This paper is a critical commentary on the article “Adaptation Processes Affecting Performance in Elite Sport” (Schinke, Battochio, Lidor, Tenenbaum, Dube, & Lane, 2012). We review relevant literature and highlight theoretical and conceptual concerns regarding Schinke et al.’s model, particularly regarding their characterization of adaptation as a process versus an outcome, and the role of appraisals, emotions, emotional regulation, coping, and Fiske’s (2004) core motives within their model of adaptation. Adaptation or adjustment among elite athletes is a valuable area of research in sport psychology; however, Schinke et al.’s model oversimplifies the adaptation process and has limited utility among sport psychology researchers and practitioners.
Katherine A. Tamminen and Peter R.E. Crocker
Zoë A. Poucher, Katherine A. Tamminen, and Gretchen Kerr
Support providers may experience positive and negative outcomes associated with supporting others. However, there is a lack of research on support provision to elite athletes and the views of athletes’ support providers. This study addressed this gap by exploring the experiences of providing and receiving support between female Olympians and their main support providers. Five female Olympians and their main support providers participated in separate semistructured interviews. It appeared that support provision was personally and professionally rewarding, as well as challenging, for support providers, and athletes were generally satisfied with the support they received. Athletes appeared highly dependent on their support providers, but both athletes and support providers felt that high levels of support were necessary for athletic success. Further research is needed to understand how support providers are able to foster their own personally supportive relationships and whether high levels of interpersonal dependence are required to achieve athletic success.
Zoë A. Poucher, Katherine A. Tamminen, and Christopher R.D. Wagstaff
Sport organizations have been noted as pivotal to the success or failure of athletes, and sport environments can impact the well-being and development of athletes. In this study, the authors explored stakeholders’ perceptions of how high-performance sport organizations support athlete development. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 18 stakeholders from the United Kingdom’s high-performance sport system and transcripts were analyzed using a semantic thematic analysis. Participants emphasized the importance of performance lifestyle advisors, sport psychologists, and financial assistance for promoting athlete development. Several stakeholders observed that despite the extensive support available to athletes, many do not engage with available support, and the prevalence of a performance narrative has led to an environment that discourages holistic development. It follows that sport organizations could develop alternative strategies for promoting athletes’ access to and engagement with available supports, while funding agencies might broaden existing funding criteria to include well-being or athlete development targets.
Katherine A. Tamminen, Kaleigh Ferdinand Pennock, and Courtney Braun
The ability of young athletes to effectively cope with stressors is crucial for sustained sport enjoyment and participation, and parents play a key role in providing coping support. However, there is limited evidence for coping interventions directed at both youth athletes and their parents. The purpose of this study was to implement a coping workshop for youth athletes and also engage parents to provide them with information to support the development of coping skills among young athletes. Athlete–parent dyads from a high-performance soccer academy were assigned to either a 4-wk coping intervention or a control group using a matched quasi-experimental design. Survey data were analyzed using 2-factor repeated-measures ANOVAs and multiple-regression analyses. Results indicated that lower parental pressure and greater coping self-efficacy predicted lower stress in youth athletes. However, findings for the intervention in reducing overall stress and perceptions of parental pressure were not significant. Future coping intervention studies should address study design considerations related to timing, intervention modalities, and skill level of youth athletes.
Jeemin Kim, Katherine A. Tamminen, Constance Harris, and Sara Sutherland
Athletes often upregulate and downregulate pleasant or unpleasant emotions to feel or perform better (i.e., for hedonic or instrumental reasons). In addition to athletes regulating their own emotions, interpersonal emotion regulation (IER) also occurs in sports, wherein individuals attempt to regulate the emotions of others. Although previous research has examined IER between teammates, studies have rarely considered coaches’ efforts to regulate athletes’ emotions. The current mixed-method study explored coaches’ beliefs about athletes’ emotions and engagement in IER. Analysis of quantitative survey data (N = 208) and qualitative interview data (n = 10) from competitive level coaches (M age = 44.0 ± 13.2 years) revealed that coaches perceived both benefits and detriments of various emotions, and coaches’ beliefs about emotions influenced the ways they attempted to regulate athletes’ emotions. Most coaches reported frequently engaging in affect-improving IER. Although the coaches generally opposed the idea of intentionally worsening athletes’ emotions, sometimes their feedback to athletes had the effect of worsening their emotions. Coaches also emphasized the need to consider athletes’ individual differences when engaging in IER. The current findings highlight the relevance of coaches’ IER, suggest several directions for future research, and offer useful considerations for coaches and coach education programs.
