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David Tod

To date, there has been limited discussion of sport psychology consultant development, and there is not a comprehensive knowledge base on practitioner maturation. In this article the author argues that counselor-development literature might contribute to sport psychology consultant training and practitioner-maturation research. The author reviews counselor-development theory and highlights similarities with sport psychology literature, such as the documentation of trainees’ anxieties. Implications for practitioner training include matching instructional methods to trainees’ developmental needs, creating strategies for making use of modeling and simulated or real client interactions, and helping trainees deal with anxiety and conflict. Possible research directions include following sport psychology consultants longitudinally and recording experienced practitioners’ life histories. The use of counselor-development literature might assist educators and supervisors in their interactions with trainees, help practitioners reflect on and perhaps improve their service-delivery practices, and stimulate studies that contribute to a broader understanding of sport psychology consultant development.

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David Tod and Katherine Bond

A consultant in private practice, Anna, was followed over 2 years to observe ways her service delivery perceptions and practices changed after completing her academic education. Anna was interviewed three times with each interview being transcribed verbatim with ensuing transcripts thematically content analyzed. Over the two years, Anna experienced increasing coherence between her broadening theoretical orientation and service delivery practices. Anna’s service delivery became more client-led and focused on long-term growth rather than short-term problem fixing. Decreasing anxiety and increasing confidence in her competence, along with experimentation influenced the changes Anna experienced. Anna’s story provides insights for sport psychologist training, such as the value of experiential learning through client contact, personal therapy, and supervision groups.

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David Tod, James Hardy, and Emily Oliver

This article presents a systematic review of the literature examining the relationship between self-talk and performance. “Second-generation questions” regarding potential mediators and moderators of the self-talk–performance relationship were also examined. A total of 47 studies were analyzed. Results indicated beneficial effects of positive, instructional, and motivational self-talk for performance. Somewhat surprisingly, two evidence-based challenges to popular current viewpoints on self-talk emerged. First, negative self-talk did not impede performance. Second, there was inconsistent evidence for the differential effects of instructional and motivational self-talk based on task characteristics. Results from the mediation-based analysis indicate that cognitive and behavioral factors had the most consistent relationships with self-talk. The findings are discussed in the context of recent theoretical advances, and the article includes recommendations for future research (e.g., the use of designs allowing the testing of meditational hypotheses) and for current applied practice (e.g., avoiding the use of thought-stopping techniques).

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Martin Ian Jones, David Lavallee, and David Tod

The aim of the current study was to evaluate the ELITE intervention as a method of increasing the perceived use of communication and organization skills in young people. The participants were three male field hockey players and two female tennis players from a British university. We used a series of single subject, multiple baselines, with minimal meaningful harm and benefit criteria and SMDall effect sizes to evaluate the ELITE intervention. The results revealed no meaningful harm from participating in the program, and the tennis players showed meaningful benefits. SMDall effect sizes all demonstrated that the intervention had a positive effect. Post intervention interviews indicated that participants valued the targeted life skills, and the program was enjoyable. Implications of this study suggest that scholars and practitioners can use the ELITE intervention to increase life skills in young people.

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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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Favil Singh, Carl Foster, David Tod, and Michael R. McGuigan


To evaluate the effectiveness of session rating of perceived exertion (RPE) to measure effort during different types of resistance training.


Fifteen male subjects (age 26.7 ± 4.3 years) performed 3 protocols. All protocols consisted of same 5 exercises but with different intensities, rest periods, and numbers of repetitions. One-repetition maximum (1-RM) was defined as the maximal amount of weight that an individual could lift 1 time without support. The strength protocol included 3 sets of 5 repetitions at 90% of 1-RM with 3 minutes rest between. The hypertrophy session included 3 sets of 10 repetitions at 70% with 1 minute of rest, and the power session included 3 sets of 5 repetitions at 50% with 3 minutes of rest. Session RPE is a modification of the standard RPE scale. Session and standard RPE were measured after the completion of each set and 30 minutes postexercise, respectively.


