Given the complexity of the talent development process, it seems likely that a range of psychological factors underpin an athlete’s ability to translate potential into top-class performance. Therefore, the purpose of part one of this two-part investigation was to explore the attributes that facilitate the successful development of athletes from initial involvement to achieving and maintaining world-class status. Seven elite athletes and a parent of each of these athletes were interviewed regarding their own (their son’s/daughter’s) development in sport. Data were content analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Although sporting achievement was conceptualized as being multidimensional, psychological factors were highlighted as the key determinants of those who emerged as talented and maintained excellence. Accordingly, we suggest that talent identification and development programs should place greater emphasis on the advancement and application of psychological behaviors at an early stage to optimize both the development and performance of athletes.
Áine MacNamara, Angela Button, and Dave Collins
Áine MacNamara, Angela Button, and Dave Collins
MacNamara, Button, & Collins (under review) proposed that if individuals are to fulfill their potential they must possess and systematically develop a specific set of skills (termed Psychological Characteristics of Developing Excellence or PCDEs) that allow them to interact effectively with the developmental opportunities they are afforded. Given the complexity of the developmental pathway, it may well be that different skills are needed at different stages of development and across different performance domains. Twenty-four elite participants from team sports, individual sports, and music were purposefully sampled from different domains and interviewed on their experiences of their own pathways to excellence. Results suggested that although PCDEs were important throughout development, the manner by which they were deployed depended on stage, domain, and the characteristics of the individual performer. These findings support proposals to systematically incorporate PCDEs into TID practices because these may be the key feature in maintaining progress toward excellence.
Amanda M. Rymal, Rose Martini, and Diane M. Ste-Marie
Self-modeling involves the observation of oneself on an edited videotape to show a desired performance (Dowrick & Dove, 1980). While research has investigated the effects of self-modeling on physical performance and psychological mechanisms in relation to skill acquisition (e.g., Clark & Ste-Marie, 2007), no research to date has used a qualitative approach to examine the thought processes athletes engage in during the viewing of a self-modeling video in a competitive sport environment. The purpose of this study was to explore the self-regulatory processes of ten divers who viewed a self-modeling video during competitions. After competition, the divers were asked four questions relating to the self-modeling video. Zimmerman’s (2000) self-regulation framework was adopted for deductive analysis of the responses to those questions. The results indicated that a number of self-regulatory processes were employed, and they were mainly those in the forethought (75%) and self-reflection (25%) phases of Zimmerman’s model. Directions for future research in self-regulation and self-modeling are discussed.
James Hardy, Ross Roberts, and Lew Hardy
This study examined the effectiveness of a logbook and paperclip technique on awareness of the use and content of negative self-talk as well as the motivation to change negative self-talk. Participants (n = 73) completed a questionnaire measuring these variables, and were assigned to either a control, paperclip or logbook group. Participants performed three typical training sessions over a three-week period. The logbook group completed a self-talk logbook after each session whereas the paperclip group carried out a paperclip exercise during each session. Upon completion of the training sessions, the questionnaire was readministered. ANCOVAs revealed no significant differences between the groups for motivation to change and awareness of the content of negative self-talk. However, the logbook group had significantly greater awareness of their use of negative self-talk compared with the control group. A qualitative analysis of the logbook group’s use of negative self-talk provided insights into the situations that prompted negative self-talk, the content of the self-talk, and also the consequences of using negative self-talk. Collectively, the findings offer some support for the use of the logbook technique in the applied setting.
Damien Clement and Vanessa Shannon
The current study’s primary purpose was to determine the impact of a sport psychology workshop on athletic training students’ sport psychology behaviors. Using a quasi-experimental research design, partial randomization was used to assign athletic training students (n = 160) to a treatment group or control group. A 2 × 2 repeated measures MANOVA revealed a significant multivariate effect for Group x Time interaction [Wilks’s Λ = .22, F (5, 154) = 1, p < .001, η2 = .77]. Follow up ANOVAs revealed significant interactions for all sport psychology behaviors (allp < .01) except referring an injured athlete to a sport psychologist. Results from the current study revealed that members of the experimental group reported a significant increase in their use of total sport psychology behaviors at the six week follow-up when compared with those in the control group. Such increases highlight the need for increased exposure of athletic training students to sport psychology. Given the potential benefits that could be derived from the incorporation of sport psychology skills and techniques into injury rehabilitation by athletic training students’, the assertion that injured athletes’ physical rehabilitation could be enhanced with the incorporation of psychological skills and techniques appears to be supported.
Craig A. Wrisberg, Duncan Simpson, Lauren A. Loberg, Jenny L. Withycombe, and Ann Reed
In the current study NCAA Division I student-athletes (n = 2,440) completed a Web-based survey assessing their willingness to seek mental skills training, perceptions of the potential benefits of mental training for their team, and support of possible roles for a sport psychology consultant at their institution. Multiple chi-square tests revealed significant (p < .001) dependence of respondents’ ratings on gender, sport type (individual vs. team), prior experience with a sport psychology consultant, and perceived effectiveness of prior experience (low, moderate, high). Generally, females were more receptive than males, individual and team sport athletes were interested in different types of mental skills, athletes with prior consulting experience were more open than those with none, and athletes with highly effective prior experience were more receptive than those with less effective experience. These findings extend previous research examining collegiate student-athletes’ attitudes toward sport psychology consulting and provide several important insights for consultants conducting mental skills training for NCAA Division I level athletes.
Larry Lauer and Craig Paiement
The Playing Tough and Clean Hockey Program was developed to teach youth hockey players ages 12 and older to play within the rules and enhance their ability to respond positively to their negative emotions (i.e., through emotional toughness). Hockey players were taught cognitive and emotional skills within a 3 R’s routine to decrease aggressive acts. Three youth ice hockey players identified as frequently exhibiting aggressive behaviors participated in 10 sessions. A single-subject design was used to analyze participants’ aggressive behaviors as well as emotional toughness. Results reveal slight improvements in all participants, with the largest reductions in retaliatory and major aggressive acts. Several key implications for practice are provided including the use of routines and managing emotional responses.
Bernadette Woods and Joanne Thatcher
The purpose of this study was to conduct a qualitative exploration of the substitute role in an attempt to uncover detailed understanding of soccer players’ experiences. Twenty soccer substitutes were individually interviewed. Inductive content analysis revealed that they experienced mainly negative organizational, person and competitive factors as substitutes, with fewer positive experiences. Organizational factors were: receiving short notice, segregation, poor coach communication, inactivity and restricted preparation. Person factors were: dissatisfaction with status, self-presentation and impression motivation concerns, reduced control over performance and coach’s decisions, reduced motivation to prepare, negative emotions and elevated state anxiety. Positive responses were: role acceptance, remaining focused, enthusiastic and confident and performing well. Sport psychologists, team-mates and coaches should be aware of these experiences and how they can help substitutes cope with their role.