The purpose of this study was to investigate the components necessary for the development of an effective applied sport psychology consulting relationship between a sport psychology consultant (SPC) and a coach. To address this purpose, two SPC-Coach consulting relationship case studies will be presented. Following purposeful sampling methods, members of two SPC-Coach consulting relationships (2 SPCs and 2 elite coaches) participated in individual interviews to discuss their perceptions of effective consulting relationships. Inductive \content analysis was conducted to search for common themes both within and across the two case studies (Weber, 1990). Three categories emerged with shared similarities between both case study relationships as important to the development of effective consulting relationships between SPCs and coaches; (a) SPC knowledge; (b) trust; and (c) friendship. In addition, two categories individual to each of the case study consulting relationships emerged; (d) SPC fitting in with team culture; and (e) flexibility.
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Lee-Ann Sharp and Ken Hodge
Lee-Ann Sharp, Ken Hodge, and Steve Danish
The purpose of this investigation was to; (a) examine what experienced SPCs perceived to be the necessary components of the sport psychology consulting relationship, and (b) examine individual contributions of the SPC and client to the consulting relationship. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit 10 experienced SPCs (8 male and 2 female, M age = 50.44 years, M years consulting experience = 21.67 years) who held current sport psychology accreditation/certification and who had considerable consulting experience. Following individual interviews, extensive content analysis revealed that the sport psychology consulting relationship was reflective of (a) rapport, (b) respect, (c) trust, (d) a partnership, and (e) a positive impact on the client. Members of the consulting relationship made individual contributions to the relationship; SPCs contributed; (a) honesty, (b) commitment, (c) knowledge and expertise, (d) counseling skills, and (e) professional ethical behavior. With clients contributing; (a) openness to change, (b) honesty, and (c) willingness to work.
Tammy Sheehy, Sam Zizzi, Kristen Dieffenbach, and Lee-Ann Sharp
This study examined the experiences of 8 high-performance coaches (male n = 6) from a range of sports who have worked with a sport psychology consultant (SPC) for their own performance enhancement as coaches. Using a hermeneutic phenomenological methodology, each participant engaged in 2 semistructured interviews. Thematic analysis of the data elicited 8 higher-order themes related to the research questions. Impetus themes included buy-in and opportunity. Benefits coaches felt they received included themes of facilitating self-awareness, performance enhancement, enhancing interactions, and friendship development. Barrier themes included lack of resources and stigma. This research gives the field of applied sport psychology insight into how SPCs and high-performance coaches navigate working together in support of the coaches’ performance and professional development.
Ken Hodge, Lee-Ann Sharp, and Justin Ihirangi Heke
Sport psychology consulting with athletes who are from an indigenous ethnic group presents some challenges and opportunities that do not typically need to be considered when consulting with nonindigenous athletes. Māori 1 are the indigenous ethnic group of New Zealand. To work as a sport psychology consultant with Māori athletes and indeed any indigenous athletes (e.g., Tahitian, First Nation Canadian Indian) it is important for the sport psychologist to have an understanding of Te Ao o Nga Tāngata Whenua (indigenous worldview) and tīkanga Tāngata Whenua (indigenous cultural practices; Hanrahan, 2004; Schinke & Hanrahan, 2009; Tuhiwai-Smith, 1999). Both research and practice in the social sciences regarding Māori people seek to use a Kaupapa Māori (Māori research and practice platform) approach. Kaupapa Māori attempts to ensure that cultural sensitivity is infused from the conceptualization of an intervention (e.g., psychological skills training, psychological intervention) through to the design, delivery, evaluation, final analysis, and presentation of the intervention or research project. A Kaupapa Māori approach to sport psychology consulting attempts to ensure that key Māori aspirations are honored and celebrated, as many Māori do not wish to follow a non-Māori ideology that depersonalizes the whānau (family) perspective and seeks individuality in its place (Durie, 1998a; Mead, 2003). Therefore, an effective sport psychology consulting program for an athlete who lives her or his life from a Te Ao Māori (Māori worldview) and tīkanga Māori (Māori cultural practices) perspective needs to be constructed as a Māori-for-Māori intervention based within a Kaupapa Māori framework.
Charlotte Woodcock, Joan L. Duda, Jennifer Cumming, Lee-Ann Sharp, and Mark J.G. Holland
Drawing from the experiences of the authors in developing, conducting, and evaluating sport psychology interventions, several considerations are highlighted and recommendations offered for effective psychometric assessment. Using the Test of Performance Strategies (TOPS; Thomas, Murphy, & Hardy, 1999) as a working example, opportunities for bias to undermine a measure’s validity and reliability are discussed with reference to a respondent’s four cognitive processes: (a) comprehension, (b) retrieval, (c) decision-making, and (d) response generation. Further threats to an instrument’s psychometric properties are highlighted in the form of demand characteristics athletes perceive in the environment. With these concerns in mind, several recommendations are made relating to the process of questionnaire administration and how possible compromises to the psychometric soundness of measures used in applied interventions can be minimized.
Lee-Ann Sharp, Charlotte Woodcock, Mark J.G. Holland, Jennifer Cumming, and Joan L. Duda
The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effectiveness of a mental skills training (MST) program for male youth elite rugby athletes. Three focus groups were held with 21 under-16 male rugby athletes and four male coaches involved in the MST program to examine the quality of service delivery, athlete responses to the MST program, the mental qualities used by athletes, and its perceived influence on athlete performance. Following inductive-deductive content analysis, 40 subcategories and 16 categories emerged. Participants believed the MST program to be an interactive, well-planned program that increased athlete understanding of MST methods and awareness of MST strategies to manage rugby performance. Athletes thought it important that their coaches develop a greater knowledge and understanding of MST methods. Finally, athletes perceived the MST skills and methods they learnt through the MST program were transferable to other sports and areas of their life outside of rugby (e.g., school).
Tanya McGuane, Stephen Shannon, Lee-Ann Sharp, Martin Dempster, and Gavin Breslin
Horse racing requires jockeys to weigh in prior to each competition, with failure automatically excluding the jockey from competition. As such, many jockeys frequently employ long- and short-term “wasting” weight-loss techniques that can be harmful to health. This study aimed to explore jockeys’ social norms and experiences regarding wasting and the effects of wasting on their mental health. Six professional jockeys with a minimum of 2 years professional riding experience were recruited from a range of stud-racing yards in Ireland. From individual participant interviews, an interpretative-phenomenological-analysis approach revealed four themes: “Day in, day out,” “Horse racing is my life,” “You just do what you have to do,” and “This is our world.” Themes were interpreted through social-identity theory, which highlighted how wasting is an acceptable in-group norm among jockeys, irrespective of relationship problems and mental health consequences. Recommendations are offered for intervening to support jockeys’ mental health.