The present case study illustrates the treatment of a 19-year-old female lacrosse player, classified as experiencing Performance Dysfunction (Pdy) by the Multilevel Classification System for Sport Psychology (MCS-SP). The self-referred collegiate athlete was treated using the manualized Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) protocol (Gardner & Moore, 2004a, 2007). The intervention consisted of eight individual sessions and several follow-up contacts via e-mail. The majority of the sessions addressed clinically related and sport-related concerns, including difficulties in emotion regulation and problematic interpersonal relationships. Based on self-report, coach report, and one outcome assessment measure, the psychological intervention resulted in enhanced overall behavioral functioning and enhanced athletic performance. This case study suggests that following careful case formulation based on appropriate assessment and interview data, the MAC intervention successfully targeted the clearly defined psychological processes underlying the athlete’s performance concerns and personal obstacles, thus resulting in enhanced well-being and athletic performance improvements.
Jessica M. Lutkenhouse
Charles A. Maher
This article reflects a response to the case of a freshman student-athlete lacrosse player who was in the process of transitioning into a Division I environment. Within the context of the case response, guidelines were provided for assessment of the student-athlete at four separate, yet interrelated levels of psychological development. These levels were: as a person; as a student-athlete who exists in a high-risk environment; as a teammate; and as a performer in the sport of lacrosse. Relatedly, it was suggested how the strengths and needs of this individual could be assessed and how resulting needs assessment information could be used in the design of an individual plan for the student-athlete. As such, it was suggested that the individual plan would most likely center on helping the individual to become increasingly aware of herself as a person and performer, to offer guidance in adhering to her physical rehabilitation, and to develop a routine for her daily preparation and for monitoring her practice and game performances. The case response concludes with a description of a framework for determining the student-athlete’s readiness for engaging in the plan and its activities.
This response to a case study focuses on how I would approach the development of an intervention program for Jenny. Such a program begins with extensive psychological and physical assessments. The psychological assessment would be garnered primarily through observation of Jenny at practice and in games, extensive interviewing of the athlete, and, with her permission, interviewing her coaches and parents. The physical assessment would involve testing of Jenny’s injured knee as well as a complete conditioning evaluation. The key issues that emerged as part of the conceptualization of Jenny’s Performance Dysfunction include: (a) family issues, including the internalizations of a perfectionistic father and a needy mother; (b) unresolved feelings related to her parents’ divorce; and (c) emotional immaturity that expresses itself in fear of failure, inappropriate emotions, and avoidance from conflict. The intervention would take a multimodal approach that involves: (a) insight; (b) emotional exploration; (c) behavioral change; and (d) mental skills. The program would conclude with a post-intervention assessment that would be comprised of objective evaluation of Jenny’s physical condition, coach feedback about Jenny’s behavior, and, finally, Jenny’s own assessment of changes that have occurred due to the intervention.
Robert J. Schinke, Stephanie Hanrahan, Duke Peltier, Ginette Michel, Richard Danielson, Patricia Pickard, Chris Pheasant, Lawrence Enosse, and Mark Peltier
This study was designed to elucidate the pre-competition and competition practices of elite Canadian Aboriginal athletes. Elite Canadian Aboriginal athletes (N = 23) participated in semi-structured interviews. Data were segmented into meaning units by academic and Aboriginal community-appointed members, and verified with each respondent individually through mail and a password-protected website. Competition tactics were divided into three chronological stages, each with specific athlete strategies: (a) general training before competitions, (b) pre-competition week, and (c) competition strategies. The majority of the numerous strategies they reported could be considered as reflecting native traditions, appropriate attitudes/perspective, or standard sport psychology techniques. Suggestions are proposed for applied researchers and practitioners working with cultural populations, as well as how these strategies might be developed for use with other populations.
