Gabriella Whitcomb-Khan, Nick Wadsworth, Kristin McGinty-Minister, Stewart Bicker, Laura Swettenham, and David Tod
This study explored the experiences of elite athletes during the initial stages of lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The eight recruited participants (three females, five males) were asked to tell a story of their lockdown experience. Narrative analysis was used to explore the athletes’ stories. The athletes’ narrative is best represented in four distinct sections: (a) threat to goals, (b) ongoing consequences, (c) overcoming COVID-19, and (d) adapting to COVID-19. Four narrative themes were also coconstructed from the athletes’ stories: (a) factors athletes found challenging, (b) loss, (c) strategies that benefitted athletes psychologically, and (d) silver linings. Combined, these findings suggest that the initial stages of lockdown are best described as a critical pause. The authors present applied implications for athletes and sport psychology practitioners. The authors also recommend that future research investigate the longitudinal effect of prolonged lockdown on athletes’ lives and a potential return to sport.
Diana M. Doumas and Nadine R. Mastroleo
High school athletes are at risk for heavy alcohol use, which is associated with consequences that may negatively impact performance and eligibility to participate in sports. This study evaluated the efficacy of a web-based personalized normative feedback intervention on reducing alcohol use among high school athletes in their senior year. Class periods were randomized to the intervention or an assessment-only control group. Athletes completed surveys at baseline and at a 6-week follow-up. They were classified as high-risk or low-risk drinkers based on baseline reports of binge drinking. Results indicated that for athletes classified as high-risk drinkers, those in the intervention group reported significantly greater reductions in quantity of weekly drinking and peak drinking quantity compared with those in the assessment-only control group. There were no significant intervention effects for frequency of alcohol use. Findings support the efficacy of web-based personalized normative feedback intervention for reducing alcohol use among high school senior athletes.
Piotr A. Piasecki, Todd M. Loughead, Kyle F. Paradis, and Krista J. Munroe-Chandler
In an effort to increase perceptions of cohesion among intercollegiate soccer players, a team-based mindfulness meditation program was undertaken. This team-building program was delivered by using a personal-disclosure mutual-sharing approach. A total of 31 female intercollegiate soccer players from two teams participated. Assigned to the intervention condition was a Canadian intercollegiate team (U Sports), while the control condition was an American intercollegiate team (NCAA, Division II). The participants completed a measure of cohesion (Group Environment Questionnaire) pre- and postintervention. Controlling for the preintervention scores, the 8-week team-based mindfulness meditation program resulted in significantly higher perceptions of social cohesion for the intervention group compared with the control group at postintervention. However, there were no significant differences in task cohesion between the intervention and control groups at postintervention. Using personal disclosure, mutual sharing seems a viable approach by which to deliver a team-based mindfulness meditation program to enhance a team’s social cohesion.
Jonathan R. Males, John H. Kerr, and Joanne Hudson
This case study examines the personal experiences of an elite athlete, coach, and sport psychology consultant (SPC) during the athlete’s preparation and performance in a recent Olympic Games. The qualitative research details how the consultancy process was affected by the athlete’s late admission of the deteriorating relationship with his coach. The concepts of closeness, commitment, complementarity, and co-orientation provided a theoretical perspective to the SPC’s interpretation of athlete performance and the interpersonal conflict that developed between athlete and coach. The basic performance demand model provided an applied perspective. The SPC’s commentary adopts a reflexive discursive style that also focuses on the SPC’s role in the consultancy process and the effectiveness of the performance demand model materials. Five important recommendations arise from the case study, and these might inform other SPCs’ future athlete–coach consultancies and interventions.
Tom Webb, Paul Gorczynski, Shakiba Oftadeh-Moghadam, and Laura Grubb
Research into the mental health of female sport match officials is scarce, despite verbal and physical abuse being commonplace. Twelve female match officials officiating male and female matches took part in semistructured interviews, investigating their experiences and understanding of their mental health. Deductive thematic analysis identified four overarching themes: male and female football environments; abuse, sexism, and homophobia in football; formal and informal support networks; and mental health knowledge and experience—accessing services. The results revealed toxic, abusive, male-dominated environments that included sexist and derogatory language, negatively affecting their mental health. The female match officials struggled to ascertain mechanisms for support and identified that the educational courses and local organizations did not provide mental health information or training, and match officials often experienced poor mental health during and after matches. Increased engagement with mental health literacy and policy change from governing bodies is required, given the unique challenges female match officials face.
Danielle C. DeLisio, E. Earlynn Lauer, Terilyn C. Shigeno, Leslee A. Fisher, and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek
Mental performance consultants in training need to be prepared to respond to the various ethical dilemmas they may encounter, including sexual misconduct. Sexual harassment (i.e., unwanted attention of a sexual nature that may create an uncomfortable environment) is a form of sexual misconduct that has increased dramatically in the general U.S. population. In this paper, the authors provide a composite narrative from the point of view of the “victim” of sexual harassment (i.e., a neophyte mental performance consultant) while consulting with a high school team. Then, the authors examine and interpret the narrative in light of four complicating factors: (a) gender identity and other demographics, (b) context, (c) training and experience, and (d) handling/reporting incidents of sexual harassment. Finally, the authors pose questions for readers related to each complication and present implications for sport psychology students and faculty.
Rory Mack, Jeff Breckon, Joanne Butt, and Ian Maynard
This study explored the use of motivational interviewing (MI) in sport contexts by experts in that approach. Specifically, the purpose was to understand which aspects of the MI approach are deemed valuable for working in sport and to begin to understand how these aspects are best applied. Nine practitioners participated in semistructured interviews, and thematic analysis identified themes related to core and subcomponents of MI (e.g., relational spirit, technical microskills, applied tools, and the MI communication styles continuum). Additional themes relate to integrating MI with other interventions, the challenges of working with athletes (e.g., mandated attendance, ambivalence about change), and unique aspects of working in sport contexts (e.g., frequency, duration, and location of contact points). The participants also outlined essential ingredients for an MI training curriculum for practitioners in sport. This counseling approach appears to have valuable relational and technical components to facilitate the building of the therapeutic alliance, enhance athlete readiness for change, and support delivery of action-oriented interventions in applied sport psychology.
Aura Goldman and Misia Gervis
Though sexism has been recognized as problematic in sport, its impact on female sport psychologists in the United Kingdom has not yet been investigated. The purpose of this research was to explore the impact of sexism and its influence on practice. Four semistructured focus groups were conducted, comprising 11 sport psychologists who worked in the United Kingdom. Thematic analysis revealed four general themes: the environment, privileging masculinity, acts of sexism, and the feminine. Participants’ discourse suggests that female sport psychologists are impacted by sexism in their workplaces. Gendered power differentials, coupled with the low status of sport psychology within sport, exacerbated the challenges faced by female sport psychologists. This study contributes to making up for the dearth of research on the impact of sexism on sport psychologists. Suggestions are made with regard to implications for practice.