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Ashley Duguay, Todd Loughead and James M. Cook

The present study sought to address the following two limitations of previous athlete leadership research: (1) researchers have predominately examined the shared nature of athlete leadership using aggregated approaches, which has limited our ability to examine differences in the degree of sharedness between teams and (2) the limited availability of research related to dyadic predictors (i.e., qualities of the relation between two individuals) of athlete leadership. Therefore, Social Network Analysis (SNA) was used to examine athlete leadership across multiple levels (i.e., individual, dyadic, and network) within four competitive female youth soccer teams (N = 68). Findings demonstrated differences in the degree to which athlete leadership was shared between each team. Furthermore, multiple regression quadratic assignment procedures (MR-QAP) showed that skill nomination and formal leadership status were significant predictors of how often participants reported looking to their teammates for leadership.

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Mike Stoker, Ian Maynard, Joanne Butt, Kate Hays and Paul Hughes

In previous research, multiple demands and consequences were manipulated simultaneously to examine methods for pressure training (PT) (Stoker et al., 2017). Building on literature, in this study a single demand or consequence stressor was manipulated in isolation. Specifically, in a matched, within-subject design, six international shooters (M age = 28.67) performed a shooting task whilst exposed to a single demand (task, performer, environmental) or consequence (reward, forfeit, judgment) stressor. Perceived pressure, anxiety (intensity and direction), and performance was measured. Compared to baseline, manipulating demands did not affect pressure or anxiety. In contrast, pressure and cognitive anxiety significantly increased when judgment or forfeit consequence stressors were introduced. Thus, the findings lack support for manipulating demands but strongly support introducing consequences when pressure training. Compared to baseline, the judgment stressor also created debilitative anxiety. Hence, in terms of introducing a single stressor, judgment appeared most impactful and may be most effective for certain athlete populations.

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Philip D. Imholte, Jedediah E. Blanton and Michelle M. McAlarnen

The purpose of this study was to crystalize a single case of informal athlete leadership in minor league baseball (MiLB) during the 2015 season. Teammates and coaches of a Class A MiLB team voted for the highlighted participant as the best athlete leader on the team. The first author conducted eight individual semi-structured interviews with the highlighted participant, two coaches, and five teammates. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and open-ended prompts based on leadership and athlete literature, the first author learned about the highlighted participant’s emergence as leader on a team without formal leadership titles. Findings revealed four main themes: (a) navigating personal on-the-field failure, (b) fulfilling others’ expectations, (c) helping teammates manage emotions, and (d) fostering a fun working environment. Findings also indicated one foundational theme, “having a philosophy,” that grounded the four main themes. Implications for athlete leadership development and future directions for athlete leadership research are discussed.

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Stewart Cotterill, Richard Cheetham and Katrien Fransen

The aim of this study was to explore the lived experiences of the coach in relation to the perceived function of captains in professional rugby union. Participants were eight elite male rugby coaches purposefully sampled for this study. Participants were interviewed individually to gain an understanding of their experiences and perceptions of the role of the captain. The data were thematically analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Ten super-ordinate themes emerged in the study: types of captain, captain development, challenges, captains role, off field responsibilities, nature of the job, selection, cultural architects, coach-captain relationship, and key attributes. Results suggest coaches view the captain as an extension of their authority in the team, leadership groups are increasingly important to support captains, and that the criteria for the selection of captains is still vague. As a result, future research should explore the development of specific evidence-based approaches to captain selection and development.

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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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Ross Wadey, Kylie Roy, Lynne Evans, Karen Howells, Jade Salim and Ceri Diss

Despite recent conceptual, methodological, and theoretical advancements on sport injury-related growth (SIRG), there is no research on sport psychology consultants’ (SPCs) experiential knowledge of working with injured athletes to promote SIRG. Toward this end, this study examined SPCs’ perspectives on facilitating SIRG to provide an evidence-base for professional practice. Participants were purposefully sampled (4 females, 6 males; Mean of 19 years’ applied experience) and interviewed. Transcripts were thematically analyzed. Methodological rigor and generalizability were maximized through self-reflexivity and eliciting external reflections. Five themes were identified: Hear the Story, Contextualize the Story, Reconstruct the Story, Live the Story, and Share the Story. Findings offer practitioners a novel approach to working with injured athletes. Rather than focusing on returning to preinjury level of functioning, the findings illustrate how SPCs can work with injured athletes to help transform injury into an opportunity to bring about positive change.

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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.