressive development, professional environment, and performance environment. Specific behaviors contributing to each context and deemed helpful by influential others were discussed in terms of ecological systems theory (Bonfenbrenner, 1977). Recommendations for future research and applied implications for consultants are subsequently offered.
Artur Poczwardowski and Clay P. Sherman
Sport psychology service delivery (SPSD) heuristic (Poczwardowski, Sherman, & Henschen, 1998) included key components of applied work. Nevertheless, the complexities of sport psychology consulting need an even broader representation. In individual, semistructured interviews, 10 experienced sport psychology consultants explored the usefulness of the original heuristic and newly added elements in their professional practice. Inductive analysis (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) resulted in a total of 2409 meaning units that were grouped into 127 lower-order themes and 32 higher-order themes that were used to clarify, expand, and revise the SPSD model as interpreted by the participants. Based on the new elements (i.e., consultant-client relationship, the consultant variables, the client variables, immersion, and the goodness of fit) and two meta-themes (i.e., interrelation and person-focused values), a newly configured heuristic is proposed (SPSD-Revised). Future researchers will benefit from different research methods and diversified conceptualizations of sport psychology service delivery to account for professional practice variables in various contexts.
Cathryn B. Lucas-Carr and Vikki Krane
Jarred F. Parkes and Clifford J. Mallett
Recent research has identified optimism as an underlying mechanism of mental toughness (Coulter, Mallett, & Gucciardi, 2010). To further understand what elements of mental toughness can be developed, the current study evaluated the utility of an optimism intervention that employed cognitive-behavioral techniques (e.g., identifying automatic thoughts; testing accuracy of thoughts) to retrain attributional style. Seven male rugby players who were competing in first grade club rugby participated in the intervention. The effectiveness of the program was partially evaluated via self-reports of the Sport Attributional Style Scale (Hanrahan, Grove, & Hattie, 1989). Qualitative data were also collected via a focus group and semistructured interviews. The quantitative results provided minimal support for the utility of the intervention; there was evidence to suggest participants’ attributions became more external for negative events. The qualitative data suggested that participants (a) developed greater resilience in the face of adversity, (b) were more confident in their sport, and (c) developed a more optimistic explanatory style for negative events. The qualitative findings support the utility of a cognitive-behavioral based attribution retraining intervention for developing optimism in rugby players. The data also supported the flexible use of external attributions for negative events.
Lucie Finez, Sophie Berjot, Elisabeth Rosnet, and Christena Cleveland
One hundred and three athletes participated in a motor task that was ostensibly designed to detect their physical ability (high ego-threatening condition) or provide pretesting data for an upcoming study (low ego-threatening condition) and were then given the opportunity to claim handicaps that could impair their performance on this task. Extending previous findings that high self-handicappers (i.e., athletes who scored high on the self-handicapping scale) and low self-esteem athletes engage in claimed self-handicapping in high ego-threatening conditions, the results reveal that they may also engage in this strategy in low ego-threatening conditions. In the low ego-threatening condition, athletes’ self-esteem and self-handicapping tendency explained together 33% of the handicaps they claimed.