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Profiling Coach Openness to Positive Youth Development Before, During, and After Their Participation in a Coach Education Course

Fernando Santos, Martin Camiré, and Dany J. MacDonald

Given that coaches who enroll in coach education courses may have diverse levels of openness to learning about positive youth development (PYD), the purpose of this study was to profile coaches’ openness to PYD before, during, and after their participation in a coach education course. A multimethod approach that involved field notes, nonparticipant observations, and interviews was used to create three profiles illustrating coaches’ varying levels of openness. Participants were three male coaches involved in competitive and recreational youth sport who had been coaching youth for more than 12 years. The profile of Graham represents a coach who was open to PYD. The profile of Fonseca represents a coach who was partially open to PYD. Finally, the profile of Taylor represents a coach who had no openness to PYD. Results are discussed in relation to how performance outcomes remain a high priority in youth sport, compelling some coaches to pay “socially desirable lip service” to PYD without any real intentions to modify their coaching practice. Revised policies and funding models, developed with input from multiple levels of stakeholders in the sport system, may prove useful in inspiring more coach openness to learning about PYD. This study may help further our understanding on how coach educators can use differentiated pedagogical approaches that may help make PYD a worthwhile and tangible objective for coaches who register in PYD coach education courses. Moving forward, future investigations on coach openness could be expanded to other sport contexts and coach development systems.

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Volume 36 (2022): Issue 1 (Mar 2022)

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Bulletin Board

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Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Sustained and Selective Attention in Young Top-Level Athletes in a School Training Setting: A Randomized Control Trial Study

Christoph Kittler, Manuel Arnold, and Darko Jekauc

Attention is a key success factor in elite sports. Mindfulness training is suspected to be a determinant of attention. The present study was a wait-list controlled investigation of the effects of a mindfulness-based sport psychology program on sustained and selective attention in young elite athletes (n = 137) and the effects of mindfulness training dosage on improving attention scores. In addition, long-term effects were examined. Selective and sustained attention were assessed in a pre–post design using the Frankfurter Aufmerksamkeits-Inventar 2, a go/no-go task. The results of this study indicate that the Berlin Mindfulness-Based Training for Athletes improved both sustained and selective attention in young athletes and that more training in the same amount of time resulted in higher scores in the assessment. The data also indicate that students who continued to practice independently after the intervention had higher scores in the long-term measure.

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“Keep the Pace! You’ve Got This!”: The Content and Meaning of Impactful Crowd Encouragement at Mass Running Events

Sophie Gibbs-Nicholls, Alister McCormick, and Melissa Coyle

This study identified helpful and unhelpful encouragement at mass participation running events and explored the meaning that runners found in encouragement. First, 10 k and half-marathon postevent surveys differentiated instructional and motivational components of helpful and unhelpful support. Second, an inductive, reflexive thematic analysis of 14 interviews highlighted the reciprocal relationship between the crowd and runners, whereby quality of support was reflected in runners’ emotions and behavior. Participants drew pride in participation and belief from the crowd, and they wanted to “give back” through doing their best. Personal and authentic support was particularly valued. Although support was widely appreciated, at times it created a pressure to “perform.” As a novel intervention based on our combined findings, we recommend that crowds, event organizers, and psyching teams give encouragement “with IMPACT” (Instructional; Motivational; Personalized; Authentic; Confidence-building; Tailored to the distance). Crowds should also demonstrate the “core conditions” of authenticity, empathy, and being nonjudgmental within their encouragement.

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Distinguishing Characteristics Between High and Low Adherence Patients Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Qualitative Examination

Tom Williams, Lynne Evans, Angus Robertson, Lew Hardy, Stuart Roy, and Daniel Lewis

The purpose of this study was to identify factors that distinguished between injured athletes who displayed high compared with low levels of rehabilitation adherence following anterior cruciate ligament reconstructive surgery. In order to gain an in-depth understanding of these factors, semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with six high adherers, six matched low adherers and for each injured athlete, a significant other. Thematic analysis was used to identify the themes that distinguished between high and low adherers. Three themes were generated based on the findings: (a) preparation for postoperative rehabilitation, (b) an active versus passive approach to rehabilitation, and (c) the threat of a poor outcome. Each theme comprised a number of subthemes that further elucidated the participants’ rehabilitation experiences and adherence behaviors. The findings have important implications for medical professionals, sport psychology consultants, coaches, and athletes with a vested interest in expediting recovery following anterior cruciate ligament reconstructive surgery.

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Evaluating Sport Psychology Service Delivery for Elite USA Track and Field Athletes: Findings and Recommendations

Lennie Waite, Chris Stanley, Brian Zuleger, and Anne Shadle

In preparation for the 2020–2024 Olympic cycle, members of the USA Track and Field sport psychology (SP) subcommittee investigated the SP service provision needs and preferences of 88 elite Olympic-level athletes. A mixed-methods needs analysis was employed, which consisted of surveys, interviews, and a focus group, to help understand current SP usage and shape future SP services for USA Track and Field. Findings highlighted a lack of knowledge and exposure to SP services and a desire for increased contact with SP professionals among athletes, exposing gaps and room for improvement in service delivery. Athletes cited flexibility in terms of service delivery mode and shared common core preferences for mental training, including help managing stress, pressure, emotions, and other challenges of competition and training. The results are discussed in relation to strengthening the effectiveness of service provision through increasing visibility, accessibility, and education regarding the benefits of SP services.

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A Solution-Focused Approach to Shared Athlete Leadership Development Using Mixed Methods

Christopher Maechel, Todd M. Loughead, V. Vanessa Wergin, Tom Kossak, and Jürgen Beckmann

Shared leadership is an emergent team phenomenon, emphasizing that it originates from the interaction of all team members. However, previous athlete leadership studies have focused on the individual level, omitting the role of team member interaction. In order to develop shared athlete leadership as an emergent team phenomenon, we utilized a solution-focused brief therapy paradigm, which uses coconstruction to engender change for social systems (e.g., sport teams). Sixty athletes from six sport teams (three in the experimental condition and three in the control condition) participated in a mixed-methods experimental design consisting of parallel quantitative and qualitative data collection along with a combined interpretation of these data. The quantitative results support a difference in development of shared leadership between groups, while the qualitative analysis resulted in four themes that indicate changes in interactional patterns and relational structures within the teams.

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Too Many Cooks, Not Enough Gourmets: Examining Provision and Use of Feedback for the Developing Athlete

Jamie Taylor, Dave Collins, and Andrew Cruickshank

Feedback from coaches and other stakeholders is well established as having a significant impact on the development of performance. This study investigated perceptions of the feedback process and the sense-making of athletes transitioning to elite sport. Specifically, the aims were to (a) investigate the number of feedback providers young players reported through their talent development journey, (b) understand the degree of coherence that players perceived from this feedback, and (c) explore the sense-making process of individual players by understanding their decision criteria. The findings suggest that pathway athletes were offered an excess of feedback from multiple sources, often incoherently. Yet, players lacked an appropriate sense-making process to appreciate, critically reflect on, and apply feedback. Given the implications for talent development, we offer suggestions for the coach and system to optimize feedback processes and develop gourmet consumers.

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Volume 35 (2021): Issue 4 (Dec 2021)