This case study describes a 1-year intervention aiming at creating a sustainable talent-development culture by actively involving the director and leading coaches of the Danish Talent Academy in a research process, thus broadening their horizons, developing their self-reflexivity, and empowering them to improve their situation. The intervention proceeded in five phases. Phase 1 was exploring and reflecting on previous experiences and understanding needs. Phase 2 was about understanding past, present, and future values and strategies to gain a foothold and stability in the new context. Phase 3 was cocreation of a cultural analysis that was important for constructing the identity of the academy and developing self-reflexivity. Phase 4 was designing the value-based compass poster, and Phase 5 was sharing, evaluating, and looking forward within the local sociocultural context. Reflections on the program suggest that a context-driven approach to the creation of an environment for talent development can enhance the successful nature of the process.
Kristoffer Henriksen, Carsten Hvid Larsen, Louise Kamuk Storm, and Knud Ryom
Young competitive athletes are not miniature elite athletes; they are a distinct client group to whom sport psychology practitioners (SPPs) increasingly deliver services. Interventions with this client group are often undertaken by newly educated SPPs who are in need of good guiding principles. Yet, there is a lack of research informing SPPs’ work with this group. In this current study, semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with four experienced practitioners about their most successful interventions in competitive youth sport. Analysis showed three major themes: (a) young athletes should be equipped with a holistic skills package that enables them to handle a number of existential challenges; (b) young athletes are embedded in an environment (coaches, experts, teammates etc.) that should be involved in the interventions; and (c) interventions with young athletes should maintain a long-term focus. These themes are discussed in the context of current literature on sport psychology service delivery.
Kristoffer Henriksen, Louise Kamuk Storm, Natalia Stambulova, Nicklas Pyrdol, and Carsten Hvid Larsen
This study is focused on reflections of expert sport psychology practitioners about their interventions with competitive youth and senior elite athletes. Two objectives include: (1) to identify key structural components used by practitioners to describe sport psychology interventions and integrate them into an empirical framework, and (2) to analyze the practitioners’ experiences in regard of their successful and less successful interventions in competitive youth and elite senior sport contexts using the empirical framework. We conducted semi-structured interviews with twelve internationally recognized sport psychology practitioners (SPPs) and analyzed the data thematically. The empirical framework derived from the SPPs’ accounts contains eight structural components integrated into two categories: (1) the content and focus (with three components, e.g., adaptation of content), and (2) the organization and delivery of interventions (with five components, e.g., initiation and assessment of athletes’ needs). Using the empirical framework we found differences between successful and less successful interventions and between youth and senior contexts in terms of needs assessment, adaptation and breadth of content, athlete-practitioner relationship, and intervention settings. The empirical framework might inform SPPs in their efforts to design, implement, and evaluate their services in these two contexts.
Lukas Linnér, Natalia Stambulova, Louise Kamuk Storm, Andreas Kuettel, and Kristoffer Henriksen
This case study of a dual career development environment (DCDE) was informed by the holistic ecological approach (HEA) and aimed at (a) providing a holistic description of a DCDE at university level in Sweden and (b) investigating the perceived factors influencing the environment’s effectiveness in facilitating the development of student-athletes. The authors blended in situ observations, interviews, and document analysis to explore the case, and HEA-informed working models were transformed into empirical models summarizing the case. Findings show a well-coordinated DCDE with the key role of coaches in daily dual career support and how efforts were integrated through a dual career-support team sharing a philosophy of facilitating healthy performance development and life balance, with a whole-person and empowerment approach. This study adds to the literature by identifying features of a successful DCDE, and insights from the case can be useful for practitioners in their quest to optimize their DCDEs and support.