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Assessing and Maximizing Collegiate Athletes’ Psychological Skills Under Constraints: A Preseason Brief Intervention Approach

Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu and Trent A. Petrie

Time and access to teams may be limited for sport psychology professionals, particularly those working in the college sport setting. Thus, learning how to intervene with teams and individual athletes within short, defined timeframes becomes essential for working effectively in this environment. In this article, using de Shazer’s solution-focused brief therapy along with Weinberg and Williams’s steps of psychological skills training, the authors describe the development and implementation of a brief intervention under time-limited circumstances (15 days, 15 min/day) through a preseason training program with a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I women’s volleyball team. Then, they present data and evaluations based on the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28 and athlete feedback, which support program effectiveness. They further reflect on the program strengths (e.g., individualization) and challenges (e.g., limited coach involvement) to provide recommendations for intervening briefly, yet systematically and effectively, to maximize athletes’ psychological skills under constraints.

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The Relationship of Coach-Created Motivational Climate to Teamwork Behaviors in Female Collegiate Athletes

Derek M. Sokoloff, Trent A. Petrie, and Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu

Although teamwork behaviors would be expected to emerge from coach-created task-involving climates, no study has focused on this connection. Thus, we surveyed female National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletes (N = 536) on their perceptions of motivational climates created by their head coaches (i.e., 33-item Perceived Motivational Climate in Sport Questionnaire) and their beliefs about their team’s teamwork behaviors (i.e., 19-item Multidimensional Assessment of Teamwork in Sport—Short Form). Cluster analyses revealed three groupings of coach-created climates: low task/high ego (n = 125), moderate task/moderate ego (n = 286), and high task/low ego (n = 125). Through a series of multivariate analyses of variance, with post hoc discriminant descriptive analysis, we found a significant main effect for the motivational climate clusters on teamwork behaviors. Athletes in the high-task/low-ego motivational climate cluster endorsed more teamwork behaviors (e.g., preparation, execution) than those in the moderate-task/moderate-ego and low-task/high-ego climate clusters. These findings suggest the importance of coach-created motivational climates in teamwork behaviors.

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Still an “Old Boys’ Club”? Certified Mental Performance Consultants’ Gender-Typed Sport Specialization and Employment Setting

Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, Ellea Bachmeier, and Taylor Mair

Qualitative research has demonstrated the prevalence of gender inequity and sexism in sport-related careers, including those in sport psychology. To provide quantitative evidence, we examined the role of gender in Certified Mental Performance Consultants’ (CMPC) specialization and employment by extracting and coding the data (N = 576) from the CMPC Directory. Independent samples t tests showed that male CMPCs specialized in more masculine sports, less feminine sports, and a similar number of gender-neutral sports compared with female CMPCs. Chi-square tests of independence revealed a larger proportion of male than female CMPCs working in professional sport. No significant differences were found in other employment settings (college sport, military, and private practice), age-group specialization, and mental health licensure. These findings, which should be interpreted with caution before further investigation, suggest a need for collaboration between sport psychology professionals and sport organizations that might help mitigate internal and external barriers to gender equity.

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Developmental Differences in Burnout Among High School Athletes in the United States: A Gendered Perspective

Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, Bailey Sommerfeld, and Tao Zhang

Building on recent research examining athlete burnout trajectories, this study implemented the developmental model of sport participation to compare emotional and physical exhaustion, reduced sense of accomplishment, and sport devaluation between age groups (specializing [aged 13–15 years] vs. investment [aged 16–18 years]) and gender (boys vs. girls) among U.S. high school athletes. Participants were 367 high school athletes (M = 15.53; 212 males; 186 specializing) across various individual and team sports who completed a survey assessing their demographic information, sport backgrounds, and burnout perceptions. A 2 × 2 multivariate analysis of covariance, controlling for training hours, showed greater emotional and physical exhaustion and sport devaluation in the investment than the specializing group, but no developmental differences in reduced sense of accomplishment. Contrary to our hypothesis, no gender or interaction effects were found. Findings inform interventions and future research that address the role of developmental stages and gender in athlete burnout.

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The Relationship of Resilience, Self-Compassion, and Social Support to Psychological Distress in Women Collegiate Athletes During COVID-19

Matthew Mikesell, Trent A. Petrie, Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, and E. Whitney G. Moore

Given how COVID-19 had caused significant increases in collegiate athletes’ psychological distress, we examined the extent to which such distress may have been ameliorated by the athletes’ psychosocial resources (e.g., resilience). We used structural equation modeling to examine the direct and indirect relationships of resilience, self-compassion, and social support to women collegiate athletes’ (N = 3,924; 81.2% White) psychological distress; athletes completed measures of these constructs from mid-April to mid-May 2020. Analyses revealed significant direct effects: More supported (β = −0.12 to −0.19), self-compassionate (β = −0.48 to −0.53), and resilient (β = −0.21 to −0.35) athletes experienced less psychological distress (R 2 = .61–.65). Further, self-compassion and social support were related indirectly (and inversely) to psychological distress through higher levels of resilience. These psychosocial resources appear to have played a positive role in how athletes coped with the pandemic, being associated with less psychological distress. These findings have application beyond the pandemic, providing direction for how sport psychology professionals may assist athletes in maintaining their well-being.

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Predictive Strengths of Basic Psychological Needs in Physical Education Among Hispanic Children: A Gender-Based Approach

Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, Tao Zhang, Katherine T. Thomas, Xiaoxia Zhang, and Xiangli Gu

Purpose: Based on the self-determination theory, this study explored the predictive strengths and relative importance of basic psychological needs (BPNs; i.e., autonomy, competence, and relatedness) in physical education in physical, cognitive, and psychological outcomes among Hispanic boys and girls. Methods: Fourth- and fifth-grade Hispanic children (N = 214; 110 boys and 104 girls) completed surveys measuring BPNs, effort in physical education, and general well-being and objective assessments of cardiorespiratory fitness and body mass index. Multiple regression analyses were performed on the three adaptive outcomes by gender to determine the relative importance of BPNs. Results: The analyses revealed that (a) competence was the most important BPN in predicting effort and well-being among both boys and girls; (b) relatedness predicted only well-being among boys, but both effort and well-being among girls; and (c) autonomy did not predict any outcomes. Conclusions: The findings highlight the importance of satisfying Hispanic children’s competence and girls’ relatedness in physical education.