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A Two-Sample Examination of the Relationship Between Trait Emotional Intelligence, Burnout, and Coping Strategies in Athletes

Pia Zajonz, Robert S. Vaughan, and Sylvain Laborde

Competitive sport has the potential to increase chronic stress and, hence, the risk of burnout. The aim of this paper was, first, to examine the relationship between athlete burnout and trait emotional intelligence (TEI) and, second, to look at the mediating role of coping strategies between TEI and athlete burnout. In two samples of athletes (N 1 = 290; N 2 = 144), we conducted correlation analyses linking dimensions of TEI with athlete burnout and found negative correlations. We then tested a structural equation model in the second sample, hypothesizing an indirect link between TEI and athlete burnout via coping strategies. Results showed a mediation effect of emotion-focused to problem-focused coping between TEI and athlete burnout. Avoidance coping showed a positive direct effect on athlete burnout. Further research should investigate effective coping strategies and clarify whether emotional intelligence training may be used to protect athletes from developing burnout.

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Cohesion and Heterosexist Attitudes in Men’s Collegiate Athletics

Elizabeth M. Mullin, Meghan K. Halbrook, Ryan Socolow, and Anna Bottino

While attitudes toward gay men in sport have improved, sexual prejudice persists in sport, with the potential to decrease team social bonds. We examined the relationship between heterosexist attitudes and cohesion in men’s collegiate sports. Male college athletes (N = 264) completed the Heterosexist Attitudes in Sport–Gay Men scale and the Group Environment Questionnaire. We found a significant multivariate relationship among heterosexist attitudes and cohesion, Λ = .88, F(8, 518) = 4.28, p < .001, with 10.6% overlapping variance between the two variate sets. Cognitive/affective heterosexist attitudes, attraction to group-task, group integration-task, and group integration-social contributed to the relationship. Heterosexism and sexual prejudice may serve as distractions from team objectives. Mental performance consultants working within men’s college sport should challenge negative stereotypes of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer individuals; reward inclusive efforts; and leverage team building to reduce heterosexism in sport.

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Attentional Foci and Coping Strategies During Matches of Young Fencers in a Training Center: A Naturalistic Video-Assisted Study

Mathéo Maurin, Maëlle Bracco, Steven Le Pape, Noémie Lienhart, Cyril Bossard, Julie Doron, and Guillaume Martinent

The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) identify attentional foci (AF) and coping strategies used by young fencers during matches and (b) explore the links between these variables using a grounded-theory approach. Using a naturalistic qualitative video-assisted approach, analyses revealed the emergence of five categories of AF (movements and techniques, strategies and tactics, situation evaluation, states, and extraneous attention) and six categories of coping strategies (mastery coping, internal regulation, goal-withdrawal strategies, behavioral regulation, no regulation, and automatic regulation). The grounded theory highlighted that pleasant emotional experiences tended to be related to mastery coping, which in turn favored the orientation of the attention toward AF that appeared to be most effective in winning points (i.e., opponent, distance, plan). Conversely, unpleasant emotional experiences were consistently associated with goal-withdrawal strategies (or no regulation), which generally led to a lack of AF and lower performance. Intervention suggestions are made in relation to the results of the proposed grounded theory.

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Reexamining the Association Between Preseason Challenge and Threat States and Performance Across the Season

Matthew Jewiss, Chris Hodgson, and Iain Greenlees

Challenge and threat (C/T) states have been shown to predict sport performance under pressure. Nevertheless, only one study has examined whether preseason C/T states are associated with season-long performance, yielding promising findings. Despite promising findings, this work is not without limitations that warrant addressing. We aimed to address these limitations and contribute to the scarce literature which tests the effect of anticipatory C/T states on longer term performance. Thirty-eight amateur cricketers prepared and delivered two counterbalanced speeches: a control speech and a speech about an important cricket batting situation approximately 16 weeks prior to the start of their competitive season. Regression analysis showed that cardiovascular reactivity in anticipation of delivering a speech about an important cricket batting scenario the next season did not predict season-long batting performance. The findings have potential to challenge the role C/T states play in predicting longer term performance in the sport domain.

