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.
Jarred F. Parkes and Clifford J. Mallett
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.
In the article by Matthew A. Pain, Chris Harwood, and Rich Anderson titled “Pre-Competition Imagery and Music: The Impact on Flow and Performance in Competitive Soccer” appearing in TSP 25(1) June 2011, the first line of the abstract should read “This article describes an intervention on the precompetition routines of soccer players during a 19-week phase of a competitive season.” We regret the error.
Caroline Wakefield and Dave Smith
Imagery is one of the most widely-researched topics in sport psychology. Recent research has been focused on how imagery works and how to apply it to have the greatest possible performance effect. However, the amount of imagery needed to produce optimal effects has been under-researched, particularly in relation to the PETTLEP model of imagery (Holmes & Collins, 2001). This study examined the effects of differing frequencies of PETTLEP imagery on bicep curl performance, using a single-case design. Following a baseline period, participants completed PETTLEP imagery 1×/week, 2×/week, or 3×/week in a counterbalanced pattern. Results indicated that PETTLEP imagery had a positive effect on performance. In addition, as the frequency of imagery increased, a larger performance effect was apparent. These results support the notion that PETTLEP imagery can lead to strength gains if performed at least 1× per week, but that completing imagery more frequently may be more effective.
Rainer J. Meisterjahn
Judy L. Van Raalte, Albert J. Petitpas, Lisa Krieger, Carla Lide, Cassaundra Thorpe, and Britton W. Brewer
Issues related to sexuality, sexual orientation, and romantic relationships have received attention in the sport psychology literature. An area that has not been addressed, however, is that of romantic relationships among sport teammates. Such intrateam romantic relationships may have certain benefits but can also be disruptive to teams and team functioning. The purpose of this manuscript is to (a) address issues related to intrateam romantic relationships, and (b) to propose strategies for sport psychology consultants to consider and use when working with teams when intrateam romantic relationships develop. Specifically, sport psychology consultants who encounter intrateam romantic relationships may find it valuable to consider family system models as a theoretical framework for intervention, clearly identify the client, determine the willingness of those involved to consult, and assess their own abilities to effectively intervene and to receive supervision for such interventions. A well-defined, credible approach may help sport psychology consultants to succeed in complex circumstances and gain the trust, respect, and cooperation of the coaches, teams, and athletes with whom they work.
Colleen M. Horn, Jenelle N. Gilbert, Wade Gilbert, and Dawn K. Lewis
The present study examined a 10-week psychological skills training (PST) intervention called UNIFORM (Johnson & Gilbert, 2004) with a community college softball team. The intervention was based on the transtheoretical model (Prochaska & Marcus, 1994). Results showed that the athletes learned the skills, enjoyed the intervention, and significantly increased their application of relaxation and goal setting during practice and their application of relaxation, imagery, and self-talk during competition as measured by the Test of Performance Strategies (Thomas, Murphy, & Hardy, 1999). Though there were some positive changes, decisional balance and self-efficacy scores (DB-PST, SE-PST; Leffingwell, Rider, & Williams, 2001) were not statistically significant. The UNIFORM approach enabled community college athletes to learn psychological skills and apply them during practice, competition, and in their everyday lives.
Kristoffer Henriksen, Natalia Stambulova, and Kirsten Kaya Roessler
The holistic ecological approach to talent development in sport highlights the central role of the overall environment as it affects a prospective elite athlete. This paper examines a flat-water kayak environment in Norway with a history of successfully producing top-level senior athletes from among its juniors. Principal methods of data collection include interviews, participant observations of daily life in the environment and analysis of documents. The environment was centered around the relationship between prospects and a community of elite athletes, officially organized as a school team but helping the athletes to focus on their sport goals, teaching the athletes to be autonomous and responsible for their own training, and perceived as very integrated due to a strong and cohesive organizational culture. We argue that the holistic ecological approach opens new venues in talent development research and holds the potential to change how sport psychology practitioners work with prospective elite athletes.
David Fletcher, James L. Rumbold, Robert Tester, and Matthew S. Coombes
This study extends stress research by exploring sport psychologists’ experiences of organizational stressors. Twelve accredited sport psychologists (6 academics and 6 practitioners) were interviewed regarding their experiences of organizational stress within their jobs. Content analysis involved categorizing the demands associated primarily and directly with their occupation under one of the following general dimensions: factors intrinsic to sport psychology, roles in the organization, sport relationships and interpersonal demands, career and performance development issues, and organizational structure and climate of the profession. A frequency analysis revealed that academics £AOS = 201) experienced more organizational stressors than practitioners £APOS = 168). These findings indicate that sport psychologists experience a wide variety of organizational stressors across different roles, some of which parallel those found previously in other professions. The practical implications for the management of stress for sport psychologists are discussed.