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Pathos and Orchestration in Elite Sport: The Experiences of NCAA DI Student-Athletes

Johannes Raabe, Tucker Readdy, and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek

Coaching is characterized by an inherent pathos between the goals coaches hope to accomplish and those that are realized (Jones & Wallace, 2005). Coaches can actively enhance the likelihood of optimal outcomes through orchestration, a process of incremental coping intended to create improvement in performance (Jones & Wallace, 2005). The current study explored to what extent pathos also manifests in the lives of elite athletes and whether they engage in processes consistent with orchestration. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I student-athletes. Primarily deductive analysis of the qualitative data provided confirmation for four domains: (a) sources of ambiguity created by coaches, (b) other sources of ambiguity within student-athletes’ experiences, (c) attempted strategies for orchestrating the pathos, and (d) relationships are crucial for navigating the pathos. The findings potentially offer an approach to understanding the challenges athletes face, which allows coaches to more accurately provide assistance.

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Certified Athletic Trainers’ Experiences With and Perceptions of Sport Psychology Services for Student-Athletes

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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NCAA Division I Coaches’ Perceptions and Preferred Use of Sport Psychology Services: A Qualitative Perspective

Rebecca A. Zakrajsek, Jesse A. Steinfeldt, Kimberly J. Bodey, Scott B. Martin, and Sam J. Zizzi

Although there appears to be greater acceptance and use of sport psychology (SP), fully integrating SP consultants and services into college athletic programs has yet to occur in most institutions. Decisions to initiate, continue, or terminate SP services are often made by coaches. Therefore, college coaches with access to services were interviewed to explore their beliefs and expectations about SP service use and how an SP consultant could work effectively with them and their athletes. Using consensual qualitative research methods, three domains in coaches’ perceptions of SP consultants were revealed: who they are, what they do, and how they do it. Findings illustrate the importance of being “on the same page” with coaches, developing self-reliant athletes, and making an impact while remaining in a supporting role.

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“He Leaned His Body Against Mine and Pushed Himself Against Me”: A Narrative of Sexual Harassment in Mental Performance Consulting

Danielle C. DeLisio, E. Earlynn Lauer, Terilyn C. Shigeno, Leslee A. Fisher, and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek

Mental performance consultants in training need to be prepared to respond to the various ethical dilemmas they may encounter, including sexual misconduct. Sexual harassment (i.e., unwanted attention of a sexual nature that may create an uncomfortable environment) is a form of sexual misconduct that has increased dramatically in the general U.S. population. In this paper, the authors provide a composite narrative from the point of view of the “victim” of sexual harassment (i.e., a neophyte mental performance consultant) while consulting with a high school team. Then, the authors examine and interpret the narrative in light of four complicating factors: (a) gender identity and other demographics, (b) context, (c) training and experience, and (d) handling/reporting incidents of sexual harassment. Finally, the authors pose questions for readers related to each complication and present implications for sport psychology students and faculty.

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Facilitating the Transition out of Professional Baseball Following Release: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective

Johannes Raabe, Andrew D. Bass, Lauren K. McHenry, and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek

Approximately 90% of players in Minor League Baseball will be released at some point in their career. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore the role of individuals’ basic psychological needs during the release from professional baseball and throughout their subsequent transition to a new career. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 former Minor League Baseball players. Thematic analysis generated four themes: (a) The release resulted in immediate but temporary basic psychological need thwarting, (b) the “liberating experience” of the release allowed individuals to perceive autonomy in the transition out of affiliated baseball, (c) perceptions of competence served as the foundation for a positive transition to a new career, and (d) meaningful connections fostered individuals’ perception of relatedness in the transition out of affiliated baseball. The findings suggest that need fulfillment might act as a buffer between potential stressors in the transition process and athletes’ cognitive, emotional, and behavioral response.