Nicholas L. Holt, Katherine A. Tamminen, Danielle E. Black, James L. Mandigo, and Kenneth R. Fox
The purpose of this study was to examine parenting styles and associated parenting practices in youth sport. Following a season-long period of fieldwork, primary data were collected via interviews with 56 parents and supplemented by interviews with 34 of their female children. Data analysis was guided by Grolnick's (2003) theory of parenting styles. Analyses produced five findings: (1) Autonomy-supportive parents provided appropriate structure for their children and allowed them to be involved in decision making. These parents were also able to read their children's mood and reported open bidirectional communication. (2) Controlling parents did not support their children's autonomy, were not sensitive to their children's mood, and tended to report more closed modes of communication. (3) In some families, there were inconsistencies between the styles employed by the mother and father. (4) Some parenting practices varied across different situations. (5) Children had some reciprocal influences on their parents' behaviors. These findings reveal information about the multiple social interactions associated with youth sport parenting.
Nicholas L. Holt, Danielle E. Black, Katherine A. Tamminen, Kenneth R. Fox, and James L. Mandigo
We assessed young adolescent female soccer players’ perceptions of their peer group experiences. Data were collected via interviews with 34 girls from two youth soccer teams (M age = 13.0 years). Following inductive discovery analysis, data were subjected to an interpretive theoretical analysis guided by a model of peer experiences (Rubin, Bukowski, & Parker, 2006). Five categories of peer experiences were identified across three levels of social complexity. At the interaction level players integrated new members into the team and learned to interact with different types of people. At the relationship level players learned about managing peer conflict. At the group level a structure of leadership emerged and players learned to work together. Findings demonstrated interfaces between peer interactions, relationships, and group processes while also simplifying some apparently complex systems that characterized peer experiences on the teams studied.
Katherine A. Tamminen, Patrick Gaudreau, Carolyn E. McEwen, and Peter R.E. Crocker
Efforts to regulate emotions can influence others, and interpersonal emotion regulation within teams may affect athletes’ own affective and motivational outcomes. We examined adolescent athletes’ (N = 451, N teams = 38) self- and interpersonal emotion regulation, as well as associations with peer climate, sport enjoyment, and sport commitment within a multilevel model of emotion regulation in teams. Results of multilevel Bayesian structural equation modeling showed that athletes’ self-worsening emotion regulation strategies were negatively associated with enjoyment while other-improving emotion regulation strategies were positively associated enjoyment and commitment. The team-level interpersonal emotion regulation climate and peer motivational climates were also associated with enjoyment and commitment. Team-level factors moderated some of the relationships between athletes’ emotion regulation with enjoyment and commitment. These findings extend previous research by examining interpersonal emotion regulation within teams using a multilevel approach, and they demonstrate the importance of person- and team-level factors for athletes’ enjoyment and commitment.
Krystn Orr, Katherine A. Tamminen, Shane N. Sweet, Jennifer R. Tomasone, and Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos
This study was guided by self-determination theory to explore the sport experiences of youth with a physical disability and the role of peers within this context. Interviews were conducted with eight youths using a relational mapping technique and analyzed using a deductive thematic approach. Sport peers were broadly defined by the youth as individuals from a large age range and of all abilities. Youth perceived their sport peers to have dynamic roles throughout their participation in sport. The perceived roles of these sport peers included supporting and thwarting basic psychological needs, and influencing the youths’ processing of sport internalization. Findings focus on the complexity of peer need-thwarting and need-supporting interactions in sport for youth with physical disabilities. Overall, peers have a multifaceted role in the sport experiences of youth identifying with a physical disability and may, in some cases, thwart youths’ basic psychological needs.
Krystn Orr, M. Blair Evans, Katherine A. Tamminen, and Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos
For individuals with an intellectual disability, emerging adulthood (18–25 years) may be a disruptive time with an abrupt ending to programming and services after adolescence. This study critically explores the social environment and experiences of individuals involved in a Special Olympics paddling program for emerging adult athletes with an intellectual disability. Using an instrumental case study design, multiple qualitative methods were implemented including photography, videography, observations, and interviews. The participants included four athletes (one female and three male; three with autism spectrum disorder, one with mild intellectual disability), three fathers, a coach, a program coordinator, and an administrator. Analyses were guided by interpretivism and the quality parasport participation framework. The findings highlight how the limited staff training and preparation, the complexity of providing such a program, and parental hidden labor in their adult children’s sport involvement influence the social environment. Implications for coaching practices include the importance of communication strategies and coach education.