In elite sport, research has highlighted the significant incidence of athletes experiencing mental ill health. The aim of the present study was to make sense of stories that elite athletes tell about experiencing mental ill health through sampling the autobiographies of four male, elite cricketers. In each book, the player spoke in detail about mental ill health and how this impacted on their international career. Horizontal and vertical analyses of the data resulted in six progressive themes being identified, from Early Warning Signs, Fluctuations of Mental Health, Build-up to the Severe Incident, the Severe Incident, the Recovery Process, to Relapsing. The findings are considered in line with how they might be used to meet the call to develop mental health literacy, in aiming to help coaches and other psychology support staff understand more about the process of athletes who experience mental ill health across their career.
Matthew J Smith and Oliver R. Runswick
Christoph Szedlak, Jo Batey, Matthew J. Smith, and Matthew Church
This study aimed to examine elite, experienced strength and conditioning (S&C) coaches’ reflections on the effectiveness of psychosocial behaviors in S&C coaching. In particular, this study aimed to explore which psychosocial behaviors are essential, the process of how these might influence coaching practice, and how the development of psychosocial behaviors should be encouraged. Eight elite, experienced S&C coaches were recruited and partook in a semistructured interview. Using a reflexive thematic analysis, six themes were identified: understanding athlete’s needs, communicating effectively, caring and connecting with the athlete, practicing what you preach, the importance of reflective practice, and the contribution of formal training. The findings of this study enhance the literature by highlighting that elite, experienced S&C coaches perceive psychosocial behaviors to be essential in effective S&C coaching practice. In particular, the findings describe the processes of how identified psychosocial behaviors might positively influence athlete development by enhancing motivation, buy-in, and autonomy. In addition, the authors’ results suggest that current S&C coach development programs are limited in facilitating the learning of psychosocial behaviors. Thus, their findings strengthen the call for S&C coach educators to utilize constructivist learning strategies including facilitated reflection to encourage the development of essential psychosocial behaviors that contribute to the holistic development of the athlete.
Christoph Szedlak, Matthew J. Smith, Bettina Callary, and Melissa C. Day
Research has shown that vignettes are useful in disseminating complex and applied information to practitioners with research mainly utilising written and audio vignettes to disseminate good practice. The current study examined the utility of a research-based vignette, presented in different formats (written, audio, video), to disseminate information to elite strength and conditioning (S&C) coaches. A single vignette was developed in three formats: a written, an audio, and a video vignette. The vignette involved an experienced S&C coach as the main character, and the plot outlined how this S&C coach aimed to learn more about effective coaching. Nineteen elite S&C coaches reflected on the utility of different vignette formats. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis. Overall, the results suggest that vignettes are useful in translating knowledge and encourage action, regardless of which format is used. Furthermore, the S&C coaches reported a preference for the video format, due to the video’s ability to communicate emotional, verbal and non-verbal behaviours. Practically, the vignette prompted the S&C coaches to reflect on areas such as coaching philosophy and values resulting in initial changes in their coaching practice.
Christoph Szedlak, Matthew J. Smith, Bettina Callary, and Melissa C. Day
The purpose of this study was to identify narrative types that illuminate how strength and conditioning (S&C) coaches used video vignettes in a guided reflection process to support the development of effective coaching practices. At the beginning of each week, over a 4-week period, 11 elite S&C coaches were sent a short video vignette clip of an S&C coach’s practice. They subsequently engaged in daily reflections in which they were guided to explore how the topic of the vignette aligned (or not) with their coaching practice. After the intervention, each S&C coach was interviewed regarding their process of learning from the vignette and from their reflections. Using a holistic narrative analysis of form and structure, the results exemplified three narrative types: performance, achievement, and helper. The S&C coaches whose reflections fitted the performance narrative type focused on their own practice, with limited consideration of the athletes’ perspective or the vignette. The S&C coaches whose reflections fitted the achievement narrative type strove to accomplish goals with their athletes and were selective in considering the vignette. The S&C coaches whose reflections fit the helper narrative type found that the vignette helped them consider an athlete-centered coaching approach focusing on the athletes’ well-being, as well as athletic abilities. Thus, S&C coach developers should utilize a guided reflection process that focuses on encouraging a coaching approach based on the helper narrative type.
Thomas W. Buford, Douglas B. Smith, Matthew S. O’Brien, Aric J. Warren, and Stephen J. Rossi
The purpose of the present investigation was to examine the physiological response of collegiate wrestlers to their competitive season.
