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Daryl Marchant and Patrick McLaughlin

Innovative strategies were used to inform coaching practices regarding the skill of set-shot goal kicking in Australian Football (AF). An action learning approach was adopted including planning, data gathering, analyses and dissemination phases. Three distinct approaches were used to inform AF coaches of evidence and strategies to guide implementation, a) applying statistical trend data, b) applying expert knowledge, and c) applying biomechanical principles. Trend data from a full AFL season consisting of over 4,000 set-shots was used to inform coaches on numerous performance related parameters (e.g., distance, angle). Expert insider perspectives were generated through in-depth interviews with eight retired AF goal kicking champions. The past players had all kicked over 500 goals at the elite level and four had obtained AFL Hall of Fame or AFL Legend status. The related analyses produced six primary themes (a) correct technique (b) incorrect technique, (c) pre-kick routine, (d) mental skills (e) challenges/choices and (h) training. Third, biomechanical principles were applied to set-shot kicking with accompanying images and drills provided to coaches. A two year follow-up indicated the results were highly transferable to training and competitions. Coaches in sports that include closed skills may benefit from transferring where applicable these strategies to their sports.

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Daryl Marchant and Petah Gibbs

Case example material of sport psychologists working with psychopathology in sport settings is limited. Applied sport psychologists need to be attuned to athletes with personality disorders because the effects of various disorders require substantial management as they can seriously impede individual potential and affect team harmony. In the present paper, a case example of an elite athlete presenting with symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is discussed at length. Critical incidents are described to show BPD manifested in a professional sports context. The complexities of providing competent, ethical, and realistic solutions to the athlete with BPD proved to be especially challenging. Issues that posed significant ethical or practical concerns included making an initial diagnosis, the referral process, maintaining confidentiality, and secondary needs.

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David Tod, Daryl Marchant and Mark B. Andersen

Graduates (n = 16) and teaching staff (n = 11) of Australian master’s of applied psychology programs (sport and exercise) participated in interviews about learning experiences that they believed contributed to service-delivery competence. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically content analyzed. The authors sought to enhance research credibility through data source and analyst triangulation. Participants thought the main contributions to service-delivery competence were client interactions; relationships among teaching staff, supervisors, and students; and specific events outside of the training programs. Participants considered sport psychology research and theory to be helpful when applicable to clients. The authors discuss issues arising under the major themes relating to practitioner development, such as supervisor-supervisee relationships. The results of the study have implications for future training in sport psychology, such as the mentoring of students, the grounding of practice in research and theory, and how anxiety can be minimized during role-plays.

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Christopher Mesagno, Daryl Marchant and Tony Morris

“Choking under pressure” is a maladaptive response to performance pressure whereby choking models have been identified, yet, theory-matched interventions have not empirically tested. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate whether a preperformance routine (PPR) could reduce choking effects, based on the distraction model of choking. Three “choking-susceptible”, experienced participants were purposively sampled, from 88 participants, to complete ten-pin bowling deliveries in a single-case A1-B1-A2-B2 design (A phases = “low-pressure”; B phases = “high-pressure”), with an interview following the single-case design. Participants experienced “choking” in the B1 phase, which the interviews indicated was partially due to an increase in self-awareness (S-A). During the B2 phase, improved accuracy occurred when using the personalized PPR and, qualitatively, positive psychological outcomes included reduced S-A and decreased conscious processing. Using the personalized PPR produced adaptive and relevant, task-focused attention.