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Fostering and Sustaining Sport Psychology Professional Quality of Life: The Perspectives of Senior-Level, Experienced Sport Psychology Practitioners

Alessandro Quartiroli, Sharon M. Knight, Edward F. Etzel, and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek

Researchers have examined psychology professionals’ ability to maintain and sustain effective practices while managing to balance their personal and professional lives. Stamm’s concept of professional quality of life was intended to capture both positive and negative aspects of caregivers’ professional experiences. The concept, however, inadequately addresses the unique context of sport psychology practitioners’ (SPPs) practice. As part of a larger qualitative study of sport psychology professional quality of life (SP-PQL), in this paper the researchers explored the challenges and strategies articulated by a multinational sample of 20 senior-level SPPs related to developing and maintaining their SP-PQL. Findings from an analysis of in-depth interviews revealed challenges and the strategies that participants undertook to foster and sustain their SP-QOL. These findings can be used to inform efforts by current and future practitioners to identify aspects that may thwart or support their SP-PQL.

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The Multifaceted Meaning of Sport Psychology Professional Quality of Life

Alessandro Quartiroli, Edward F. Etzel, Sharon M. Knight, and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek

Experienced and senior sport psychology practitioners achieved longevity in effective professional practice by embracing sustainable approaches to their profession, assumed to be influenced by their positive professional quality of life. The aim of this study was to gain insight into how these practitioners defined and attended to their profession-specific quality of life. Utilizing Consensual Qualitative Research method, researchers examined the perceptions and meanings that 20 internationally located practitioners attributed to their Sport Psychology-Professional Quality of Life (SP-PQL). Findings revealed a view of SP-PQL that encompassed five domains: (a) the lived experience of SP-PQL, (b) the nature of the SP profession, (c) SP-PQL as an ongoing journey, (d) deliberate engagement in the SP profession, and (e) the interconnection between the personal and the professional. These practitioners recognized the importance of a positive SP-PQL as a foundation for a positive, effective, and long-lasting career in the field.

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U.S. NCAA Division I Female Student-Athletes’ Perceptions of an Empowerment and Social Responsibility Program

Alicia H. Malnati, Leslee A. Fisher, Rebecca A. Zakrajsek, Leslie K. Larsen, Matthew P. Bejar, Johannes J. Raabe, and Jamie M. Fynes

Because alcohol abuse and sexual violence are particularly prevalent on college campuses (Coker et al., 2011), empowering female student-athletes is a vital pursuit for intercollegiate athletics (Gill, 2008; Cattaneo & Chapman, 2010). Using consensual qualitative research (Hill et al., 1997, 2005), we interviewed eight Division I female student-athletes who participated in an empowerment program about their experiences. Five domains were revealed: (a) perception of psychological empowerment, (b) perception of social empowerment, (c) perception of physical empowerment, (d) perception of biggest “takeaways,” and (e) experience of program. Findings illustrated the importance of empowering female student-athletes to believe in themselves, to act upon those beliefs, and to build community around those beliefs.

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High-Level South Korean Athletes’ Experiences of Injury and Rehabilitation

Matthew P. Bejar, Leslee A. Fisher, Benjamin H. Nam, Leslie K. Larsen, Jamie M. Fynes, and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek

Although the biopsychosocial model of sport injury rehabilitation (Brewer, Andersen, & Van Raalte, 2002) is one of the most comprehensive frameworks to address athletes’ postinjury responses, there has been little research centralizing the myriad of cultural factors (e.g., nationality, ethnicity, socioeconomic status) that can impact psychological, social/contextual, and biological factors that, in turn, impact athletes’ recovery. The purpose of the current study was to explore high-level South Korean athletes’ experiences of injury and rehabilitation. Retrospective semistructured interviews were conducted with 11 retired high-level South Korean athletes. Employing Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR) methodology (Hill, 2012), four domains were constructed from the data: (a) Experience of the South Korean Sport System, (b) Immediate Post-Injury Perceptions, (c) Experience of Recovery Process, and (d) Post-Injury Reflections. The findings indicated that participants’ experiences of the forced hierarchy and power dynamics within the South Korean athletic specialist system influenced perceived sport injury rehabilitation outcomes.