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Andrew G. Wood, Jamie B. Barker, Martin Turner and Peter Thomson

Research examining the effects of rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) on athletic performance is emerging. There is, however, a paucity of research exploring psychological interventions in specialized sport populations. The present study investigated the effects of a single REBT workshop, including intellectual and practical insight into the ABC(DE) framework, on psychological, physiological, and performance markers in an elite blind soccer team. From use of a within-participant pretest–posttest crossover design in an ecologically valid setting, data indicated small and immediate reductions in irrational beliefs, perceived helpfulness of preperformance anxiety, and physiological markers (i.e., systolic blood pressure) prior to a penalty-kick simulation. However, no substantial changes were shown in penalty-kick performance. In sum, although the findings elucidate some benefits of a single REBT workshop, the educational insight into the ABC(DE) framework was deemed insufficient for meaningful changes in outcome measures. Practical implications and recommendations for future researchers are discussed.

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Andrew G. Wood, Jamie B. Barker and Martin J. Turner

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT; Ellis, 1957) is a psychotherapeutic approach receiving increasing interest within sport. REBT is focused on identifying, disputing, and replacing irrational beliefs (IBs) with rational beliefs (RBs) to promote emotional well-being and goal achievement. This study provides a detailed case outlining the application and effect of seven one-to-one REBT sessions with an elite level archer who was experiencing performance-related anxiety, before and during competition. The case also offers an insight into common misconceptions, challenges, and guidance for those who may consider applying REBT within their practice. Data revealed meaningful short and long-term (6-months) reductions in IBs and improvements in RBs, self-efficacy, perception of control and archery performance. The case supports the effective application of REBT as an intervention with athletic performers, promoting lasting changes in an athlete’s ability to manage their cognitions, emotions and behaviors in the pursuit of performance excellence.