Kirsty Martin and Hee Jung Hong
This paper addresses the contributing factors and effects of athlete burnout in women’s rugby. Current and former top amateur female rugby union players (N = 10, age 19–21 yr) were interviewed regarding their experiences of high-performance rugby and of athlete burnout. Thematic analysis was applied to analyze the data. The findings show that seven players exhibited the three dimensions of burnout: emotional and physical exhaustion, reduced sense of accomplishment, and sport devaluation. Significant antecedents included role conflict, high physical demands, and coaching behaviors that resulted in maladaptive outcomes. The findings were in line with self-determination theory and showed consistencies with previous literature regarding athlete burnout. Meaningful and original findings related to the female rugby setting were also presented and discussed. Therefore, the study provides new insights into female rugby players’ experience of athlete burnout and contributes to the understanding of athlete burnout in the context of women’s rugby, which has been underresearched.
Ellinor Klockare, Luke F. Olsson, Henrik Gustafsson, Carolina Lundqvist, and Andrew P. Hill
The purpose of this study was to explore the views and experiences of sport psychology consultants who have worked with perfectionistic elite athletes and, particularly, their views on the use of cognitive behavioral therapy. Semistructured interviews were conducted with four professional sport psychology consultants who identified themselves as having experience of working with athletes they consider to be perfectionistic. Two themes were generated: manifestations of perfectionism and management of perfectionism. The consultants found perfectionistic athletes to have rigid attitudes and strong negative emotional experiences, to use safety behaviors, and to regularly underperform. Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques such as mindfulness, cognitive restructuring, and psychological skills training were most commonly used and were largely viewed as effective against a backdrop of sporting environment that could often encourage athletes to be perfectionistic. The findings highlight the complexity of perfectionism from a consultancy perspective and the potential challenges associated with working with perfectionistic athletes.
Leo J. Roberts, Mervyn S. Jackson, and Ian H. Grundy
There are numerous studies of expert golfers’ thought processes, but few have examined thinking during both shot preparation and execution. This study had skilled golfers (N = 95, mean handicap = 1.5) complete a mixed-methods survey about their preparation/execution thoughts (a) in usual competitive circumstances and (b) during past experiences of choking. The results provided rare documentation of the ways that highly skilled golfers occupy their minds throughout the whole shot-making process. Moreover, the data allowed comparison of what golfers prefer to focus on and what the sport psychology literature recommends as optimal. The clearest gap that emerged was widespread use of deliberate or multifaceted thought during execution, against classical recommendations to swing with a quiet mind. The examination of choking implied that conscious interference was a more common rationalization for choking than previously reported. Implications for practice are discussed.
Lee Baldock, Brendan Cropley, Stephen D. Mellalieu, and Rich Neil
A novel concurrent, independent mixed-methods research design was adopted to explore elite association football coaches’ stress and mental ill-/well-being experiences over the course of an entire season. Elite coaches (N = 18) completed measures of perceived stressor severity, coping effectiveness, and mental ill-/well-being, with a sample (n = 8) also participating in semistructured interviews, across four time points. Linear mixed-model and retroductive analyses revealed (a) lower mental well-being at the beginning of the season due to negative appraisals/responses to stressors and ineffective coping attempts, (b) higher emotional exhaustion and depersonalization at the end of the season, (c) stressors high in severity led to decreased mental well-being (unless coaches coped effectively) and increased symptoms associated with burnout, and (d) ineffective coping attempts led to increased emotional exhaustion. These findings offer novel insight into the specific components of elite football coaches’ stress experiences influencing their mental ill-/well-being over time.
William R. Low, Joanne Butt, Paul Freeman, Mike Stoker, and Ian Maynard
Pressure training (PT) strategically increases pressure in training to prepare athletes to perform under pressure. Although research has studied how to create pressure during training, PT’s effectiveness may depend on more than creating pressure. A practitioner’s delivery of sport psychology interventions can moderate their effectiveness, so the current study explored perspectives of sport psychologists and athletes on the characteristics of effective PT delivery in applied settings. Eight international-level athletes and eight sport psychologists participated in semistructured qualitative interviews in which they described their experience participating in or conducting PT, respectively. Thematic analysis produced four themes relating to effective delivery: (a) collaboration with athletes and coaches: “with,” not “to”; (b) integration into training; (c) upfront transparency; and (d) promoting learning before and after PT. The themes provide guidance for planning, conducting, and following up on PT sessions in applied settings. The best practices discussed could increase athletes’ receptiveness to PT.