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“But I Am a Runner”: Trying to Be a Rogerian Person-Centered Practitioner With an Injured Athlete

Steven Vaughan, Hayley E. McEwan, and Amy E. Whitehead

This reflective case study presents the experience of a trainee sport and exercise psychologist during a period of applied consultancy with an injured runner. This was the trainee’s first consultancy experience attempting to practice from a Rogerian/classic person-centered perspective. As a trainee, his sport psychology delivery process followed academic and professional training models. After identifying an incongruence relating to the client’s identity as a runner, Rogers’s rejection of formulation and intervention led to tensions. Drawing on sport and counseling psychology literature to guide reflection and approach, maintaining a relationship between client and practitioner consistent with Rogers’s necessary conditions of change was the intervention. The trainee’s reflections consider being challenged by conflicts between philosophy and training requirements, their limited practice experience, and responding to the client during sessions that sometimes felt inconsistent with person-centered principles. Ultimately, the client reported moving toward being a more authentic self by contextualizing running as only one aspect of their life.

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Nichola Kentzer in Conversation With Göran Kenttä: Recipient of the 2022 Association for Applied Sport Psychology Distinguished Professional Practice Award

Nichola Kentzer and Göran Kenttä

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Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Develop Self-Confidence in a Neurodivergent Athlete

Samuel Wood and Martin J. Turner

This case study outlines the sport psychology service delivery provided to a 17-year-old international-level competitive figure skater. The client had a diagnosis for autism spectrum disorder and reported experiencing low self-confidence, which hindered his performance in training and competition. An acceptance and commitment therapy intervention was implemented over 25 sessions across a 15-month period. The aim of the intervention was to develop self-confidence by encouraging acceptance of unhelpful thoughts, rather than changing or removing them, to move the client toward the athlete he wanted to be. This case offers a novel contribution to the wider literature by reporting an acceptance and commitment therapy intervention to develop self-confidence in sport. We report how psychological flexibility was achieved through exercises to “unhook” the client from his thoughts around perfection and self-imposed pressure. Reflections from the client and practitioner capture the evaluation of the service delivery process.

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“Don’t Just Speak About It, Be About It”: Rebecca Busanich in Conversation With Shannon Baird on Choosing the Principled Path as a Practitioner

Rebecca Busanich and Shannon Baird

Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology (CSSEP) is committed to showcasing the stories and experiences of practitioners and researchers in sport and exercise psychology, recognizing their importance and contribution to growth and development in our field. In line with this mission, several CSSEP Editorial Board members sought to interview practitioners in the field as a way to highlight their stories and experiences. Dr. Shannon Baird’s story demonstrates the importance of theory-driven knowledge in applied work, the power of passion and self-drive in forging a new path forward, and the relentless pursuit of a principled and purposeful career. In conversation with Dr. Rebecca Busanich, Dr. Baird describes her journey through mental performance consulting in the military and U.S. Special Forces.

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Life as a Sport Psych Nomad: Thierry Middleton in Conversation With Shameema Yousuf on Advocating for Change as a Sport Psychologist

Thierry R.F. Middleton and Shameema M. Yousuf

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The Dad and the Lad: Who Is My Client?

Scott Whitfield, Nick Wadsworth, and Joanne Butt

This article discusses an applied case study with a young footballer and his father. Contacted initially to offer psychological support to the athlete, after conducting his needs analysis, the practitioner was left questioning who his client really was. This paper outlines how the practitioner arrived at the decision to work with the father rather than the athlete, before reflecting on how his own experience as a young athlete fueled his commitment to work with this case. Drawing upon acceptance and commitment therapy, the intervention’s aim was to increase the father’s psychological flexibility and explore ways he could better support his son. The evaluation suggested that working alongside the practitioner helped the father (a) gain clarity with regard to what was important to him as a parent and (b) begin to behave in a manner that was more aligned to his son’s needs. By virtue of the changes he observed in his father, the young athlete also discussed the implications this had for his own mindset and performance.

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Using an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Approach to Overcome Distractive Overthinking With a High School Baseball Player

Samuel Wood and Martin J. Turner

The present paper outlines a case study in sport psychology service delivery provided to a 16-year-old high school baseball player. The client reported experiencing distraction from overthinking in training and competition, which hindered his concentration and performance. An acceptance and commitment therapy intervention was implemented over 10 sessions across a 5-month period. The aim of the intervention was to overcome anxiety by encouraging acceptance of unhelpful thoughts, rather than changing or removing them, and helping the client focus on moving toward the athlete he wanted to be. This case offers a novel contribution to the wider literature by reporting an acceptance and commitment therapy intervention addressing performance anxiety in sport. We report how psychological flexibility was achieved through exercises to “unhook” the client from his thoughts around perfection and self-imposed pressure. Reflections from the client and practitioner capture the evaluation of the service delivery process.

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Supporting a National Team During the Overwatch World Cup: Three Confessional Tales

Jonathan Brain, Oliver Wright, Alessandro Quartiroli, and Christopher R.D. Wagstaff

There is currently a lack of understanding of how sport psychology practitioners navigate the nuances of working within the esports domain in the applied sport psychology literature. Therefore, the current case study provides three confessional tales, which aim to outline the unique experiences of two sport and exercise psychologists in training, working with a national Overwatch esports team during the World Cup preparation period. We first provide contextual elements of the World Cup format, the roster, the team’s needs, and the program of work. In the form of confessional tales, we share a series of critical reflections concerning the challenges and nuances we experienced, specifically: (a) the limited time afforded to deliver our services, (b) the misalignment in values experienced with the players and staff in the organization, and (c) working without visual cues with the members of the team. We conclude this case study by providing a series of recommendations for practitioners seeking to work with elite esports teams preparing for high-level competitions while delivering ethical and effective services.

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Behind the Curtains of Elite Esports: A Case Study From a Holistic Ecological Approach to Talent Development

Ismael Pedraza-Ramirez, Bernadette Ramaker, Ole Winthereik Mathorne, Matthew Watson, and Sylvain Laborde

This case study utilized the holistic ecological approach to talent development as a framework to examine the structure and influence of an elite League of Legends environment. We conducted semistructured interviews with five elite male players (M age = 20.2, SD age = 2.95) and three elite coaches (M age = 24.67, SD age = 3.21). In addition, observations were implemented in situ to gather important information about the daily life experiences of the esports players and coaches. Findings suggest that this environment’s organizational culture was significantly influenced by interactions within the microenvironment, leading to the development of healthy relationships between players and coaches, impacting development and performance. Given the findings, we offer several salient applied implications for practitioners in elite esports, notably, the importance of understanding a team’s organizational culture alongside working at a one-to-one level. Furthermore, practitioners can educate coaches in optimizing a learning environment and support them in mitigating the challenges of a volatile industry.

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Esports Coaching: Applying a Constraints-Led Approach to Develop Team Coordination and Communication

Kabir Bubna, Michael G. Trotter, and Matthew Watson

The current case study reports on the application of a novel coaching approach in the context of a semiprofessional League of Legends team competing in Europe. The case study aimed to develop the coordinative tendencies of the team by applying a constraints-led approach that manipulated the practice environment to promote specific goal-directed behavior. The present study outlines the objectives of League of Legends, the needs analysis, intervention development, intervention delivery, and feedback from the players in regard to the effectiveness of the intervention and their development. Finally, the present study provides personal reflections from the practitioner, who was applying contemporary skill-acquisition approaches in esports for the first time.