Michael B. Johnson, William A. Edmonds, Gershon Tenenbaum, and Akihito Kamata
A recently introduced probabilistic methodology (Kamata, Tenenbaum, & Hanin, 2002) was implemented in the current study to ascertain the idiosyncratic Individual Affect-related Performance Zones (IAPZs) of four intercollegiate tennis players. The current study advances upon previous empirical works by its use of multiple performance levels, use of athletes’ introspective affective intensity, and recording multiple data points duringcompetition. Results present within- and between-player comparisons, and highlight the dynamic nature of competitive athletic events. A brief discussion regarding the implications of this methodology and the pursuant results for sport psychology consultants is also proffered. Being idiosyncratic in nature, the observations from this study are not intended to generalize across samples, but rather to introduce how knowledge of the systematic and dynamic linkage between an individual’s affect and his or her performance can be uncovered and possibly used with individual athletes to facilitate more consistently optimal performances.
Fabio Lucidi, Caterina Lombardo, Paolo Maria Russo, Alessandra Devoto, and Cristiano Violani
The aim of the study was to evaluate sleep complaints in two groups of subjects all involved in sport but differing with respect to their level of commitment and weekly amount of practice. The first group was composed of 103 elite Italian Olympic athletes. The second group consisted of 198 recreational athletes, divided into two subsets on the basis of their self-reported habitual weekly amount of exercise. Subjects were requested to complete a short questionnaire (SDQ) assessing the presence and intensity of sleep disorders according to DSM-IV-TR and ICSD-2 criteria. A logistic regression was carried out to assess any differences in sleep disorders between Olympic and recreational athletes. The Olympic athletes were more likely to show no sleep disorders and less likely to show chronic or occasional sleep disorders as compared to both the other groups of athletes. No differences were found between the two subsets of recreational athletes.
Zella E. Moore
The primary purpose of this article is to expand the discussion about the role of science, clinical thinking, the state of the discipline, and the manner in which evidence-based practice may aid in the development of the field of sport psychology. Rejecting pseudoscientific principles and embracing sound scientific standards of research and practice will result in an increasingly fresh and vibrant field from which greater innovation and evolution can occur. This innovation will inevitably lead to a renewed commitment to theory building, as the evolving scientific database will drive new ways of thinking about the myriad of issues presented by athletic clientele. By embracing the evidence-based practice philosophy, not only will sound scientific advancements emerge, but most importantly, the overall well-being of our athletic clientele will be enhanced.
Frank L. Smoll, Ronald E. Smith, and Sean P. Cumming
Mastery-oriented motivational climates and achievement goal orientations have been associated with a range of salutary and clinically relevant outcomes in both educational and sport research. In view of this, an intervention was developed for youth sport coaches designed to promote a mastery motivational climate, and a field experiment was conducted to assess its effects on changes in athletes’ achievement goal orientations over the course of a sport season. The experimental group was comprised of 155 boys and girls, who played for 20 basketball coaches; 70 youngsters played for 17 control group coaches. The coach intervention resulted in higher Mastery-climate scores and lower Ego-climate scores compared with the control condition, and athletes who played for the trained coaches exhibited significant increases in Mastery goal orientation scores and significant decreases in Ego-orientation scores across the season, whereas control group participants did not. Practical and theoretical implications of the findings are discussed.
Brian V. Gallagher and Frank L. Gardner
The present study examined the relationship between cognitive vulnerabilities, coping strategy, and emotional response to athletic injury among 40 NCAA Division I injured athletes. It was hypothesized that the presence of early maladaptive schemas (EMS) and avoidant coping strategies would predict greater emotional distress among injured athletes. Early maladaptive schemas were assessed by the Young Schema Questionnaire-Short Form, which injured athletes completed upon injury. Coping strategies were measured by the Coping Response Inventory Adult Form, which was completed upon the completion of recovery. The Profile of Mood States was used to assess mood, and was completed during three phases of injury: upon injury, middle of rehabilitation, and upon recovery. As predicted, hierarchical multiple regression analysis demonstrate that EMSs and avoidance-focused coping were associated with higher levels of negative mood among injured athletes. The results also indicate that the relationship between EMS and mood vary based on the phase of injury, suggesting that different EMSs are differentially related to subtle differences in stressors encountered during each phase of the injury process.