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.
Kristoffer Henriksen, Natalia Stambulova, and Kirsten Kaya Roessler
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.
Emily A. Roper
Martin Ian Jones, David Lavallee, and David Tod
The aim of the current study was to evaluate the ELITE intervention as a method of increasing the perceived use of communication and organization skills in young people. The participants were three male field hockey players and two female tennis players from a British university. We used a series of single subject, multiple baselines, with minimal meaningful harm and benefit criteria and SMDall effect sizes to evaluate the ELITE intervention. The results revealed no meaningful harm from participating in the program, and the tennis players showed meaningful benefits. SMDall effect sizes all demonstrated that the intervention had a positive effect. Post intervention interviews indicated that participants valued the targeted life skills, and the program was enjoyable. Implications of this study suggest that scholars and practitioners can use the ELITE intervention to increase life skills in young people.
Leopoldo Ariza-Vargas, Jesus López-Bedoya, Marta Domínguez-Escribano, and Mercedes Vernetta-Santana
The objective of this study has been to analyze the effect of anxiety on the level of learning of gymnastics skills, considering two types of practical strategy. The first, derived from Schmidt’s Schema Theory (1975) and termed Teaching Programs, is representative of the hypothesis of variability in practice (Moxley, 1979) and the other strategy, known as Technical Progressions, is derived from more restrictive models of the motor program and is related to the hypothesis of specificity. The sample group (n = 108) was made up of 54 boys and 54 girls, aged between 11 and 13, with no previous experience in performing skills related to gymnastics. A 3 × 3 × 2 factorial design of the independent steps was used (Practical Strategy x Trait Anxiety x Gender)—this was a fixed model, with a control group in factor A. The results showed that the main effects on the Learning Level were generated by the areas of Practical Strategy and Trait Anxiety, although their impact was lessened by the functional structure of the skills required. Trait Anxiety is shown to be the main predictor of State Anxiety levels.
Cian Aherne, Aidan P. Moran, and Chris Lonsdale
This study investigated the relationship between mindfulness training (a nonjudgmental attentional training technique) and flow experiences in athletes. Participants were 13 university athletes (M = 21 years), assigned either to a control group or an experimental group. Flow experiences were assessed before and after the intervention. ANOVA (group x time) of global scores on the Flow State Scale-2 (FSS-2; Jackson & Eklund, 2004) showed a significant interaction (F = 11.49, p < .05). Follow-up t tests indicated no significant difference (p > .05) between the experimental and control groups’ FSS-2 global scores at the baseline training session, but a large difference (p < .05, d = 1.66) at a follow-up training session. Significant interaction effects were also observed for FSS-2 subscales scores for the flow dimensions of “Clear Goals” (F =18.73, p < .05) and “Sense of Control” (F = 14.61, p < .05). Following an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of this study, the theoretical significance of the results is assessed and the promise for the application of mindfulness training in performance enhancement is discussed.
Itay Basevitch, Brooke Thompson, Robyn Braun, Selen Razon, Guler Arsal, Umit Tokac, Edson Medeiros Filho, Tonya Nascimento, and Gershon Tenenbaum
The aim of the current study was to test the effectiveness of pleasant odors on perception of exertion and attention allocation. A secondary purpose was to employ a placebo-control design and measure perceived smell intensity during task performance; methods that have been overlooked in previous olfaction studies in the sport and exercise domain. Seventy-six college students (35 females, 41 males) were recruited to perform a handgrip task. They were randomly assigned to one of 4 groups: control, placebo, lavender odor, and peppermint odor. Adhesive strips were placed under the noses of those in the latter three groups. The placebo group had a strip with no odor. The lavender and peppermint odor groups had a drop of concentration on the strip. After establishing a maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) level, participants performed at 30% of their MVC level for as long as they could tolerate, during which they provided ratings of perceived exertion (or effort; RPE), attention, and smell intensity at 30s intervals, and affect every 60s. MANOVA procedures failed to reveal significant differences among the treatment and nontreatment groups on rate of perceived exertion, attention allocation, and total time duration on the task. However, statistical differences were found between both odor groups and the placebo group on perceived attention diversion. The lavender group reported that the odor diverted attention to a higher degree than both the peppermint and placebo groups. Although nonsignificant, findings revealed a trend suggesting that odors may have an effect on cognitive processes, and on performance. There is a need for additional research to better capture these effects. Directions for further research, with an emphasis on methodological issues are outlined.
Matthew A. Pain, Chris Harwood, and Rich Anderson
This article describes an intervention on the precompetition routines of soccer players during a 19-week phase of a competitive season. Specifically, we worked with players to develop an enhanced understanding of the effectiveness of personalized preperformance music and imagery scripts in facilitating flow states and performance. Five male players (M age = 20.5; S.D = 1.6) participated in a single-subject multiple baseline across individuals design with multiple treatments and without reversal. Following a preintervention phase, participants undertook the intervention during their prematch warm-up. Flow and perceived performance were assessed immediately after each match. Results indicated that asynchronous music and MG-M imagery when combined had a facilitative effect on flow and perceived performance. Postexperimental player comments supported these findings and suggest that the intervention strategy has great potential for athletes during precompetition. Consultancy guidelines for the use of music and imagery within competitive soccer are presented in the discussion.