This two-study project provided a brief description of athletes’ experiences with mind wandering. Study 1 aimed to quantitatively examine mind wandering in sports, in terms of frequency, effects and perceived control. Therefore, 94 athletes (M age = 19.51, SD = 1.65) answered a specifically designed 19-item questionnaire. The results suggested that mind wandering is a common phenomenon in sports, with both beneficial and adverse effects on performance. Study 2 aimed to qualitatively explore when athletes use mind wandering. Accordingly, 115 athletes (M age = 22.82, SD = 3.61) described one recent mind wandering situation while practicing sport. A hierarchical content analysis was performed by the first author and confirmed by an external expert. The results indicated that mind wandering occurred in a wide range of situations in sport and physical activity. Nonetheless, it was also argued that future studies should more carefully define mind wandering to avoid confusion with related terms.
Rosanna Gilderthorp, Jan Burns and Fergal Jones
It has been shown that having intellectual disabilities impacts to reduce performance compared to athletes without this impairment. However, it has also been demonstrated that there is a not a direct link between intelligence and athletic performance. To advance elite ID sport more needs to be understood about the relationship between this impairment and sporting performance. This is vital if competition classification systems are to be based on theory and evidence. This study used the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as an approach to classification and examined the impact of multiple health problems on athletic performance. A health survey was administered to two groups of athletes with ID: elite and regional level athletes. Athletes with Down Syndrome were also identified. Overall disability scores predicted sporting performance, but not IQ or Down Syndrome. The implications of these findings are discussed with reference to the ICF framework and classification.
Carrie B. Scherzer and Justine J. Reel
In this commentary, we try to present a balanced look at the issues surrounding the implementation of the certification exam for recertification purposes. We recognize that the changes to certification are complex and varied, as were reactions by the membership of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). As long-standing AASP members who are also certified consultants, we look at the costs, benefits, and ultimately the reality of the CMPC exam for recertification.
Fleur E.C.A. van Rens, Erika Borkoles, Damian Farrow and Remco C.J. Polman
Using a holistic perspective on athlete talent development, this study examines the impact of role strain on the life satisfaction in various life domains of junior elite Australian Rules Football players. One hundred and twelve talent-identified male Australian Rules Football players (M age = 16.8; SD = .71) completed measures of role strain and multidimensional life satisfaction. The results indicated that role strain explained twelve to twenty-four percent of the variance in life satisfaction in the players’ life domains. Experiences of role strain related to the players’ dual careers were associated with decreased life satisfaction in sport, friendships, family, yourself, and global life satisfaction domains. Situations in which the players perceived that their abilities were underutilized were also negatively associated with life satisfaction across various life domains. This study thus evidences the importance of a domain specific, holistic approach to investigate the life satisfaction in junior athletes’ dual careers.
Ralph Appleby, Paul Davis, Louise Davis and Henrik Gustafsson
Perceptions of teammates and training load have been shown to influence athletes’ physical and psychological health; however, limited research has investigated these factors in relation to burnout. Athletes (N = 140) from a variety of competitive team sports, ranging in level from regional to professional, completed questionnaires measuring individual burnout, perceptions of teammates’ burnout, and training hours per week on two occasions separated by three months. After controlling for burnout at time one, training hours were associated with athletes’ burnout and perceptions of teammates’ burnout at time two. Multilevel modeling indicated actual team burnout (i.e., the average burnout score of the individual athletes in a team) and perceived team burnout were associated with individual’s own burnout. The findings highlight that burnout is dynamic and relates to physiological stressors associated with training and psychological perceptions of teammates’ burnout. Future research directions exploring potential social influences on athlete burnout are presented.
Marcus Börjesson, Carolina Lundqvist, Henrik Gustafsson and Paul Davis
The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of flotation REST upon skilled and less skilled golfers’ anxiety in terms of physiological indicators of stress, self-rated anxiety scores, muscle tension, and the effect on golf putting. Prior to performing the putting task participants underwent a treatment of flotation REST or a period of resting in an armchair. Participants completed both treatments in a randomized order with a two-week interval. The results showed that both flotation REST and the armchair treatment reduced systolic blood pressure and heart rate, with no differences between treatments or athlete skill levels. No significant differences between treatments were revealed regarding self-ratings, level of muscle tension or putting precision. The results indicate that flotation REST may be useful for reducing negative symptoms related to stress and anxiety in general; however, no support for direct positive effects on golf performance were found.
Jens Van Lier and Filip Raes
The way athletes prospect future success or failure following a single success or failure is called “generalization”. This study examined the roles of an abstract “why” vs. a concrete “how” processing style on athletes’ generalization to future performances and to their self-concept (N = 668). We hypothesized that athletes in the “why” condition would show more negative/positive generalization. We also explored the impact of how individuals in the “why” condition attributed their success or failure performance. There was no main difference between processing styles but athletes with more functional attributions showed more positive generalization and athletes with more dysfunctional attributions showed more negative generalization. These results show that attributions could be driving the effects of an abstract “why” processing style on generalization. For athletes with an elevated depression score it might be particularly important to focus on generalizations following success and train these athletes to make functional attributions.
Trisha Patel and Neeru Jayanthi
Single sport specialization has been associated with injury risk and burnout. However, there is no known previous qualitative research regarding health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of single sport and multi-sport young athletes and their parents. In order to better understand the perceptions of these potential risks of youth sports specialization, a qualitative parent-child study of specialized young athletes was performed. Thirty-six families (50 young athletes and 42 parents) participated in this study by completing an interview about their sports participation. Twenty-seven of these families completed the PROMIS (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System) questionnaire, assessing quality of life. Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) scores were high in all young athlete and parent categories with no significant differences (p = .96) in quality of life between single (specialized) and multi-sport young athletes and their respective parents (p = .17). Qualitative analysis of interviews highlighted the positive perception of sports and parents’ concern regarding sports specialization. Thus, although no quality of life differences were found based on sport specialization, the highly positive quality of life scores suggest a benefit of sports despite specialization.
Justine J. Reel, Leslie Podlog, Lindsey Hamilton, Lindsey Greviskes, Dana K. Voelker and Cara Gray
Dancers, like athletes, frequently endure injuries and disordered eating as a result of performance-specific demands. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between severe injuries and disordered eating from the perspectives of female professional dancers. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 female professional dancers ages 18–38 (M = 23; SD = 6.2) whose dance participation was suspended for 4–36 weeks (M = 12.69; SD = 10.09) due to a dance-related injury. We adopted a social constructivist stance to view the experiences of dancers through the lens of a phenomenon highly influenced by environmental and cultural factors. A thematic analysis yielded five themes including negative emotions associated with injury, anxiety and uncertainty around future involvement, modifications in nutritional intake (e.g., reduction of calories), coping with injury, and the need for an effective and holistic injury rehabilitation program.
Sarah A. McGraw, Christopher R. Deubert, Holly Fernandez Lynch, Alixandra Nozzolillo, Lauren Taylor and I. Glenn Cohen
This qualitative study examined how NFL players and their family members characterized the impact of an NFL career on the mental and emotional health of NFL players. We interviewed 25 NFL players (23 former and 2 current) and 27 family members (24 wives and 3 others) to elicit players’ experiences during and following their time in the NFL. While players experienced positive outcomes from their careers, they also described important mental health challenges including feelings of depression, loneliness, and stress. Many of their concerns during their careers were linked to anxiety about job performance and job security. Post-career concerns were linked to loss of social identity and connections. Players had difficulty finding help for their concerns. We conclude with eight recommendations, including improved resources, confidentiality, and support.