Creating and delivering effective sport psychology programs for traveling groups of athletes is a challenging task, particularly when athletes have limited experience with international travel. Using key points from Poczwardowski, Sherman, and Henschen’s (1998) sport psychology service delivery heuristic, this paper provides a personal account of sport psychology services provided at the 16th Maccabiah Games. Guidelines for sport psychology consultants working and traveling with competitive athletes and teams at future international sporting events are provided.
Judy L. Van Raalte and Mark B. Andersen
The authors focus on many of the complex issues that sport psychologists face when working with athletes through the process of leaving sport. They briefly review the literature on career termination to serve as a foundation for a discussion of the effects that an athlete’s career termination can have on teammates, family, and the self. The authors also explore the issue of bias and prejudice. People intimately involved in sport (sport psychologists included) often have a prejudice toward sport relative to other possible activities or goals. This bias might influence how sport psychologists listen to, interpret, and formulate athlete cases. Case examples are used to highlight the difficulties of identifying career-termination concerns and the professional and personal tensions that come with making sport career changes. With care, sport psychologists can manage career termination and related issues and effectively address the health and happiness of the athletes they serve.
Stephanie Habif, Judy L. Van Raalte, and Allen Cornelius
Opportunities for women in sport in the United States changed dramatically in the 1970s with the passage of Title IX. Researchers during the 1980s, however, indicated that negative attitudes toward female coaches remained. The purpose of this research was to assess current attitudes toward male and female coaches in two sports. In Study 1, 139 basketball players read scenarios and evaluated hypothetical coaches. Based upon the results, there were no overall differences in attitudes toward male and female coaches on the Attitudes of Athletes Toward Male versus Female Coaches (AAMFC-Q) questionnaire (Weinberg, Reveles, & Jackson, 1984). However, males expressed a significant preference for male coaches, t(78) = −8.84, p < .001. In Study 2, 129 volleyball players read scenarios and rated hypothetical coaches. In contrast to the basketball players, volleyball players showed no significant differences in their attitudes toward or preferences for a coach of a particular gender. Base upon the results of both studies we suggest that attitudes toward female coaches are changing, but preferences for male coaches may still exist, particularly for athletes involved in traditionally masculine sports.
Mark B. Andersen, Judy L. Van Raalte, and Britton W. Brewer
To assess the supervisory skills of sport psychologists who are training future practitioners, the Sport Psychology Supervisory Skills Inventory (SPSSI) was mailed to 201 potential applied sport psychology supervisors. Supervisors were associated with graduate programs that offered applied sport psychology practica and/or internships, as identified in the Directory of Graduate Programs in Applied Sport Psychology (Sachs, Burke, & Salitsky, 1992). Supervisors rated themselves on 41 supervisory skills. The SPSSI was also mailed to 416 student members of AAASP, who were asked to rate their supervisors. There was a 35% return rate from supervisors and a 45% return rate from students. The findings suggest that supervised experience with athletes is limited for both supervisors and graduate students.
Annamari Maaranen, Judy L. Van Raalte, and Britton W. Brewer
Flikikammo is a troubling phenomenon in which athletes lose the ability to perform previously automatic backward moving gymnastics skills as a normal part of a routine. To better understand the effects of flikikammo over time, the confidence, perceived pressure, physical well-being, energy, and stress levels of gymnasts (n = 6) and cheerleaders (n = 4) were assessed weekly over 10 weeks. Half of the participants reported experiencing flikikammo at the start of the study, and half served as age, skill level, and sport-matched controls. Athletes with flikikammo indicated that pressure from coaches and higher energy levels were related to more severe flikikammo. For participants under the age of 18, higher levels of life stress positively correlated with flikikammo, but for those over 18, higher life stress was negatively correlated with flikikammo. These findings highlight the complexity of flikikammo and suggest that complex solutions may be needed to address flikikammo issues.
