This article presents a reflective case example of a sport psychology consultation carried out with a 9-year-old gymnast during the final year of the consultant’s training to become a British Psychological Society–chartered sport psychologist. During this period of time, the author was under the supervision of an experienced applied sport psychologist. The article draws on the published research in applied sport psychology and the wider child development literature to inform and negotiate the challenges of a neophyte practitioner working in a relatively unfamiliar sport with a very young gymnast. The intervention, which took place over 6 months, involved a focus on psychological skills training. This article reflects on the intervention experience and makes observations that may be of benefit to both neophyte and practiced consultants working with very young children. Although the consultancy involved goal setting, relaxation, and commitment, the focus of this article is on those activities and skills that are specific to such a young athlete and that may be of interest to other practitioners in similar scenarios.
Karen Howells and David Fletcher
Previous research suggests that adversarial growth is a real and constructive phenomenon that occurs in athletes who compete at the highest level of sport. In this study, however, we adopt a critical stance on the veridicality of growth by exploring Olympic swimmers’ experience of constructive and illusory growth. Semistructured interviews, complemented by timelining, were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Despite the inherently negative aspects of adversity, it was evident from the swimmers’ interpretations that they also perceived positive consequences of their experiences. Analysis revealed that some of these positive outcomes were indicative of illusory aspects of growth, and other positive outcomes were more indicative of constructive aspects of growth. It appears that earlier phases of the growth process were characterized by more illusory aspects of growth, whereas when the temporal proximity from the adversity increased, more constructive aspects of growth were apparent.
Ross Wadey, Kylie Roy-Davis, Lynne Evans, Karen Howells, Jade Salim and Ceri Diss
Despite recent conceptual, methodological, and theoretical advancements in sport-injury-related growth (SIRG), there is no research on sport psychology consultants’ (SPCs) experiential knowledge of working with injured athletes to facilitate SIRG. Toward this end, this study examined SPCs’ perspectives on facilitating SIRG to provide an evidence base for professional practice. Participants (4 female, 6 male; mean 19 years’ applied experience) were purposefully sampled and interviewed. Transcripts were thematically analyzed. Methodological rigor and generalizability were maximized through self-reflexivity and eliciting external reflections. Five themes were identified: Hear the Story, Contextualize the Story, Reconstruct the Story, Live the Story, and Share the Story. Findings offer practitioners a novel approach to working with injured athletes. Rather than focusing on returning to preinjury level of functioning, the findings illustrate how SPCs can work with injured athletes to help transform injury into an opportunity to bring about positive change.