The purpose of this investigation was to assess the perceptions of coaches regarding the process of goal setting using a qualitative methodology. Participants were eight male and six female high school coaches from Midwest United States representing both team and individual sports. Results revealed that coaches employed goal setting extensively for both individual and team goals in practice and competition. In addition, many interesting findings emerged including (a) coaches tended to set both long- and short-term goals; (b) coaches only inconsistently wrote down their goals; (c) goals were both dictated by coaches and set in collaboration with players; (d) the primary function of goals was to provide direction and focus; and (e) physical, psychological, and external barriers impeded goal attainment. These findings are discussed in relation to the current empirical/theoretical goal-setting literature and suggestions for best practice by sport psychology researchers are offered.
Robert Weinberg, Joanne Butt and Betsy Knight
Joanne Butt, Robert Weinberg and Thelma Horn
The purposes of the present investigation were twofold: (a) to investigate the fluctuations of anxiety and self-confidence throughout competition by measuring these variables retrospectively before, during, and after competition and (b) to investigate the relationship between the intensity and directional interpretation of anxiety and perceived performance across competition. Field hockey players (N = 62) completed the modified Mental Readiness Form-Likert (MRF-2) within 30 minutes after competition using the method of retrospective recall. Results indicated significant fluctuations across competition for cognitive anxiety intensity and direction, somatic anxiety intensity, and self-confidence intensity. Results also revealed that the strongest predictors of performance across both halves were self-confidence intensity and direction and cognitive anxiety direction. These findings should have important implications for practitioners and sport psychologists because anxiety measurement and confidence are critical parts of most psychological skills training programs.
Liam A. Slack, Ian W. Maynard, Joanne Butt and Peter Olusoga
The present study evaluated the effectiveness of a Mental Toughness Education and Training Program (MTETP) in elite football officiating. The MTETP consisted of four individual and two group-based workshops designed to develop mental toughness (MT) and enhance performance in three English Football League (EFL) referees. Adopting a single-subject, multiple-baseline-across-participants design, MT and referee-assessor reports were evaluated. Self and coach-ratings of MT highlighted an instant and continued improvement in all three referees during the intervention phases. Performance reports of all referees improved throughout the intervention phases compared with the baseline phase. Social validation data indicated that an array of strategies within the MTETP facilitated MT development. Discussions acknowledge theoretical and practical implications relating to the continued progression of MT interventions in elite sport.
Rory Mack, Jeff Breckon, Joanne Butt and Ian Maynard
The purpose of this study was to explore how sport and exercise psychologists working in sport understand and use motivational interviewing (MI). Eleven practitioners participated in semistructured interviews, and inductive thematic analysis identified themes linked to explicit use of MI, such as building engagement and exploring ambivalence to change; the value of MI, such as enhancing the relationship, rolling with resistance and integrating with other approaches; and barriers to the implementation of MI in sport psychology, such as a limited evidence-base in sport. Findings also indicated considerable implicit use of MI by participants, including taking an athlete-centered approach, supporting athlete autonomy, reflective listening, demonstrating accurate empathy, and taking a nonprescriptive, guiding role. This counseling style appears to have several tenets to enhance current practice in sport psychology, not least the enhancement of therapeutic alliance.
Andrew Mills, Joanne Butt, Ian Maynard and Chris Harwood
This study examined the factors perceived by successful coaches to underpin optimal development environments within elite English soccer academies. A semistructured interview guide was developed to interview 10 expert coaches about the environments they create for players at a key stage in their development. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and inductively content analyzed. The results identified a wide range of factors resulting in a conceptual framework that explained how these factors interact to underpin an optimal environment. Subcomponents of this framework included organizational core (e.g., advocate a player-driven ideology), adaptability (e.g., embrace novel ideas & approaches), player welfare (e.g., understand players’ world-view), key stakeholder relationships (e.g., build trust with parents), involvement (e.g., encourage players’ ideas/feedback), and achievement oriented (e.g., establish an explicit pathway to senior level). Collectively, the findings highlight the importance of establishing strong, dynamic, organizational cultures at elite youth soccer academies. Ways that academies might be helped to establish such environments are discussed.