Bottom W. Brewer, Judy L. Van Raalte, and Darwyn E. Linder
The effects of experimentally induced pressure pain on the performance of a weight lifting task, a simple golf putting task, and a complex golf putting task were examined in male college students. It was found that pain did not affect performance of the weight lifting task, slightly hampered performance of the simple putting task, and severely hampered performance of the complex putting task. Because the adverse effects of pain increased with task complexity, the findings are consistent with the notion mat pain is a form of arousal and mat pain affects performance in a manner similar to arousal. Limitations of the present experiments and directions for future research are discussed.
Yani L. Dickens, Judy Van Raalte, and Russell T. Hurlburt
Although self-talk has been shown to be an effective performance enhancement tool, accessing athletes’ ongoing inner experiences, including self-talk, has proven difficult. This study investigated the feasibility and desirability of using Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES) to sample athletes’ inner experiences during competition, thus avoiding potential distortions that arise from retrospective reports and questionnaires. Golfers (N = 10) were trained as DES participants in their natural environments; then their experiences were sampled during a golf tournament. More self-talk occurred during tournament play than in natural environments. Self-talk was a frequent but not ubiquitous component of experience during tournament play, inner-speaking self-talk was six times as frequent as speaking aloud self-talk, and effortful System 2 self-talk was rare. The results of this research demonstrate that DES can be feasibly implemented in sport settings and may be a useful approach for researchers exploring athletes’ inner experiences.
Leonardo Ruiz, Judy L. Van Raalte, Thaddeus France, and Al Petitpas
More than 1,400 Latin American professional baseball players, age 16-21, are employed by 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) academies in the Dominican Republic. The popular press has highlighted scandals related to professional youth baseball player recruitment, selection, and exploitation in the academies, but little attention has been given to the academy experiences of youth baseball players from the perspective of the players themselves. For this research, 11 professional baseball players residing at an MLB Academy in the Dominican Republic participated in semi-structured interviews. Players described their transitions into the baseball academy system, their experiences in the academy, and their perceptions and expectations upon leaving or being released from the academy. Themes that emerged from the data included athletes’ hopes and dreams, stress, faith, and career transitions. Clinical implications of these findings for sport psychology practitioners are discussed.
Britton W. Brewer, Judy L. Van Raalte, Darwyn E. Linder, and Nancy S. Van Raalte
Three experiments were conducted to determine which remembered qualities of the peak performance state are robust and to investigate whether recall biases may affect accounts of peak experiences. In the first experiment, introductory psychology students rated psychological characteristics of their best, average, and worst sport performances. Focused attention and confidence were the qualities most strongly identified with peak performance. The second experiment replicated and extended these findings in a sample of intercollegiate cross-country runners and tennis players. In the third experiment, subjects (a) completed a pursuit rotor task; (b) were randomly assigned to receive success, failure, or no feedback; and (c) rated their psychological state during performance. Results indicated that the bogus performance feedback significantly affected ratings of psychological states experienced during performance. Subjects given success feedback perceived themselves as being more confident and focused on the task than subjects given failure feedback. Implications of these findings for research and practice are discussed.
Erika D. Van Dyke, Judy L. Van Raalte, Elizabeth M. Mullin, and Britton W. Brewer
Little research has explored the relationship between highly skilled athletes’ self-talk and their competitive performance over the course of a season. For the current study, positive, negative, motivational, instructional, and functional dimensions of collegiate gymnasts’ (N = 141) self-talk were assessed. The gymnasts’ competitive balance beam performances in intercollegiate meets were also recorded. Multiple regression analysis revealed that positive self-talk significantly predicted balance beam performance and performance consistency. Significant positive correlations were found among key self-talk variables, except negative self-talk. Significant negative correlations were found between negative self-talk and self-talk functions (i.e., attention, cognitive and emotional control, and confidence). The results highlight the interrelationships among various types and functions of self-talk in competitive settings, and provide evidence for the ways in which self-talk is related to the performance of highly skilled athletes. Suggestions for how these findings might be applied by athletes, coaches, and sport psychology practitioners are provided.