Talent-school settings may generate stress via demanding expectations. To investigate students representing Norway’s growing phenomenon of early adolescent talent schools, we interviewed twenty-seven 14- to15-year-old boys and girls about their experiences with self- and socially imposed expectations. Students were recruited from two sports schools (n = 14) and one school each with talent classes for ballet (n = 7) and music (n = 6). Using reflexive thematic analysis, we found four main themes representing the performers’ accounts of (a) self-oriented expectations of persistent hard work, evoking self-doubts, and never-give-up attitudes; (b) coaches’/teachers’ socially prescribed expectations, stimulating hard work, and pursuit of approval and opportunities; (c) parental expectations, reflected as helpful support, concerns of letting parents down, and negotiating independence; and (d) struggles with balancing expectations, reflected by demanding workloads, difficulties with prioritizing recovery, and ill-being. Early interventions targeting unhealthy self- and socially imposed expectations in high-expectation settings may be required to safeguard youth performers’ healthy development.
Annett Victoria Stornæs, Jorunn Sundgot-Borgen, Gunn Pettersen, Jan H. Rosenvinge, and Sanna M. Nordin-Bates
George H. Franklin, Daniel J. Brown, Emma Vickers, and Grace E. Harrison
The number of elite athletes from the United Kingdom choosing to migrate to the United States is increasing. Grounded in the push–pull framework, this was the first study to exclusively explore the motivations and experiences of elite British female gymnasts who migrated to American universities and competed in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Data were collected using semistructured interviews with seven former gymnasts and analyzed using thematic analysis. The results document how this pathway provided gymnasts with an opportunity to extend their career in a positive environment, escaping the intense and autocratic culture that dominated gymnastics in Britain. Moreover, this pathway facilitated lasting athletic and personal development including enhanced retirement from the sport. From a practice standpoint, it appears important that gymnasts be educated about the pathways available to them and that British sport organizations be supported in reshaping their environments to create more desirable and sustainable systems.
Harry K. Warburton and Matthew J. Slater
The present study examined the influence of an online relationship-oriented personal-disclosure mutual-sharing (ROPDMS) intervention upon diverse measures of group functioning during a national lockdown. Twelve soccer coaches and one senior member of staff from a professional female soccer academy participated by openly disclosing and sharing unknown personal stories with one another. Social identity dimensions (in-group ties, cognitive centrality, and in-group affect), friendship identity content, social support, self-esteem, and a nonequivalent dependent variable were measured across four time points, while social validation was obtained immediately and 4 weeks after ROPDMS. Quantitative data revealed significant increases for in-group ties, cognitive centrality, and friendship identity content after ROPDMS, while the nonequivalent dependent variable did not significantly change. Qualitative data revealed that the coaching staff felt the session was worthwhile and enhanced aspects of team functioning. Online ROPDMS therefore appears to be a viable team-building method for practitioners seeking to strengthen social identity dimensions and friendship identity content during a national lockdown.
Ludvig Johan Torp Rasmussen and Simon Hovesen Dalsgaard
Despite an increasing interest in studying creativity in sport, previous research has primarily focused on in-game creative performance and employed research designs neglecting sport participants’ perspectives. Hence, this study explored professional athletes’ developmental experiences involving creativity. Semistructured retrospective interviews were conducted with eight ice hockey players performing in or retired from the National Hockey League, Kontinental Hockey League, or Swedish Hockey League. Players described 15 modalities of creative actions emerging when playing, practicing, and performing. Based on the players’ experiences, creativity led to augmented levels of enjoyment (i.e., elicited passion), development (i.e., enhanced potential), achievement (i.e., enriched in-game qualification), and fulfillment (i.e., extended career progression). Findings contribute to a more nuanced understanding of creativity in sport and provide novel insights on the role of creativity in the development and maintenance of expertise in sport and the nature and role of deliberate play and deliberate practice in developing creativity.
Zoe Louise Moffat, Paul Joseph McCarthy, Lindsey Burns, and Bryan McCann
Life-span perspectives illustrate the critical features of development that clients experience; however, little evidence exists to illustrate how to integrate these approaches or use them in sport and exercise contexts. Attending to a clients’ developmental stage is a critical component of ethical and effective professional practice. We present an account of how we considered, selected, or dismissed components of life-span perspectives throughout the stages of service delivery with James, a youth sport athlete presenting with “choking” difficulties. The life-span approach offered a context to understand James’s presenting difficulty to determine the appropriateness and applicability of intervention, and acknowledged bias and experience of the psychologist.
Derek M. Sokoloff, Trent A. Petrie, and Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu
Although teamwork behaviors would be expected to emerge from coach-created task-involving climates, no study has focused on this connection. Thus, we surveyed female National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletes (N = 536) on their perceptions of motivational climates created by their head coaches (i.e., 33-item Perceived Motivational Climate in Sport Questionnaire) and their beliefs about their team’s teamwork behaviors (i.e., 19-item Multidimensional Assessment of Teamwork in Sport—Short Form). Cluster analyses revealed three groupings of coach-created climates: low task/high ego (n = 125), moderate task/moderate ego (n = 286), and high task/low ego (n = 125). Through a series of multivariate analyses of variance, with post hoc discriminant descriptive analysis, we found a significant main effect for the motivational climate clusters on teamwork behaviors. Athletes in the high-task/low-ego motivational climate cluster endorsed more teamwork behaviors (e.g., preparation, execution) than those in the moderate-task/moderate-ego and low-task/high-ego climate clusters. These findings suggest the importance of coach-created motivational climates in teamwork behaviors.
Sanna M. Nordin-Bates, Martin Aldoson, and Charlotte Downing
Using a case study design, we explored two ballet dancers’ perfectionism experiences via interviews and questionnaires at two time points 5 years apart. They represented the two types of “pure perfectionism” in the 2 × 2 model of perfectionism: a female representing pure personal standards perfectionism (high perfectionistic strivings, low perfectionistic concerns) and a male representing pure evaluative concerns perfectionism (low perfectionistic strivings, high perfectionistic concerns). The pure personal standards perfectionism dancer reported stable perfectionism across time, seemingly resilient to any perfectionistic concerns developing. She attributed this to her stable, grounded personality, also reporting autonomous motivation and performance success. The dancer representing pure evaluative concerns perfectionism reported increased perfectionistic strivings and lowered perfectionistic concerns over time; concurrently, his motivation became less controlled and more autonomous. He described the reasons in terms of improved basic psychological needs satisfaction and personal growth. Overall, autonomy might be important in mitigating perfectionism.
Sofie Kent, Tracey Devonport, Rachel Arnold, and Faye Didymus
Guided by transactional stress theory, this study aimed to explore elite U.K. soccer coaches’ perceived stressors, the situational properties, appraisals, and coping during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study also aimed to explore any variation in stress experiences across football league standards A total of 13 professional first-team male U.K. association football coaches between 38 and 59 years of age (M = 43.00, SD = 6.94) participated in telephone (n = 5) or online (n = 8) semistructured interviews. Informed by the philosophical position of critical realism, Braun et al.’s six-phase approach to thematic analysis was used to generate competitive, organizational, and personal stressor themes. Deductive thematic analysis generated themes reflective of all situational properties of stressors identified by Lazarus and Folkman and an array of appraisal and coping strategies. Future research and recommendations for supporting coach performance and well-being post-COVID-19 pandemic are offered.