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Leigh Jones, Lynne Evans and Richard Mullen

This is a follow-up article to an action research study that explored the effects of an imagery intervention on an elite rugby union player conducted over a 14-week period during the competitive season (Evans, Jones, & Mullen, 2004). A key feature of the study was that the same individual fulfilled multiple roles, specifically those of trainee sport psychologist, coach, and researcher. The aim of this article is to explore, from a trainee sport psychologist’s perspective, some of the issues that resulted from fulfilling multiple roles, both in the context of the study and in professional practice generally. The issues that emerged were consistent with the dual-role literature and involved role conflict surrounding areas of responsibility, scientific evidence versus social validity, confidentiality versus public statement, and the interpersonal welfare of both athlete and coach-sport psychologist (Ellickson & Brown, 1990). The findings highlighted (a) the importance of establishing ground rules (and planning), (b) the intensified emotional demands placed on the multirole practitioner, (c) the importance of involving a critical friend or outside agent, and (d) the potential for role conflict and the threat to objectivity.

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Lynne Evans, Leigh Jones and Richard Mullen

The purpose of the present study was to explore the use of imagery by an elite rugby union football player and to examine the effects of an imagery intervention in a practical performance environment. The study took place over a 14-week period of the competitive season. Data collection comprised semi-structured interviews, diaries, and the Sport Imagery Questionnaire. The findings suggested that the participant primarily used cognitive specific and cognitive general imagery. Post-intervention, the participant reported greater clarity; detail; control over his anxiety, activation, and motivation levels; an improvement in his ability to generate confidence in his playing ability prior to games; and more structure to his imagery use. The study highlighted the importance of individualizing imagery interventions to meet the specific needs of different athletes.

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Andrew J.A. Hall, Leigh Jones and Russell J.J. Martindale

Currently, little work has evaluated the impact of interventions within talent development environments (TDEs). This study is the first of its kind to evaluate the efficacy of the Talent Development Environment Questionnaire (TDEQ) as a tool to help coaches and support staff gain feedback, structure interventions, and evaluate impact over a 12-month period of an international elite TDE. Sixteen full time professional male rugby union players, the Chief Rugby Operations Officer, General Manager of Rugby Performance, and the Head of the Elite Rugby Program participated in the research. The TDEQ baseline results identified 17 weaknesses and nine strengths. Subsequently, an evidence based intervention designed by a staff and player working group was implemented. After the 12-month intervention, there were five weaknesses and 18 strengths with seven targeted and five non-targeted TDEQ items showing statistically significant improvements. Implications for practioners and policy makers on the use of the TDEQ as a mechanism for evidence based impact on evaluation, intervention design, and monitoring in elite TDEs are discussed.

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Adam R. Nicholls, John L. Perry, Leigh Jones, Dave Morley and Fraser Carson

It is accepted among scholars that coping changes as people mature during adolescence, but little is known about the relationship between maturity and coping. The purpose of this paper was to assess a model, which included dispositional coping, coping effectiveness, and cognitive social maturity. We predicted that cognitive social maturity would have a direct effect on coping effectiveness, and also an indirect impact via dispositional coping. Two hundred forty-five adolescent athletes completed measures of dispositional coping, coping effectiveness, and cognitive social maturity, which has three dimensions: conscientiousness, peer influence on behavior, and rule following. Using structural equation modeling, we found support for our model, suggesting that coping is related to cognitive social maturity. This information can be used to influence the content of coping interventions for adolescents of different maturational levels.