Results showed a difference between both the 2 RPE values of the strength and hypertrophy protocols (P ≤ .05) but no difference between mean and session RPE values for the power protocol. During the familiarization session, session RPE was measured at 5-minute intervals for 30 minutes postexercise. There was a significant difference (P ≤ .05) between the mean RPE values at the fifth and tenth minutes postexercise when compared with 30 minutes postexercise. All other session RPE values showed no significant difference.


The session RPE method appears to be effective in monitoring different types of resistance training, and session RPE after 30 minutes was a better indicator of the overall resistance sessions than average RPE.

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Nick Wadsworth, Hayley McEwan, Moira Lafferty, Martin Eubank, and David Tod

This study explored the stories of critical moments experienced by applied sport psychology practitioners. The 13 recruited practitioners (eight male and five female) were in different stages of their development (trainee, neophyte, and experienced) and were asked to tell one story about a critical moment that significantly contributed to their development as applied practitioners. Narrative analysis was used to explore the stories of critical moments. Four distinct narrative structures were evident: Rebirth, Rags to Riches, Tragedy, and The Quest. There was one consistent narrative feature that supported these plots: Critical moments contribute toward an alignment between a practitioner’s beliefs and behavior, which supports the development of a congruent philosophy of practice and the environment they choose to work within. The authors recommend future research, such as the use of narrative analysis, to explore alternative narrative structures and the investigation of successful and unsuccessful consultancy experiences.

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Michelle Smith, Hayley E. McEwan, David Tod, and Amanda Martindale

The research team explored UK trainee sport and exercise psychologists’ perspectives on developing professional-judgment and decision-making (PJDM) expertise during their British Psychological Society Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology (Stage 2). An assorted analysis approach was adopted to combine an existing longitudinal qualitative data set with the collection and analysis of a new qualitative data set. Participants (1 female, 6 male) were interviewed 4 times over a 3-yr training period, at minimum yearly intervals. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and reflexive thematic analysis applied to transcripts using the theoretical concepts of PJDM. Experience, analytical reasoning, and observation of other practitioners’ practice was useful for developing PJDM expertise. PJDM expertise might be optimized through the use of knowledge-elicitation principles. For example, supervisors could embed critical cues in the anecdotes they share to expand the experience base that trainees can draw from when making decisions.

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Michael R. McGuigan, Abdulaziz Al Dayel, David Tod, Carl Foster, Robert U. Newton, and Simone Pettigrew

The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of the OMNI Resistance Exercise scale (OMNI-RES) for monitoring the intensity of different modes of resistance training in children who are overweight or obese. Sixty-one children (mean age = 9.7 ± 1.4 years) performed three resistance training sessions every week for 4 weeks. Each session consisted of three sets of 3–15 repetitions of eight different resistance exercises. OMNI-RES RPE measures (0–10) were obtained following each set and following the end of the exercise session. There was a significant difference between average RPE (1.68 ± 0.61) and Session RPE (3.10 ± 1.18) during the 4 weeks of training (p < .05). There was no significant change in session RPE over the 4 weeks of training. The correlation coefficient between average and session RPE values was significant (r = .88, p < .05). The findings of the current study indicate that the RPE values are higher when OMNI-RES measures are obtained following the whole training session than when obtained following every single set of exercise. This suggests that in children the session RPE provides different information to the average RPE across the entire session.

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Gabriella Whitcomb-Khan, Nick Wadsworth, Kristin McGinty-Minister, Stewart Bicker, Laura Swettenham, and David Tod

This study explored the experiences of elite athletes during the initial stages of lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The eight recruited participants (three females, five males) were asked to tell a story of their lockdown experience. Narrative analysis was used to explore the athletes’ stories. The athletes’ narrative is best represented in four distinct sections: (a) threat to goals, (b) ongoing consequences, (c) overcoming COVID-19, and (d) adapting to COVID-19. Four narrative themes were also coconstructed from the athletes’ stories: (a) factors athletes found challenging, (b) loss, (c) strategies that benefitted athletes psychologically, and (d) silver linings. Combined, these findings suggest that the initial stages of lockdown are best described as a critical pause. The authors present applied implications for athletes and sport psychology practitioners. The authors also recommend that future research investigate the longitudinal effect of prolonged lockdown on athletes’ lives and a potential return to sport.