This case study focused on pressure, stereotype threat, choking, and the coping experiences of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team during the period from 2004-2011 leading into their success at the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC). Employing a narrative approach this case study examined public expectation, pressure, and coach-led coping strategies designed to “avoid the choke” by the All Blacks team. An in-depth interview was completed with one of the All Blacks’ coaches and analyzed via collaborative thematic analysis (Riessman, 2008). In addition multiple secondary data sources (e.g., coach & player autobiographies; media interviews) were analyzed via holistic-content analysis (Lieblich et al., 1998). Collectively these analyses revealed five key themes: public expectation and pressure, learning from 2007 RWC, coping with RWC pressure, decision-making under pressure, and avoiding the choke. Practical recommendations are offered for team sport coaches with respect to coping with pressure and avoiding choking.
Public Expectation, Pressure, and Avoiding the Choke: A Case Study from Elite Sport
Ken Hodge and Wayne Smith
Prosocial and Antisocial Behavior in Sport: The Role of Coaching Style, Autonomous vs. Controlled Motivation, and Moral Disengagement
Ken Hodge and Chris Lonsdale
The purpose of this study was to examine whether the relationships between contextual factors (i.e., autonomy-supportive vs. controlling coaching style) and person factors (i.e., autonomous vs. controlled motivation) outlined in self-determination theory (SDT) were related to prosocial and antisocial behaviors in sport. We also investigated moral disengagement as a mediator of these relationships. Athletes’ (n = 292, M = 19.53 years) responses largely supported our SDT-derived hypotheses. Results indicated that an autonomy-supportive coaching style was associated with prosocial behavior toward teammates; this relationship was mediated by autonomous motivation. Controlled motivation was associated with antisocial behavior toward teammates and antisocial behavior toward opponents, and these two relationships were mediated by moral disengagement. The results provide support for research investigating the effect of autonomy-supportive coaching interventions on athletes’ prosocial and antisocial behavior.
Goal Profiles in Sport Motivation: A Cluster Analysis
Ken Hodge and Linda Petlichkoff
This investigation compared cluster analysis with the mean-split procedure for examining goal-orientation profiles and examined whether the goal-profile groups revealed differences in athletes’ perceptions of their physical abilities. Rugby players (N = 257, mean age = 20.62 years, SD = 3.64) completed a questionnaire assessing goal orientation, perceived rugby ability and competence, and self-concept of physical ability. Unlike the mean-split procedure, in which scores are forced into high/high, high/low, low/high, or low/low groups, cluster analysis revealed groups that varied in low-, moderate-, and high-task and -ego goals. Moreover, no extreme group profiles (high-ego/high-task or low-ego/low-task) emerged when cluster analysis was used. Multivariate results from the cluster analysis revealed that Cluster 4 (low-ego/moderate-task) reported significantly lower levels of perceived rugby ability/competence than did Cluster 3 (high-ego/moderate-task), indicating that ego might be the determining orientation in adaptive or maladaptive goal profiles. The Cluster 3 goal-profile group (high-ego/moderate-task) scored highest on all 3 dependent measures related to perception of physical abilities.
A Case Study of Excellence in Elite Sport: Motivational Climate in a World Champion Team
Ken Hodge, Graham Henry, and Wayne Smith
This case study focused on the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team during the period from 2004 to 2011, when Graham Henry (head coach) and Wayne Smith (assistant coach) coached and managed the team. More specifically, this case study examined the motivational climate created by this coaching group that culminated in winning the Rugby World Cup in 2011. In-depth interviews were completed with Henry and Smith in March 2012. A collaborative thematic content analysis revealed eight themes, regarding motivational issues and the motivational climate for the 2004–2011 All Blacks team: (i) critical turning point, (ii) flexible and evolving, (iii) dual-management model, (iv) “Better People Make Better All Blacks,” (v) responsibility, (vi) leadership, (vii) expectation of excellence, and (viii) team cohesion. These findings are discussed in light of autonomy-supportive coaching, emotionally intelligent coaching, and transformational leadership. Finally, practical recommendations are offered for coaches of elite sports teams.
Antisocial and Prosocial Behavior in Sport: The Role of Motivational Climate, Basic Psychological Needs, and Moral Disengagement
Ken Hodge and Daniel F. Gucciardi
The purpose of this investigation was to examine whether the relationships between contextual factors and basic psychological needs were related to antisocial and prosocial behavior in sport. A two-study project employing Bayesian path analysis was conducted with competitive athletes (Study 1, n = 291; Study 2, n = 272). Coach and teammate autonomy-supportive climates had meaningful direct relations with need satisfaction and prosocial behavior. Coach and teammate controlling climates had meaningful direct relations with antisocial behavior. Need satisfaction was both directly and indirectly related with both prosocial and antisocial behavior, whereas moral disengagement was directly and indirectly related with antisocial behavior. Overall, these findings reflected substantial evidence from the literature on self-determination theory that autonomy-supportive motivational climates are important environmental influences for need satisfaction, and are important correlates of prosocial behavior in sport, whereas controlling coach and teammate climates, along with moral disengagement, were important correlates of antisocial behavior in sport.
