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A Qualitative Study of Sport Enjoyment in the Sampling Years

Paul J. McCarthy and Marc V. Jones

This focus group study examined the sources of enjoyment and nonenjoyment among younger and older English children in the sampling years of sport participation (ages 7–12). Concurrent inductive and deductive content analysis revealed that, consistent with previous research, younger and older children reported sources of enjoyment such as perceived competence, social involvement and friendships, psychosocial support, and a mastery-oriented learning environment. Nonenjoyment sources included inappropriate psychosocial support, increasing competitive orientation, negative feedback and reinforcement, injuries, pain, and demonstrating a lack of competence. Differences between younger and older children’s sources of enjoyment and nonenjoyment also emerged. Younger children reported movement sensations as a source of enjoyment and punishment for skill errors and low informational support as nonenjoyment sources. Older children reported social recognition of competence, encouragement, excitement, and challenge as sources of enjoyment with rivalry, overtraining, and high standards as sources of nonenjoyment. These differences underscore the importance of tailoring youth sport in the sampling years to the needs of the child.

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Should the Coaches of Elite Female Handball Teams Focus on Collective Efficacy or Group Cohesion?

Jean-Philippe Heuzé, Grégoire Bosselut, and Jean-Philippe Thomas

The purpose of this study was to examine the direction of the effect between cohesion and collective efficacy in elite female handball teams. A total of 84 female handball players completed 2 questionnaires at 2 time periods during the competitive season (i.e., early and midseason). Relationships were examined across time at an individual level after statistically controlling for previous group performance. Regression analyses including the autoregressive influence indicated that early-season collective efficacy positively predicted variance in midseason individual attractions to the group-task (ATG-T) after controlling for early-season ATG-T scores. In elite female handball teams, findings only supported collective efficacy as an antecedent of task cohesion and suggested that coaches should promote strategies dedicated to foster athletes’ beliefs about their team efficacy.

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Volume 21 (2007): Issue 3 (Sep 2007)

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The Effects of a Mental Skills Training Package on Equestrians

Marsha L. Blakeslee and Dennis M. Goff

The present study examined the effectiveness of a mental skills training (MST) package employing relaxation, imagery, goal setting, and self-talk (strategies for improving performance and perceptions through cognitive-somatic techniques) on equestrian performance. A stratified random sample of 17 competitive collegiate horseback riders participated in this study: 8 received MST and 9 were controls. Riders’ goal orientation was also assessed and used to determine if there might be a relationship with performance change over time. Assessment of participants via performance in 2 horse shows revealed no interaction effect for group by time in either flat or show-jumping performance, but there was a significant main effect of time for performance improvement. Riders demonstrated a dominant mastery-approach goal orientation as hypothesized, but no significant correlations with performance change emerged. Findings do not rule out MST as a possible performance enhancing technique, but more research is needed to assess nomothetic MST package effects.

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In Pursuit of Congruence: A Personal Reflection on Methods and Philosophy in Applied Practice

Pete Lindsay, Jeff D. Breckon, Owen Thomas, and Ian W. Maynard

The chosen methods of applied sport psychology practitioners should be underpinned by their personal core beliefs and values (Poczwardowski, Sherman, & Ravizza, 2004). However, many novice practitioners unquestioningly adopt the dominant method of the field (Fishman, 1999), and thus might find themselves incongruent in terms of their professional philosophy (Tudor & Worrall, 2004). This article aims to highlight questions that practitioners might reflect on to achieve greater congruence in terms of their philosophy of practice. Autoethnographic accounts of consultancies by a recently qualified practitioner are used to explore one practitioner’s journey toward congruence in professional philosophy. Insights arising from these consultancies for the practitioner are provided, and the wider implications for the training and certification and accreditation of practitioners are considered.

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Learning Experiences Contributing to Service-Delivery Competence

David Tod, Daryl Marchant, and Mark B. Andersen

Graduates (n = 16) and teaching staff (n = 11) of Australian master’s of applied psychology programs (sport and exercise) participated in interviews about learning experiences that they believed contributed to service-delivery competence. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically content analyzed. The authors sought to enhance research credibility through data source and analyst triangulation. Participants thought the main contributions to service-delivery competence were client interactions; relationships among teaching staff, supervisors, and students; and specific events outside of the training programs. Participants considered sport psychology research and theory to be helpful when applicable to clients. The authors discuss issues arising under the major themes relating to practitioner development, such as supervisor-supervisee relationships. The results of the study have implications for future training in sport psychology, such as the mentoring of students, the grounding of practice in research and theory, and how anxiety can be minimized during role-plays.

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Psychological Aspects of Training in European Basketball: Conceptualization, Periodization, and Planning

Ronnie Lidor, Boris Blumenstein, and Gershon Tenenbaum

The purpose of this article is to examine how phase-specific psychological interventions were used in an annual training program of elite male basketball players. Psychological intervention introduced to elite athletes during their training program reflects the aims of each critical phase of the program, namely the preparation, competition, and transition phases. In addition, while conducting psychological consultations, the sport psychologist should take into consideration the specific objectives of other preparations in the training program, such as the physical, technical, and tactical. The specific psychology intervention in each phase of the basketball training program, the philosophical approach to the intervention process, and the reasoning behind the use of the certain psychological techniques at each specific phase of the program are discussed.

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Social Psychology in Sport

Mark Uphill

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Sport Experiences, Milestones, and Educational Activities Associated with High-Performance Coaches’ Development

Karl Erickson, Jean Côté, and Jessica Fraser-Thomas

What experiences are needed to become a high-performance coach? The present study addressed this question through structured retrospective quantitative interviews with 10 team- and 9 individual-sport coaches at the Canadian interuniversity-sport level. Minimum amounts of certain experiences were deemed necessary but not sufficient to become a high-performance coach (e.g., playing the sport they now coach and interaction with a mentor coach for all coaches, leadership opportunities as athletes for team-sport coaches only). Although coaches reported varying amounts of these necessary experiences, general stages of high-performance coach development were traced. Findings serve to identify and support potential high-performance coaches and increase the effectiveness of formal coaching-education programs.

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Understanding Athlete Adaptation in the National Hockey League through an Archival Data Source

Robert J. Schinke, Alain P. Gauthier, Nicole G. Dubuc, and Troy Crowder

The study of adaptation in elite sport delineates the adjustment strategies of amateur and professional athletes during career transitions (e.g., promotion, relocation). Fiske (2004) recently identified 5 core motives as the vehicles to adaptation: belonging, understanding, controlling, self-enhancement, and trusting. The goal was to verify and contextualize these core motives with 2 respondent groups of professional athletes from the National Hockey League. The groups consisted of those experiencing rookie adaptation and veteran adaptation. A total of 58 athletes were divided into groups representing the Canadian mainstream, Canadian Aboriginal culture, and Europe. There were 175 newspaper articles that were retrieved using online and library resources. The similarities and discrepancies in and across groups provides insight into this hard-to-reach population.