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.
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.
Consulting issues that confront applied sport psychology personnel in gaining entry to working with athletic teams on a long-term basis are discussed. Barriers to entry are examined at the onset and it is emphasized that these obstacles must be overcome by all consultants. Strategies for overcoming such barriers include establishing respect and trust of key athletic personnel, gaining the head coach’s respect, knowing the sport, becoming knowledgeable of the coach’s orientation and team dynamics, gaining support at all levels of the organization, clarifying services to be provided, and making presentations to coaching staffs and athletes. Additional guidelines are discussed in an effort to better clarify the role of the applied sport psychology consultant. These include clarifying one’s own consulting needs, maintaining confidentiality, the need for open and honest communication, support demonstrated by coaches, and collecting research data while consulting.