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Mark H. Anshel

The primary purpose of this article is to provide a rationale against the certification of sport psychologists. The paper centers on two main issues. First, certification in sport psychology is overly exclusive and does not recognize the unique contributions that individuals with related skills can offer the profession. Instead, the field should develop a consensus about the competencies of its practitioners, researchers, and educators. Second, professionals in sport psychology must rethink this preoccupation of using the clinical psychology model to gain respect and certification. Unless a person is a registered psychologist, he or she cannot engage in clinical practice with athletes or anyone else. Rather than the preoccupation with clinical practice, the field of sport psychology would better serve the public by continuing to scientifically validate its cognitive and behavioral techniques, recognizing the necessary role of clinical psychologists, and educating the public about the required skills of sport psychologists.

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Mark H. Anshel

Drug abuse in competitive sport continues to be pervasive. Numerous explanations have been given for this and the reasons range from performance enhancement (anabolic steroids) to relieving stress and boredom (so-called recreational drugs). Drug testing, strict policies and enforcement, and educational programs have continued to be the main responses to the problem. However, relatively little attention has been given to preventive rather than punitive and curative strategies, particularly with respect to the coach’s input. This article offers several cognitive and behavioral approaches for coaches and sport psychology consultants in dealing with drug abuse among athletes. The recommendations are based on personal interactions with hundreds of intercollegiate athletes conducted over a 6-year period and from the extant professional literature.

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Mark H. Anshel

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Mark H. Anshel

The purpose of this article is to describe the construction (Phase 1) and external validation (Phase 2) of a behaviorally anchored rating scale (BARS) for identifying and measuring competencies for basketball referees (BARS-BR). In Phase 1, BARS-BR was developed by deriving a consensus of two panels of individuals (N = 20), with varying degrees of knowledge and experience in basketball officiating, about the proper competencies of basketball referees. The panels generated 13 performance categories (or competencies), each including at least three behavioral examples (or “anchors”). Phase 2 consisted of two stages: (a) obtaining external validity of BARS-BR by 212 practicing skilled basketball referees by indicating their support for the performance categories and behavioral examples, and (b) assessing performance effectiveness of high-skilled and novice referees on each of the 13 BARS performance competencies. The results lent support to the validation of the BARS-BR for assessing competence in basketball officiating. Implications for using the BARS technique in sports psychology are discussed.

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Mark H. Anshel

The purpose of this exploratory study was to ascertain the feelings of black male intercollegiate (Division I) football athletes about racial issues of personal concern as a sport participant. Twenty-six black football players volunteered to participate in the study. Through a structured interview technique, areas that were investigated included the players’ interaction with the (white) head coach, unique behavioral styles and needs of black versus white athletes, the extent to which these needs were recognized and met, and the effect of their sport environment on skilled performance. The subjects reported a general lack of sensitivity on the part of coaches to individual and sociocultural needs of black players. In particular, receiving negative feedback, a paucity of communication in general, and the lack of honesty and trust were the areas about which the subjects felt most strongly. Blacks unequivocally perceived a sense of unfairness, racism, and a general lack of psychological support by white coaches. Implications are given for providing sport psychology counseling to black athletes, especially by white consultants.

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Mark H. Anshel

This article proposes a new approach to health behavior change, the disconnected values (intervention) model (DVM). The DVM consists of predetermined cognitive-behavioral strategies for initiating and maintaining changes in health behavior, such as the implementation of an exercise program. The model consists of helping clients (a) examine the benefits, in contrast to the costs and long-term consequences, of the habit they most want to change; (b) identify their deepest values and beliefs (e.g., health, family, faith, integrity); (c) detect a “disconnect” between the negative habit and the identified values; and (d) conclude whether the disconnect is acceptable, given its costs and long-term consequences. The client’s conclusion that the disconnect is unacceptable creates incentive and commitment for health behavior change. The theoretical foundations of the DVM are explained, and its specific application for exercise behavior change is described. Three outcome studies also are reported, as well as a brief case study. Implications for practitioners and suggestions for future research are provided.

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Mark H. Anshel