Effective Sport Psychology Consulting Relationships: Two Coach Case Studies
Lee-Ann Sharp and Ken Hodge
The purpose of this study was to investigate the components necessary for the development of an effective applied sport psychology consulting relationship between a sport psychology consultant (SPC) and a coach. To address this purpose, two SPC-Coach consulting relationship case studies will be presented. Following purposeful sampling methods, members of two SPC-Coach consulting relationships (2 SPCs and 2 elite coaches) participated in individual interviews to discuss their perceptions of effective consulting relationships. Inductive \content analysis was conducted to search for common themes both within and across the two case studies (Weber, 1990). Three categories emerged with shared similarities between both case study relationships as important to the development of effective consulting relationships between SPCs and coaches; (a) SPC knowledge; (b) trust; and (c) friendship. In addition, two categories individual to each of the case study consulting relationships emerged; (d) SPC fitting in with team culture; and (e) flexibility.
A Survey of Coaches and Athletes about Sport Psychology in New Zealand
Jane Sullivan and Ken P. Hodge
This investigation examined the current use and status of sport psychology in New Zealand. National coaches (n=46) and elite athletes (n=68) completed appropriate questionnaires that assessed their perceptions of sport psychology. They also indicated the importance of and the success they felt they had in changing and/or developing 21 psychological skills. Finally they were asked about their actual use of sport psychology and any problem areas. A general definition of sport psychology was given and sport psychology was rated by both coaches and athletes as being very important. Most coaches and athletes reported using it regularly. A positive response was received, with virtually all coaches and most athletes indicating they would be interested in having a sport psychologist work with them. Implications of the results are discussed and future research and practical recommendations are made.
The Role of Psychological Flexibility in Physical Activity Maintenance
Matthew Jenkins, Elaine A. Hargreaves, and Ken Hodge
The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of the constituent processes of psychological flexibility (contact with the present moment, acceptance, cognitive defusion, self-as-context, value clarification, and committed action) in supporting physical activity (PA) maintenance. A total of 9 physically active participants were interviewed using the Scanlan collaborative interview method. Participants were asked to discuss their strategies for maintaining PA, before being asked whether the 6 psychological flexibility processes played a role in their PA behavior. Data were analyzed using a combination of deductive and inductive thematic analyses. Acceptance, cognitive defusion, value clarification, and committed action played a role in participants’ experiences of maintaining PA. Contact with the present moment and self-as-context were reported to be relatively unimportant to participants’ PA maintenance. Cultivating acceptance of PA-related discomfort, defusion from unhelpful thoughts, clarifying the value of PA, and encouraging commitment to PA would likely benefit individuals’ efforts to maintain PA.
Psychological Foundations of Coaching: Similarities and Differences among Intercollegiate Wrestling Coaches
Daniel Gould, Ken Hodge, Kirsten Peterson, and Linda Petlichkoff
This study was designed to assess the psychological principles used by coaches and to determine if various categories of coaches differed in the psychological skills and strategies they employed. Intercollegiate wrestling coaches (N=101) completed an extensive survey that assessed their opinions concerning the importance of, use of, frequency of problems arising with, and degree of success they feel they have had in changing or developing 21 psychological skills. Descriptive statistics revealed that the psychological attributes of mental toughness, positive attitude, individual motivation, and attention-concentration were judged to be most important for success in wrestling. Anxiety-stress control, attention-concentration, lack of confidence, and mental toughness were reported as the areas in which wrestlers most frequently experienced problems. The coaches indicated that the strategies most easily developed with their athletes were goal setting, team cohesion, and mental practice-imagery. Finally, the coaches felt they were most successful in enhancing team cohesion and communication, and developing sportsmanship and goal setting. Discriminant function analyses revealed that coaches who had attended USA wrestling sport science certification clinics significantly differed on several psychological principles from coaches who had not attended clinics. Coaching education implications of the results are discussed, and future research recommendations are forwarded.
Ultimately It Comes Down to the Relationship: Experienced Consultants’ Views of Effective Sport Psychology Consulting
Lee-Ann Sharp, Ken Hodge, and Steve Danish
The purpose of this investigation was to; (a) examine what experienced SPCs perceived to be the necessary components of the sport psychology consulting relationship, and (b) examine individual contributions of the SPC and client to the consulting relationship. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit 10 experienced SPCs (8 male and 2 female, M age = 50.44 years, M years consulting experience = 21.67 years) who held current sport psychology accreditation/certification and who had considerable consulting experience. Following individual interviews, extensive content analysis revealed that the sport psychology consulting relationship was reflective of (a) rapport, (b) respect, (c) trust, (d) a partnership, and (e) a positive impact on the client. Members of the consulting relationship made individual contributions to the relationship; SPCs contributed; (a) honesty, (b) commitment, (c) knowledge and expertise, (d) counseling skills, and (e) professional ethical behavior. With clients contributing; (a) openness to change, (b) honesty, and (c) willingness to work.