Kate Hays, Owen Thomas, Joanne Butt and Ian Maynard
This study documents an ideographic approach to the assessment of sport confidence in applied settings. In contrast to traditional nomothetic measures, confidence profiling provides an assessment of sport confidence from the athlete’s own perspective. Seven athletes (4 male, 3 female) completed the profile and were encouraged to give an accurate account of their sources and types of confidence, and identify the factors that were debilitative to their confidence levels. Reflective practice on the application of confidence profiling, provided by three British Association of Sport and Exercise Science Accredited sport psychologists, demonstrated the versatility of approach, and indicated that the process allowed the athlete to accurately recall their confidence related experiences and attain an accurate and in-depth assessment of their sport confidence. Thus, it was concluded that completed confidence profiles could provide a strong foundation from which athlete-centered interventions might be developed.
Kate Hays, Owen Thomas, Ian Maynard and Joanne Butt
This study examined the applicability of confidence profiling to the development of an individualized intervention designed in accordance with Murphy and Murphy’s (1992) eight step cognitive-behavioral model. The case study design illustrated the potential uses and benefits of confidence profiling when developing an athlete driven intervention to enhance the sport confidence of a female swimmer. Specifically, it showed how confidence profiling can act as an applied measure to accurately assess sport confidence from the athlete’s own perspective, provide the basis of an intervention targeted toward the athlete’s individual confidence needs, and provide feedback to the sport psychologist concerning the effectiveness of the intervention. A postintervention interview with the athlete highlighted the usefulness of the confidence profiling process. Specifically, the profiling process helped to raise the athlete’s awareness of the factors that facilitated and debilitated her sport confidence. Furthermore, the athlete reported feeling more confident and very satisfied with the mental skills training, which she perceived resulted in performance gains.
Mike Stoker, Ian Maynard, Joanne Butt, Kate Hays and Paul Hughes
In previous research, multiple demands and consequences were manipulated simultaneously to examine methods for pressure training. Building on literature, in this study a single demand or consequence stressor was manipulated in isolation. Specifically, in a matched within-subject design, 6 international shooters (mean age 28.67 yr) performed a shooting task while exposed to a single demand (task, performer, environmental) or consequence (reward, forfeit, judgment) stressor. Perceived pressure, anxiety (intensity and direction), and performance were measured. Compared with baseline, manipulating demands did not affect pressure or anxiety. In contrast, pressure and cognitive anxiety significantly increased when judgment or forfeit consequence stressors were introduced. Thus, the findings lack support for manipulating demands but strongly support introducing consequences when pressure training. Compared with baseline, the judgment stressor also created debilitative anxiety. Hence, in terms of introducing a single stressor, judgment appeared most impactful and may be most effective for certain athlete populations.
Joanne Butt, Robert S. Weinberg, Jeff D. Breckon and Randal P. Claytor
Physical activity (PA) declines as adolescents get older, and the motivational determinants of PA warrant further investigation. The purposes of this study were to investigate the amount of physical and sedentary activity that adolescents participated in across age, gender, and race, and to investigate adolescents’ attraction to PA and their perceived barriers and benefits across age, gender, and race.
High school students (N = 1163) aged between 13 and 16 years completed questionnaires on minutes and intensity of physical and sedentary activity, interests in physical activity, and perceived benefits and barriers to participating in PA.
A series of multivariate analyses of variance were conducted and followed up with discriminant function analysis. PA participation decreased in older females. In addition, fun of physical exertion was a primary attraction to PA for males more than females. Body image as an expected outcome of participating in PA contributed most to gender differences.
There is a need to determine why PA drops-off as females get older. Findings underscore the importance of structuring activities differently to sustain interest in male and female adolescents, and highlights motives of having a healthy body image, and making PA fun to enhance participation.
Rory J. Mack, Jeff D. Breckon, Paul D. O’Halloran and Joanne Butt
Clear reporting of the counseling approach (and theoretical underpinning) applied by sport psychologists is often missing, with a tendency to focus on intervention content rather than therapeutic processes and relationship building. Well-defined psychotherapies such as motivational interviewing (MI) can help fill this void and provide an underpinning counseling approach (in an athlete-centered manner) as a framework for delivering interventions such as psychological-skills training (PST). This article describes the role of MI as a framework on which PST sport psychology interventions can be mapped and delivered. The paper presents an athlete case study to explain the role of MI at each phase of the interaction. Robust, well-defined applications of MI in sport require further research, although evidence from other psychological domains suggests that it can be successfully blended into sporting contexts.