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Lea-Cathrin Dohme, David Piggott, Susan Backhouse and Gareth Morgan

Research has identified psychological skills and characteristics (PSCs) perceived to facilitate talented youth athletes’ development. However, no systematic categorisation or synthesis of these PSCs exists to date. To provide such synthesis, this systematic review aims to: (i) identify PSCs perceived as facilitative of talented youth athletes’ development; (ii) group and label synonymous PSCs; and (iii) categorise PSCs based on definitions established in Dohme, Backhouse, Piggott, and Morgan (2017). PRISMA systematic review guidelines were employed and a comprehensive literature search of SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, and ERIC completed in November 2017. Twenty-five empirical studies published between 2002 and 2017 met the inclusion criteria. Through thematic analysis, 19 PSCs were identified as facilitative of youth athletes’ development. Eight PSCs were categorised as psychological skills (e.g., goal-setting, social support seeking, and self-talk) and eleven as psychological characteristics (e.g., self-confidence, focus, and motivation). The practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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Michelle Smith, Hayley McEwan, David Tod and Amanda Martindale

The research team explored UK trainee sport psychologists’ perspectives on developing professional judgment and decision-making (PJDM) expertise during their British Psychological Society (BPS) Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology (QSEP; Stage 2). An assorted analysis approach was adopted to combine an existing longitudinal qualitative data set with the collection and analysis of a new qualitative data set. Participants (female, n = 1; and male, n = 6) were interviewed 4 times over a 3-year training period, at minimum yearly intervals. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and reflexive thematic analysis applied to transcripts using the theoretical concepts of PJDM. Experience, analytical reasoning, and observation of other practitioners’ practice was useful for developing PJDM expertise. PJDM expertise might be optimised through the use of knowledge elicitation principles. For example, supervisors could embed critical cues within the anecdotes they share to expand the experience base that trainees can draw from when making decisions.

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Rebecca A. Zakrajsek, Leslee A. Fisher and Scott B. Martin

Nine (5 female, 4 male) certified athletic trainers (ATs) from a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I institution participated in semistructured interviews about their experiences with sport psychology services and perceptions on the potential role of sport psychology consultants (SPCs) in student-athlete development. Through consensual qualitative research procedures, 3 domains were constructed: knowledge of availability and understanding of sport psychology services, perceptions of sport psychology services for injury rehabilitation, and use of sport psychology services for sport performance. Interacting professionally with SPCs, working with sport teams that use sport psychology services, and receiving mentorship from senior ATs who have “bought in” to sport psychology were identified as underlying factors that influenced ATs’ knowledge and use of services. Recommendations for how SPCs can nurture collaborative relationships between themselves and ATs are also provided.

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Kurtis Pankow, Amber D. Mosewich and Nicholas L. Holt

The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of leadership styles in model youth football coaches. Six award-winning youth football coaches participated, and each was interviewed twice. Within a qualitative descriptive framework, deductive analysis was completed to identify the coaches’ leadership styles, using the charismatic, ideological, and pragmatic model of outstanding leadership. Whereas pragmatic leadership behaviors were most frequently identified, all coaches appeared to have mixed leadership styles. Inductive analysis was then used to examine factors that influenced the coaches’ leadership development. Identified themes were role models, networks of coaches, experience and reflection, and formal, nonformal, and informal learning. These were consistent across all the coaches, regardless of leadership style. This study therefore provides new insights into the perceived use of pragmatic behaviors in mixed leadership styles in model youth sport coaches and indicates that similar factors contributed to their leadership development.

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Paul R. Ashbrook, Andrew Gillham and Douglas Barba

Using a single-subject research design, a 1-to-1 tailored mental-skills-training (MST) program was created, implemented, and evaluated. During the 20-wk intervention phase, 6 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I college golfers received a series of individually tailored MST sessions aimed at enhancing their mental skills and athletic performance. Each athlete’s golf performance, mental-skill frequency, and response to service were evaluated using visual inspection. Despite some limitations, results suggested that the 1-to-1 training program was effective, with nearly 50% of the performance and perception metrics improving from baseline and almost 80% of the mental skills improving. Follow-up analyses indicated that the program continued to positively affect performance into the next competitive season.

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John Kerr

Elite Canadian women rugby union athletes’ (N = 10) attitude to and experience of physical aggression was investigated in this study. The methodology adopted in this postpositivist study was a deductive qualitative approach and involved theoretical thematic data analysis. The analysis and interpretation of data was informed by Kerr’s distinction between sanctioned and unsanctioned forms of aggression. Open-ended, semistructured interviews provided ample evidence that rugby provided pleasurable experiences through active physicality and sanctioned play aggression. With regard to unsanctioned aggression, backs and forwards recounted incidents of unsanctioned aggression perpetrated against them by opponents. Backs’ interview statements indicated no real involvement in unsanctioned aggression, but the majority of forwards had perpetrated acts of anger and power-unsanctioned aggression against opponents. No incidents of thrill-based unsanctioned aggression were described by the elite women athletes. Suggestions for future aggression research are discussed.

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Andrew G. Wood, Jamie B. Barker, Martin Turner and Peter Thomson

Research examining the effects of rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) on athletic performance is emerging. There is, however, a paucity of research exploring psychological interventions in specialized sport populations. The present study investigated the effects of a single REBT workshop, including intellectual and practical insight into the ABC(DE) framework, on psychological, physiological, and performance markers in an elite blind soccer team. From use of a within-participant pretest–posttest crossover design in an ecologically valid setting, data indicated small and immediate reductions in irrational beliefs, perceived helpfulness of preperformance anxiety, and physiological markers (i.e., systolic blood pressure) prior to a penalty-kick simulation. However, no substantial changes were shown in penalty-kick performance. In sum, although the findings elucidate some benefits of a single REBT workshop, the educational insight into the ABC(DE) framework was deemed insufficient for meaningful changes in outcome measures. Practical implications and recommendations for future researchers are discussed.

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Irene Muir, Krista J. Munroe-Chandler and Todd Loughead

Although dancers have noted using imagery to mentally rehearse a routine, understand and reinforce movement, inspire strong emotions, and lower arousal levels, this finding is specific to adult dancers, overlooking imagery use with young dancers. The current study qualitatively examined the 4 Ws of imagery use (where, when, what, and why) with female dancers 7–14 years of age. Twenty-three female dancers (Mage = 10.43, SD = 2.19) from various dance styles participated in 1 of 4 focus-group discussions. Thematic analysis revealed findings similar to those identified in the domains of both adult dance and children’s sport. There were, however, findings emerging from the current study specific to young female dancers. These findings are provided, in addition to practical implications for dance instructors.

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Daniel M. Smith and Sarah E. Martiny

Stereotype-threat theory holds that activation of a negative stereotype has a harmful effect on performance in cognitive and motor domains. This paper provides a literature review of stereotype-threat research in the motor domain followed by recommendations for sport psychology practitioners. The review discusses the most widespread stereotypes that exist in sport, the effects of stereotype activation on performance in different sports, and mechanisms that explain why stereotype threat decreases performance. Recommendations for practitioners include individual- and organizational-level approaches, with the former subdivided into interventions aimed at prevention or coping.