While important for athletic development and well-being in youth sport, knowledge remains limited around the processes underpinning triadic relationships between parents, athletes, and coaches. This study aimed to examine the relational processes that drive the functioning of parent–athlete–coach triads across three developmental stages of youth tennis. Using a collective-case-study design, 10 players, 10 coaches, and 9 mothers completed preinterview tasks and semistructured interviews and provided conversational history. Reflexive thematic analysis led to the generation of two higher order themes: foundations of relationship quality and factors enabling team effectiveness. Findings highlighted how specific relationship qualities (i.e., commitment, trust, respect, and parent–coach proximity) and team effectiveness constructs (i.e., shared goals, collaborative and adjusted roles, support, and role-specific communication) served to facilitate the tennis experience for triads. Scholars are encouraged to consider integrating small-group principles (e.g., team building) into tailored support programs that address the psychosocial needs of the triad.
A Collective Case Study of Parent–Athlete–Coach Triads in British Youth Tennis
Ella F. Tagliavini, Chris G. Harwood, Sophia Jowett, and Sam N. Thrower
Volume 37 (2023): Issue 4 (Dec 2023)
Having a Goal Up Your Sleeve: Promoting a Mastery Climate in a Youth Football Academy Team
Niels N. Rossing, Michael Lykkeskov, Luc J. Martin, and Ludvig Johan Torp Rasmussen
In sport, there is extensive evidence that supports the benefits associated with a mastery climate. However, limited studies have explored how physical tools could be used to promote mastery climates in youth sport contexts. Using an action research approach, we sought to understand the benefits and drawbacks of applying tools grounded in goal setting to promote a mastery environment: (a) an “arm sleeve” to be worn by athletes during training and matches and (b) a “reflection sheet” for use pre- and posttraining/-matches. These tools were implemented for a 3-week period with a U13 academy team (18 players and two coaches). Based on observation notes, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews, the analysis showed that the arm sleeves were helpful reminders for process goals, whereas the coaches had abandoned the use of reflection sheets due to lack of time. The benefits and drawbacks of the tools are discussed while pedagogical and practical implications are considered.
Australian Football Coaches’ Tales of Mental Toughness: Exploring the Sociocultural Roots
Stephanie J. Tibbert, Mark B. Andersen, Tony Morris, and Christopher Mesagno
The present study explored how three professional Australian football coaches learned and understood mental toughness. Participants shared stories regarding mental toughness through semistructured interviews. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to interpret the data. Creative nonfiction was employed to develop a composite story. All participants’ voices contributed equally to the narrative, which follows Sam (our composite coach) through three periods in his career: as a junior player, an elite footballer, and, finally, a coach in the professional football environment. Mental toughness was fundamentally determined by the sociocultural environment in which one was immersed. Athletes and coaches were expected to internalize dominant understandings of mental toughness and reinforce ideals and were punished if they deviated from mentally tough standards set up in their clubs. Mental toughness was defined by various values, beliefs, and norms that originated from the sociocultural environment, indicating the importance of context in understanding the roots of being mentally tough.
Identifying Predictors of Burnout and Health of Certified Mental Performance Consultants
Anthony Magdaleno and Barbara B. Meyer
Researchers have established factors that impair (e.g., stress) or facilitate (e.g., occupational recovery) health among professionals operating in sport and performance (e.g., coaches). However, there is a paucity of research examining factors that impair or facilitate the health of sport psychology professionals. Given that sport psychology professionals have an obligation to manage their health to maintain effective service provision, research is needed to fill this gap. The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of burnout and health among certified mental performance consultants. Participants completed measures of perceived stress, burnout, occupational recovery, and health-related quality of life. Regression results, including a moderator analysis, indicated that perceived stress and occupational recovery predicted burnout, while occupational recovery moderated the relationship between perceived stress and burnout. Perceived stress and burnout further predicted health-related quality of life. Recommendations include certified mental performance consultants spending nonwork time in low-effort and/or physical activities, as well as exerting autonomy over nonwork time.
Client-Led Applied Sport Psychology Practitioners’ Narratives About Helping Athletes
David Tod, Hayley E. McEwan, Colum Cronin, and Moira Lafferty
The current study explored how applied sport psychology practitioners adopting client-led stances described two of their athlete interactions. Applied sport psychology practitioners (8 female and 12 male, mean age = 33.76 years, SD = 4.70), describing themselves as client-led practitioners, discussed two athlete consultancies during open-ended interviews. Data analysis involved examining the narrative structure of practitioners’ stories and identifying the features of client-led service delivery present in the accounts. The participants’ stories reflected a collaborative empiricism narrative in which they collaborated with athletes to resolve client issues. The stories contained features of client-led person-centered therapy and the use of practitioner-led techniques and interventions. The results point to applied implications such as providing accounts of service delivery on which practitioners can reflect as they consider the ways they wish to help clients.
“I Realized It Was a Different Kind of Culture to Other Sports”: An Exploration of Sport Psychology Service Provision and Delivery in Gaelic Games
Patricia C. Jackman, Aoife Lane, David Tod, and Matthew D. Bird
In this article, we present two studies that provide the first evidence on sport psychology services in Gaelic games. In Study 1, 36 participants providing support for mental aspects of performance in Gaelic games completed a survey that ascertained an initial insight into practitioners and the services they provided in this context. Findings of Study 1 suggested considerable engagement with psychology support in Gaelic games but also highlighted a range of challenges with service delivery. In Study 2, we interviewed 11 sport psychology consultants to understand the active ingredients that contribute to context-driven sport psychology in Gaelic games and the role of contextual intelligence. Findings from Study 2 offered insights into how participants shaped their services to the context and how the active ingredients for effective service delivery, including working alliances, buy-in, and engagement with individuals within the performance environment, could be enabled or constrained in this context.
The Effects of a Brief Online Rational-Emotive-Behavioral-Therapy Program on Coach Irrational Beliefs and Well-Being
Ryan G. Bailey and Martin J. Turner
Research into the psychology of coaching has been somewhat neglected in comparison to research on the psychological development of athletes. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a brief online rational-emotive-behavioral-therapy (REBT) program on coach irrational beliefs and well-being. Coaching staff from an elite international canoeing team (N = 4) took part in a three-session (30- to 40-min) REBT program. Participants completed measures of irrational beliefs and mental well-being at preintervention, postintervention, and follow-up (1 month) time points. Visual analyses and social validation revealed that the intervention reduced irrational beliefs and enhanced mental well-being in two participants. However, REBT was more effective for some coaches than others, and follow-up data indicated a return to base levels in some coaches. Limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed, alongside practitioner reflections.
How to Support Athlete Autonomy in University Sports: Coaches’ Experience of the reROOT Program
Emilie Lemelin, Hali Kil, Élodie Petit, Joëlle Carpentier, Jacques Forest, Sophie Gadoury, Jean-Paul Richard, Mireille Joussemet, and Geneviève A. Mageau
The purpose of this study was to evaluate coaches’ experience of the reROOT program, a program aiming to increase coaches’ autonomy-supportive skills, structure, and involvement. We delivered the program to 32 university sports coaches, and of these coaches, 13 participated in three semistructured focus groups 2 weeks postprogram and discussed their experience of the program. Guiding questions aimed at assessing participants’ responsiveness to the program and its perceived usefulness. Classical content analyses were performed and organized based on the guiding questions when applicable. Results suggest that coaches appreciated the program, believed that they could implement its skills in their day-to-day coaching, and observed positive impacts on themselves and their athletes despite the COVID-19 pandemic. It thus appears that coaches are responsive to the reROOT program and that it could be a useful part of their training.