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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.

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Volume 21 (2007): Issue 1 (Mar 2007)

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Athlete Burnout: A Longitudinal Qualitative Study

Scott L. Cresswell and Robert C. Eklund

Athlete burnout has been a concern to sport organizations, the media, and researchers because of its association with negative welfare and performance outcomes (Gould, Udry, Tuffey, & Loehr, 1996; Smith, 1986). Conclusions drawn in existing cross-sectional studies (e.g., Cresswell & Eklund, 2006c; Gould, Tuffey, Udry, & Loehr, 1996) are limited because they are not based on data sensitive to the dynamic nature of athlete burnout. In the current study, professional New Zealand rugby players (n = 9) and members of team management (n = 3) were interviewed multiple times over a 12-month period in an effort to capture accounts reflecting the dynamic nature of their experiences. In these interviews, some players reported experiences consistent with multidimensional descriptions of burnout in the extant literature. During the course of the interviews players reported positive and negative changes within their experiences. Players’ experiences and adaptations were interpreted using existing theoretical explanations.

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Building and Communicating Collective Efficacy: A Season-Long In-Depth Study of an Elite Sport Team

Lars Tore Ronglan

The purpose of this study was to examine the production and regaining of collective efficacy within an elite sport team during a season. The fieldwork was possible because the author was an assistant coach on a women’s handball team participating in the World Championships and the Olympics. Acting as a participant observer during 1 year, the author observed efficacy-building processes from within the team. The fieldwork was supplemented by 17 qualitative interviews after the season. The study showed that production of collective efficacy was an interpersonal process, brought about by perceptions of previous performances, interpretations of team history, preparations for the upcoming contest, common rituals, and persuasive actions. When the team was confronted with failures, however, team-efficacy beliefs were vulnerable and needed constant reinforcement.

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College Coaches’ Experiences with Stress—“Problem Solvers” Have Problems, Too

Melinda Frey

Research has demonstrated that coaches experience stress because of the nature of their job and that stress can affect their physical and mental well-being (Richman, 1992; Wang & Ramsey, 1998). The purpose of the present study was to better understand coaches’ experiences with stress, the perceived effects of stress on their coaching performance, and their coping strategies. A semistructured interview approach was used with 10 NCAA Division I male and female head coaches. The five major themes that characterized the coaches’ experiences were contextual/conditional factors, sources of stress, responses and effects of stress, managing stress, and sources of enjoyment. The results are discussed in relation to Smith’s (1986) cognitive-affective model of stress. Opportunities for future research are suggested, and implications for practitioners who want to help coaches manage the stress of their profession are offered.

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The Long and Winding Road: Professional Development in Sport Psychology

David Tod

To date, there has been limited discussion of sport psychology consultant development, and there is not a comprehensive knowledge base on practitioner maturation. In this article the author argues that counselor-development literature might contribute to sport psychology consultant training and practitioner-maturation research. The author reviews counselor-development theory and highlights similarities with sport psychology literature, such as the documentation of trainees’ anxieties. Implications for practitioner training include matching instructional methods to trainees’ developmental needs, creating strategies for making use of modeling and simulated or real client interactions, and helping trainees deal with anxiety and conflict. Possible research directions include following sport psychology consultants longitudinally and recording experienced practitioners’ life histories. The use of counselor-development literature might assist educators and supervisors in their interactions with trainees, help practitioners reflect on and perhaps improve their service-delivery practices, and stimulate studies that contribute to a broader understanding of sport psychology consultant development.

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Prevalence of Burnout in Competitive Adolescent Athletes

Henrik Gustafsson, Göran Kenttä, Peter Hassmén, and Carolina Lundqvist

This study examined the factorial validity of the Eades Burnout Inventory (EABI) and the prevalence of burnout in adolescent elite athletes and whether burnout is more common in individual sports than in team sports. The EABI was distributed to 980 athletes (402 females and 578 males) in 29 different sports. Confirmatory-factor analyses revealed an acceptable factorial validity for a theoretically supported four-factor model of the EABI. Between 1% and 9% of the athletes displayed elevated burnout scores on these four subscales. The hypothesis of higher prevalence of burnout in individual sports was, however, not supported. Furthermore, no correlation between training load and burnout scores was found. These findings suggest that factors other than training load must be considered when athletes at risk for burnout are investigated.