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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.

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A Qualitative Study of Rugby Coaches’ Opinions about the Display of Moral Character

Philippe Romand and Nathalie Pantaléon

The purpose of this study was to attain a deeper understanding of youth coaches’ attitudes toward the display of moral character (e.g., the values they try to teach their players, the concrete means they use to teach game rules, and prosocial norms) and to examine how they make rule abidance compatible with intensive efforts to achieve success. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 16 coaches of adolescent rugby teams. The interviews dealt with how values are taught to players and how rule following is enforced during practice and competition. A lexical analysis (Alceste software) and a thematic analysis were performed on the interview answers. The findings illustrate the complexity of the coaching role—coaches must impart a certain number of rules and ways of acting to their athletes while simultaneously inciting them to a high performance level that can lead players to go overboard in competitive situations.

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Reflections on the Application of Reflective Practice for Supervision in Applied Sport Psychology

Zöe Knowles, David Gilbourne, Victoria Tomlinson, and Ailsa G. Anderson

In the UK, sport psychologists are presently supervised under the auspices of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES). In the present article, reflective practice is evaluated as a process that can facilitate the supervisory exercise in applied sport psychology (Anderson, Knowles, & Gilbourne, 2004). The material presented was collated via a 3-year longitudinal supervisory process based on the process of staged reflection (Knowles, Gilbourne, Borrie, & Nevill, 2001). The benefits of staged reflective development in the supervision process are highlighted, while differentiating between reflective techniques both in and on action. The present article also considers how different writing styles develop through the different phases of discussion and revisits the challenges associated with representing reflective practice.

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Volume 20 (2006): Issue 4 (Dec 2006)