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Craig A. Wrisberg and Johannes Raabe

This case study depicts the approach taken by a sport psychology consultant who worked with an elite college football place kicker from the beginning of the individual’s freshman year to the end of his senior competitive season. The player expressed an interest in adding mental training to his conventional practice habits to manage the mental and emotional demands he expected to face throughout his career at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I level. The consultant used an approach rooted in the philosophy of existential phenomenology, referred to as phenomenological consulting. The effectiveness of interventions was determined by the player’s description of his experience and reflections of the consultant. The present study represents an example of the benefits athletes might derive from a phenomenological approach to long-term performance consulting.

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Tucker Readdy, Rebecca Zakrajsek and Johannes Raabe

Sport coaching is marked by a pathos created by limited control and limited awareness, contradictory beliefs, and novelty. Still, coaches can enhance the likelihood of optimal outcomes through orchestration, a process marked by unobtrusive, flexible actions that enhance athletes’ ability to work toward competitive goals (Jones & Wallace, 2005). This research sought to create a detailed understanding of pathos and orchestration in collegiate coaching. Participants were 10 head coaches from National Collegiate Athletic Association universities. Analysis of semistructured interviews produced four themes: (a) true control is limited but attempted control is extensive, (b) orchestration strategies are varied in context and method, (c) relationships enhance the effectiveness of the orchestration process, and (d) planning the next step allows for relative stability in the pathos. These results expand our understanding of pathos and orchestration, suggesting the concepts have promise in educating coaches about sources of adversity and the means to mitigate them.

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Johannes Raabe, Tucker Readdy and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek

Coaching is characterized by an inherent pathos between the goals coaches hope to accomplish and those that are realized (Jones & Wallace, 2005). Coaches can actively enhance the likelihood of optimal outcomes through orchestration, a process of incremental coping intended to create improvement in performance (Jones & Wallace, 2005). The current study explored to what extent pathos also manifests in the lives of elite athletes and whether they engage in processes consistent with orchestration. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I student-athletes. Primarily deductive analysis of the qualitative data provided confirmation for four domains: (a) sources of ambiguity created by coaches, (b) other sources of ambiguity within student-athletes’ experiences, (c) attempted strategies for orchestrating the pathos, and (d) relationships are crucial for navigating the pathos. The findings potentially offer an approach to understanding the challenges athletes face, which allows coaches to more accurately provide assistance.

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Alicia H. Malnati, Leslee A. Fisher, Rebecca A. Zakrajsek, Leslie K. Larsen, Matthew P. Bejar, Johannes J. Raabe and Jamie M. Fynes

Because alcohol abuse and sexual violence are particularly prevalent on college campuses (Coker et al., 2011), empowering female student-athletes is a vital pursuit for intercollegiate athletics (Gill, 2008; Cattaneo & Chapman, 2010). Using consensual qualitative research (Hill et al., 1997, 2005), we interviewed eight Division I female student-athletes who participated in an empowerment program about their experiences. Five domains were revealed: (a) perception of psychological empowerment, (b) perception of social empowerment, (c) perception of physical empowerment, (d) perception of biggest “takeaways,” and (e) experience of program. Findings illustrated the importance of empowering female student-athletes to believe in themselves, to act upon those beliefs, and to build community around those beliefs.