The present case study describes the content and implementation of a blended psychological skills training, consisting of an app and workshops, with a group of athletes (N = 44) from a Bundesliga soccer academy in Germany. In a pre–post design, athletes completed different questionnaires at two measurement points. There was a significant increase in concentration and self-efficacy and more frequent recovery after the intervention. However, athletes showed equal competition anxiety levels and more frequent stress after the intervention. The app’s training time was brief (M = 14.36 min, SD = 18.17 min) over 9 weeks and did not moderate the intervention’s effects. A comparison between active users and nonusers indicates that the results found were due to the workshops. The qualitative feedback indicates that motivational functions should be added to a psychological skills training app and time slots should be created in athletes’ demanding schedules to ensure high user engagement.
Lukas Stenzel, Melissa Röcken, Simon Borgmann, and Oliver Stoll
Satoshi Aikawa and Hideaki Takai
Athletes believe imagery is essential for high-quality performance. It is essential to identify what type of imagery significantly contributes to performance. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between imagery ability and gymnastics performance, as well as self-efficacy and thoughts during competitions that are related to performance. Fifty-two gymnasts were recruited for this study. Participants were measured for imagery ability, self-efficacy, thoughts during competitions, and performance. Results indicated that skill imagery significantly predicts worry and disengagement in a negative manner, and mastery imagery is positively related to self-efficacy. Moreover, goal imagery has a significant positive relationship to self-efficacy, disengagement, confidence, and performance. In conclusion, the ability to easily image an ideal performance, such as the success of one’s performance or the image of a perfect performance, might increase confidence in the competition and lead to the success of the performance.
Veronique Richard, Justin Mason, Stacey Alvarez-Alvarado, Inbal Perry, Benoit Lussier, and Gershon Tenenbaum
The aim of the present study was to compare the effectiveness of a learned preperformance routine (PPR) with an intuitively developed one before a simulation race on advanced swimmers’ speed and motor efficiency, as well as self-efficacy and emotional regulation. In total, 46 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I swimmers were stratified to either the control (intuitively developed PPR) or the PPR condition, which included four instructional sessions aimed at developing a PPR. A simulated competitive race was organized before and after the intervention. For each simulation, speed and motor efficiency were measured during the race, and self-efficacy and emotions, after the completion of the race. Nonsignificant effects were revealed for speed, motor efficiency, and self-efficacy following the intervention. However, performing a learned PPR prior to racing significantly influenced the swimmers’ emotional state. These results provide some support for the effect of a PPR on emotional regulation prior to a swimming race.
Mentoring has been identified as an important antecedent for coaches’ professional and leadership development. I examined how the gender composition of head coach and assistant coach mentorship moderates the relationship between the quality of mentorship and assistant coaches’ leadership skills. The participants were 239 pairs of assistant and head coaches in U.S. college sports. The assistant coaches assessed the quality of mentorship with their head coaches, while the head coaches assessed their assistant coaches’ leadership skills. Mentorship quality was generally related to assistant coaches’ leadership skills, yet the relationships were positive and significant for dyads that involve female head coaches and not significant for dyads that involve male head coaches. The results indicate that gender composition may need to be considered in increasing the effectiveness of coaches’ mentorship. The findings inform the current practices in the implementation of mentoring for coaches’ leader development.
Lee Baldock, Brendan Cropley, Rich Neil, and Stephen D. Mellalieu
The stress experiences and their impact upon the daily lives and mental well-being of English Premier League professional (soccer) football coaches were explored using an in-depth qualitative design. Eight participants were interviewed using a semi-structured approach with thematic and causal network analysis revealing that (a) a range of contextually dependent demands were experienced and interpreted in relation to their situational properties; (b) many demands were appraised and emotionally responded to in a negative manner; (c) a range of coping strategies were adopted to cope with stress experiences, with many reported as ineffective; and (d) stress experiences often led to negative implications for their daily lives and eudaimonic and hedonic well-being. Positive adaptations to some demands experienced were reported and augmented perceptions of mental well-being. The findings of this study make a novel and significant contribution to understanding the interrelationships between the principal components of the stress process and the prospective links between stress and mental well-being.
Lewis King, Sarah Jane Cullen, Jean McArdle, Adrian McGoldrick, Jennifer Pugh, Giles Warrington, and Ciara Losty
The purpose of this study was to explore the sources of stress reported by professional jockeys. In total, 15 jockeys participated in semistructured interviews that included apprentice, conditional, and senior jockeys. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data that included inductive and deductive approaches. Jockeys reported a wide range of stress sources. Four core themes were identified and categorized as competitive (current form or being in a slump, pressure, horse, injury, opponents, tactical, and race day), racing industry (weight, workload, travel demands, injury concerns, suspension, and facilities), interpersonal (trainer, other jockeys, expectations of others, support networks, and communication), and career stressors (career uncertainty, career opportunities, and transitions). The findings highlight unique stressors to the jockey population, as well as stressors common with other athlete groups. Practical applied recommendations and future research directions are provided.
Martin K. Erikstad, Bjørn Tore Johansen, Marius Johnsen, Tommy Haugen, and Jean Côté
The personal assets framework suggests that dynamic elements of (a) personal engagement in activities, (b) quality social dynamics, and (c) appropriate settings will influence an athlete’s long-term outcomes of performance, personal development, and continued participation in sport. The aim of the present study was to conduct a case study of a Norwegian age-restricted team that was successful in promoting participation, performance, and positive development for individual participants and to investigate how the dynamic elements of activities, social dynamics, and settings have led to these long-term outcomes. The results indicated that the case is a best-practice example of successful attainment of personal development and long-term participation and performance through appropriate structure and application of the dynamic elements within the personal assets framework, including enjoyable peer-led play activities and quality practice, quality relationships with teammates and coaches, and access to facilities.
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.