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Volume 38 (2024): Issue 2 (Jun 2024)

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Bulletin Board

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A Phenomenological Evaluation of the Psychological Factors That Influence Motorsports Performance

Christopher R. Hill, Kathleen T. Mellano, Haley B.P. Trujillo, and David P. Ferguson

Race car drivers not only face high-speed challenges but also need to manage complex team dynamics and sponsor relations and are exposed to unique fan access while competing. This study examines the unique psychological aspects of motorsports and how race car drivers currently train psychological skills to match these distinctive demands. Adopting a phenomenological approach, this study involved semistructured interviews with 11 professional race car drivers. The interviews focused on drivers’ psychological experiences during racing and their psychological preparation. Thematic analysis of the interview data revealed key psychological factors impacting performance. These included concentration, confidence, anxiety, managing emotional states, unique social aspects, and motivation. Drivers also had an interest in psychological-skills training but reported a lack of resources and consistent application. This study highlights the unique psychological challenges presented in motorsports, and the findings underscore the need for targeted psychological-skills training and resources for race car drivers.

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A Longitudinal Multicase Study About the Board-Game Format of an Educational Self-Talk Intervention

Vassilis Mathas, Philip Solomon-Turay, Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis, James Hardy, and Alexander T. Latinjak

This study explored goal-directed self-talk and its optimization through educational self-talk interventions, focusing on a novel sports-oriented board-game intervention. Examining a practitioner’s experiences and diverse participant profiles, including an elite tennis player, a recreational athlete, a football referee, and a tennis coach, the research employed four in-depth case studies. A unique aspect of this study involved intentional control transfer from practitioner to client, documented through a practitioner diary and postintervention interviews. Participants generally expressed appreciation for the intervention; however, the coach’s case necessitated bespoke adjustments, underscoring the importance of contextual sensitivity in applied practice. The educational self-talk intervention reportedly facilitated the analytical deconstruction of challenges, enhancing self-regulation through goal-directed self-talk. The study underscored the pedagogical merit of the board game and observed a substantive transfer of control from practitioner to participant over the intervention’s longitudinal trajectory. Detailed recommendations have been crafted for practitioners to implement the educational self-talk intervention effectively in their practice.

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The Inducers of an Elite Male Table Tennis Player’s Emotional Experience Throughout His Career: A Single Case Study Based on the Critical-Incident Method

Oriane Petiot, Gilles Kermarrec, Jérôme Visioli, and Guillaume Martin

Despite a growing interest in emotions in sport psychology, little has been written about the contextual elements triggering athletes’ emotional experience. This single case study aimed to analyze the inducers of an elite table tennis player’s emotional experience throughout his career. He was ranked among the 15 best players in the world, and his career spanned more than 20 years. Inspired by the critical-incident method, we conducted a lengthy interview with the player, during which he related the most significant moments of his career. The categorization of the 96 critical incidents collected highlighted four inducers of positive emotions and five inducers of negative emotions, emerging over five periods (exponential progression, first difficulties, major difficulties, second career, and end of career). These findings contribute to the development of an innovative single-case-study design, allowing an understanding of the contextual origin of athletes’ emotions over the long term. Finally, highlights are discussed and recommendations for the practice of sport psychology are formulated.

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Case-Conceptualization Practices in Sport and Performance Psychology

Matthew D. Bird, Elmer A. Castillo, and Patricia C. Jackman

Case conceptualization is an important stage in the sport and performance psychology (SPP) consulting process. The conceptualization of a case can influence a consultant’s understanding of the underpinning mechanisms contributing to a presenting concern, interventions selected to help a client, and the effectiveness of provided services. Guidelines for case conceptualization have been developed for SPP professionals, but little is known about how this activity is undertaken in practice. The purpose of this study was to investigate the case-conceptualization methods and approaches of certified SPP professionals. Fifty-two certified mental performance consultants completed an online qualitative survey exploring how they conceptualized cases. Our findings suggested that SPP consultants viewed case conceptualization as an ongoing process, something that helps a consultant understand a client’s presenting concerns and guide any intervention plans, a collaboration between client and consultant, and a way to evaluate the effectiveness of their practice.