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Volume 21 (2007): Issue 2 (Jun 2007)

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Burnout in Sport: A Systematic Review

Kate Goodger, Trish Gorely, David Lavallee, and Chris Harwood

The purpose of the present review was to provide an up-to-date summary of the burnout-in-sport literature. The last published reviews were in 1989 (Fender) and 1990 (Dale & Weinberg). In order to appreciate the status of current knowledge and understanding and to identify potential future directions, the authors conducted a synthesis of published work using a systematic-review methodology. Findings comprised 3 sections: sample characteristics, correlates, and research designs and data collection. A total of 58 published studies were assessed, most of which focused on athletes (n = 27) and coaches (n = 23). Correlates were grouped into psychological, demographic, and situational factors and were summarized as positively, negatively, indeterminate, and nonassociated with burnout. Self-report measures and cross-sectional designs have dominated research. The authors conclude by summarizing the key findings in the literature and highlighting the gaps that could be filled by future research.

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E.W. Scripture and the Yale Psychology Laboratory: Studies Related to Athletes and Physical Activity

Alan S. Kornspan

The purpose of this article is to examine the influence of E.W. Scripture’s application of the “new psychology” to sport and physical education at the Yale psychology laboratory in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Specifically, an analysis of the influence of the new psychology on the study of the psychological aspects of sport is presented. Research and articles that studied the reaction time, accuracy, cross-education, and influence of physical training on attention and willpower are presented. Finally, the influence of Scripture’s work on the field of sport psychology is described.

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A Framework of Mental Toughness in the World’s Best Performers

Graham Jones, Sheldon Hanton, and Declan Connaughton

The authors conducted an investigation of mental toughness in a sample population of athletes who have achieved ultimate sporting success. Eight Olympic or world champions, 3 coaches, and 4 sport psychologists agreed to participate. Qualitative methods addressed 3 fundamental issues: the definition of mental toughness, the identification of its essential attributes, and the development of a framework of mental toughness. Results verified the authors’ earlier definition of mental toughness and identified 30 attributes that were essential to being mentally tough. These attributes clustered under 4 separate dimensions (attitude/mindset, training, competition, postcompetition) within an overall framework of mental toughness. Practical implications and future avenues of research involving the development of mental toughness and measurement issues are discussed.

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How Youth-Sport Coaches Learn to Coach

François Lemyre, Pierre Trudel, and Natalie Durand-Bush

Researchers have investigated how elite or expert coaches learn to coach, but very few have investigated this process with coaches at the recreational or developmental-performance levels. Thirty-six youth-sport coaches (ice hockey, soccer, and baseball) were each interviewed twice to document their learning situations. Results indicate that (a) formal programs are only one of the many opportunities to learn how to coach; (b) coaches’ prior experiences as players, assistant coaches, or instructors provide them with some sport-specific knowledge and allow them to initiate socialization within the subculture of their respective sports; (c) coaches rarely interact with rival coaches; and (d) there are differences in coaches’ learning situations between sports. Reflections on who could help coaches get the most out of their learning situations are provided.

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Literature Reviews in Sport Psychology

Emma J. Stodel

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Making the Case for Poetic Representations: An Example in Action

Andrew C. Sparkes and Kitrina Douglas

As part of the emergence of new writing practices in the social sciences, qualitative researchers have begun to harness the potential of poetic representations as a means of analyzing social worlds and communicating their findings to others. To date, however, this genre has received little attention in sport psychology. The purpose of this article, therefore, is to raise awareness and generate discussion about poetic representations. First, the potential benefits of using this genre are outlined. Next, based on interview data from a study that explored the motivations of elite female golfers, the process of constructing a poetic representation about the experiences of one of the participants is described. The products of this endeavor and the reactions of various audiences to it are then presented. Finally, the issue of judging poetic representations is discussed.

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Multiple Roles in an Applied Setting: Trainee Sport Psychologist, Coach, and Researcher

Leigh Jones, Lynne Evans, and Richard Mullen

This is a follow-up article to an action research study that explored the effects of an imagery intervention on an elite rugby union player conducted over a 14-week period during the competitive season (Evans, Jones, & Mullen, 2004). A key feature of the study was that the same individual fulfilled multiple roles, specifically those of trainee sport psychologist, coach, and researcher. The aim of this article is to explore, from a trainee sport psychologist’s perspective, some of the issues that resulted from fulfilling multiple roles, both in the context of the study and in professional practice generally. The issues that emerged were consistent with the dual-role literature and involved role conflict surrounding areas of responsibility, scientific evidence versus social validity, confidentiality versus public statement, and the interpersonal welfare of both athlete and coach-sport psychologist (Ellickson & Brown, 1990). The findings highlighted (a) the importance of establishing ground rules (and planning), (b) the intensified emotional demands placed on the multirole practitioner, (c) the importance of involving a critical friend or outside agent, and (d) the potential for role conflict and the threat to objectivity.

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She Can Coach!

Jennifer J. Waldron

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When Sport Psychology Consulting Is a Means to an End(ing): Roles and Agendas When Helping Athletes Leave Their Sports

Judy L. Van Raalte and Mark B. Andersen

The authors focus on many of the complex issues that sport psychologists face when working with athletes through the process of leaving sport. They briefly review the literature on career termination to serve as a foundation for a discussion of the effects that an athlete’s career termination can have on teammates, family, and the self. The authors also explore the issue of bias and prejudice. People intimately involved in sport (sport psychologists included) often have a prejudice toward sport relative to other possible activities or goals. This bias might influence how sport psychologists listen to, interpret, and formulate athlete cases. Case examples are used to highlight the difficulties of identifying career-termination concerns and the professional and personal tensions that come with making sport career changes. With care, sport psychologists can manage career termination and related issues and effectively address the health and happiness of the athletes they serve.