This study investigated how the experiences of two elite coaches contributed to and shaped their stories of burnout and withdrawal from high performance coaching. The coaches whose narratives we explore were both middle-aged head coaches, one in a major team sport at the highest club level, and one in an individual Olympic sport at international level. Through a thematic narrative analysis, based on in-depth interviews, the stories of the two coaches are presented in four distinct sections: antecedents, experiences of coaching with burnout symptoms, withdrawal from sport, and the process of recovery and personal growth. These narratives have implications for high performance coaching, such as the importance of role clarity, work-home inference, counseling, mentoring, and social support as means to facilitate recovery, and the need for additional research with coaches who have left sport, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the complete burnout-recovery process.
Peter Olusoga and Göran Kenttä
Véronique Richard, Wayne Halliwell, and Gershon Tenenbaum
The study examined the effect of an improvisation intervention on figure skating performance, self-esteem, creativity, and mindfulness skills. Nine elite figure skaters participated in a 10-session program based on Cirque du Soleil artistic principles. A mixed methodology using questionnaires, competition scores, and interviews was used to test the program effects on these variables. Descriptive statistics revealed small but imperative increases in competition performance, perceived artistic performance, self-esteem, creativity, and mindfulness. Significant (p < .05) effect of time was revealed only for creativity and artistic performance variables. Qualitative data supported these results. Skaters described verbally that movements were performed more freely, attention was better focused on performance, and they overcame shyness. Quantitative and qualitative data are discussed interactively in relation to performance enhancement and personal growth.
Saqib Deen, Martin James Turner, and Rebecca S.K. Wong
The use of rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) in sport psychology has received little attention in research to date, but is steadily growing. Therefore, to further add to the building body of research, this study examines the efficacy of REBT (comprising five counseling sessions, and four homework assignments) in decreasing self-reported irrational beliefs, and increasing self-reported resilient qualities in five elite squash players from Malaysia. The study uses a single-case multiple-baseline across-participants design. Visual and graphical analyses revealed that REBT reduced self-reported irrational beliefs significantly in all athletes, and raised self-reported resilient qualities significantly in some athletes. Athlete’s feedback, reflections on the usage of REBT, Athlete Rational Resilience Credos, and the practice of sport psychology across cultures are discussed, along with guidance for the future use of REBT in relevant settings.
Evangelos Vertopoulos and Martin J. Turner
The present study examined the effects of a rational emotive personal-disclosure mutual-sharing (REPDMS) intervention on the rational and irrational beliefs of a group of Greek adolescent athletes that had previously participated in four rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) educational workshops. Measurements were taken before REBT workshops (baseline), during the REBT workshop period, and after the REPDMS session (postintervention). Further, a comparison group received REBT education, but did not receive REPDMS, allowing the between-subjects comparison between participants who received REPDMS and participants who did not. Findings support the hypotheses that REPDMS has positive effects on further reducing irrational beliefs, enhancing rational beliefs, and prolonging the duration of these positive effects, over and above REBT education alone. Qualitative inspection of the REPDMS transcript also revealed participant perceptions of REBT, and served to stimulate critical author reflections on REPDMS.
Al Petitpas, Judy Van Raalte, and Ted France
Positive youth development (PYD) programs assist youth in acquiring the skills, attitudes, and values that are critical in coping with various risk factors in their communities. The purpose of this paper is to highlight strategies that sport psychology consultants can use to support PYD programs and develop collaboration and consistency of delivery among community youth serving agencies that use sport and physical activity-based experiences to promote positive youth development. In particular, the role of sport psychology consultants within sport and physical activity programs that serve as a catalyst for community youth development (CYD) is examined. Barriers to collaboration among community-based organizations are identified and strategies to overcome these obstacles are proposed. Sport psychology consultants are in a unique position to support PYD and CYD in the athletes and communities they serve.
Samuel J.D. Cumming, Martin J. Turner, and Marc Jones
Challenge cognitive appraisals are associated with superior performance compared with threat (Jones, Meijen, McCarthy, & Sheffield, 2009). However, research has not examined longitudinal temporal patterns of challenge and threat appraisals. In this study, 14 (five female) elite rowers (Mage = 25.79 years, SD = 2.67) provided self-reported appraisals data at four time points (baseline; before national trials; before the second world rowing cup regatta; and before the world rowing championships). The rowers’ predisposed appraisal style predicted subsequent appraisals. Challenge and self-efficacy increased while loss and avoidance appraisals decreased over time. The rowers were highly predisposed to challenge, becoming more challenged through events of increasing magnitude. This suggests that athletes’ predisposed appraisal style can predict their approach to competition. Future studies could identify protocols for encouraging challenge states in athletes, observe the physiological indicators of challenge and threat longitudinally, and consider the interaction between challenge and threat appraisals.
Thierry R.F. Middleton, Montse C. Ruiz, and Claudio Robazza
The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of music on swimmers’ preperformance psychobiosocial states. A purposeful sample of competitive swimmers (N = 17) participated in a 5-week intervention grounded in the individual zones of optimal functioning (IZOF) model. Findings showed that (a) preperformance psychobiosocial states differentiated between best and worst performances, (b) swimmers improved their ability to regulate preperformance states through the use of music, and (c) the use of music had a positive impact on swimmers’ perceived effectiveness of preperformance routines. Furthermore, swimmers’ qualitative reports indicated that music use was made more purposeful due to the introduction of a music intervention. The current study provides preliminary evidence in support of the use of music during preperformance routines as an effective tool to regulate athletes’ preperformance states. Athletes are encouraged to engage in the process of carefully selecting music in accordance with individualized profiles related to optimal performance states.
Mariana Kaiseler, Jamie M. Poolton, Susan H. Backhouse, and Nick Stanger
The role of dispositional mindfulness on stress in student-athletes and factors that mediate this relationship has yet to be examined. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between the facets of mindfulness and life stress in student-athletes and whether these relationships are mediated through coping effectiveness and decision rumination. Participants were 202 student-athletes who completed validated measures of dispositional mindfulness, student-athlete life stress, decision rumination and coping effectiveness in sport. Results indicated that the acting with awareness and nonjudging facets of mindfulness were negative predictors of life stress, whereas the observe facet was a positive predictor of life stress. Mediation analyses revealed that these relationships were mediated through coping effectiveness and decision rumination. Findings provide new insight into the role dispositional mindfulness plays on student-athlete perceptions of life stress and implications for practitioners are discussed.
Mark A. Uphill and Brian Hemmings
The aim of this paper is to present a critical reflection on mental toughness using a creative analytic practice. In particular, we move from intrapersonal technical reflections to an altogether more interpersonal cultural analysis that (re)considers some of the assumptions that can underpin sport psychology practice. Specifically, in the ripples that extend from these initial technical reflections, we argue that it is important to understand vulnerability, and consider (a) wounded healers, (b) the ideology of individualism, and (c) the survivor bias to help make sense of current thinking and applied practice. Emerging from these ripples are a number of implications (naming elephants, tellability, neoliberalism) from which sport psychologists may reflect upon to enhance their own practice. In making visible the invisible, we conclude that vulnerability can no longer be ignored in sport psychology discourse, research, and practice. Should this story of vulnerability resonate, we encourage you, where appropriate to share this story.
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