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Daniel Gould, Vance Tammen, Shane Murphy, and Jerry May

The present investigation had three purposes. It (a) evaluated U.S. Olympic sport psychology consultants and the services they provide; (b) used Partington and Orlick’s (1987b) Consultant Evaluation Form (CEF) to examine effective sport psychology consultant characteristics; and (c) identified future sport psychology consultant and program needs. U.S. Olympic sport psychology consultants, sport science and medicine administrators, national team coaches, and athletes from various Olympic sports were surveyed. Results revealed that consultants were perceived in a favorable light across the four subsamples, which did not differ significantly in their effectiveness evaluations. The consultants also received high ratings on all 10 CEF consultant characteristics. Moreover, correlations between the consultant characteristic and effectiveness ratings revealed that fitting in with the team and drawing on athletes’ strengths were among the most important characteristics. Finally, the respondents identified the need to individualize sport psychology strategies as a major way for consultants to better meet athlete needs. Results are discussed relative to ways of improving applied sport psychology consultations with athletes and coaches.

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Daniel Gould, Shane Murphy, Vance Tammen, and Jerry May

The present study was designed to identify (a) the backgrounds of U.S. Olympic sport psychology consultants, (b) the services they provide, (c) their own evaluation of those services, and (d) the problems they encounter as well as their recommendations for improving programs. Forty-four of 47 sport psychology consultants who were identified as working with sports affiliated with the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1984 to 1988 completed extensive surveys. Results revealed that the consultants represented 20 sports and were well trained in sport psychology. They were most frequently involved in individual athlete consultations, athlete group seminars, and individual coach consultations. Intervention techniques used most often included goal setting, relaxation training, arousal regulation, imagery-visualization, and self-talk. The consultants also indicated that the most frequently experienced problems were lack of program funding, poor scheduling and logistics, poor interaction with coaches, and lack of time to work with athletes. The need to individualize sport psychology strategies with athletes was identified as the most meaningful recommendation for the future.