Eleven Division I collegiate wrestlers (mean ± SD; 19.45 ± 1.13 y) volunteered and completed 4 testing sessions throughout the course of the collegiate wrestling season. Testing sessions were conducted pre-, mid-, and postseason, as well as before the national tournament. Testing consisted of weigh-in, skinfold body composition testing, and a 50-rep concentric, isokinetic leg extension muscle endurance test (180°/s). Muscular performance variables measured included peak torque, peak torque at fatigue, percent decline, and peak torque/body mass ratio.
A significant increase (P < .05) of 2.9% was observed for body mass between midseason and postseason (2.38 kg). From pre- to postseason, a mean increase of 3.8% (3.1 kg) was observed for body mass. An increase (P < .05) in BF% of 2.9% was observed between prenationals and postseason. No significant differences (P > .05) were observed between consecutive time points for quadriceps peak torque; however, there was a significant increase (P < .05) between preseason and prenationals (23.39 N·m). Peak torque at fatigue was greater (P < .05) at midseason than preseason, representing an increase of 9.82 N·m. Between midseason and prenationals testing, we observed an 11% increase (P < .05) in %DCLN. Finally, we noted an increase (P < .05) from 0.6 to 0.69 in peak torque/body mass ratio between preseason and prenationals.
Our results indicate that while force values seem to suffer at midseason, the wrestlers compensated and were strongest just before their national competition.
Andrew J. Manley, Iain Greenlees, Jan Graydon, Richard Thelwell, William C.D. Filby, and Matthew J. Smith
The study aimed to identify the sources of information that athletes perceive as influential during their initial evaluation of coaching ability. University athletes (N = 538) were asked to indicate the influence of 31 informational cues (e.g., gender, body language or gestures, reputation) on the initial impression formed of a coach. Following exploratory factor analysis, a 3-factor model (i.e., static cues, dynamic cues, and third-party reports) was extracted. Mean scores revealed that although static cues (e.g., gender, race or ethnicity) were rated as relatively unimportant during impression formation, dynamic cues (e.g., facial expressions, body language or gestures) and third-party reports (e.g., coaching qualifications, reputation) were viewed by athletes as influential factors in the formation of expectancies about coaches. Such findings have implications for the occurrence of expectancy effects in coach-athlete relationships and the way in which coaches seek to present themselves.
Ben M. Krings, Timothy J. Peterson, Brandon D. Shepherd, Matthew J. McAllister, and JohnEric W. Smith
The purpose of this investigation was to examine to the influence of carbohydrate ingestion (CHOI) and carbohydrate mouth rinse (CHOR) on acute repeat maximal sprint performance. Fourteen healthy males (age: 21.7 ± 1.8 years, mass: 82.3 ± 12.3 kg) completed a total of five 15-s maximal repeat sprints on a cycle ergometer against 0.075 kg ・ kg-1 body mass each separated by 4 min of active recovery. Subjects completed four experimental trials and were randomly assigned one of four treatments: (1) CHOI, (2) CHOR, (3) placebo mouth rinse (PLAR), (4) placebo ingestion (PLAI). Subjects rinsed or ingested six 50 mL 10% CHO solutions throughout each trial. Performance variables measured included rating of perceived exertion, peak heart rate, peak and mean power output, fatigue index, and total work. Significant treatment main effects were observed for mean power output (p = 0.026), total work (p = 0.020), fatigue index (p = 0.004), and heart rate (p = 0.013). Overall mean power output and total work were significantly greater with CHOI (659.3 ± 103.0 watts, 9849.8 ± 1598.8 joules) compared with CHOR (645.8 ± 99.7 watts, 9447.5 ± 1684.9 joules, p < .05). CHOI (15.3 ± 8.6 watts/s) significantly attenuated fatigue index compared with CHOR (17.7 ± 10.4 watts/s, p < .05). Based on our findings, CHOI was more likely to provide a beneficial performance effect compared with CHOR, PLAI, and PLAR. Athletes required to complete repeat bouts of high intensity exercise may benefit from CHOI.
Matthew J. Smith, David J. Young, Sean G. Figgins, and Calum A. Arthur
We examined transformational leadership behaviors are exhibited in an elite sport environment. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 9 professional county cricket players to explore perceptions of transformational leadership behaviors of their captain and head-coach. Behaviors were firstly deductively categorized based on the Differentiated Transformational Leadership Inventory, with the most frequently cited being high performance expectations and individual consideration from the coach, and appropriate role-modeling of the captain. Further inductive analyses revealed a range of other factors which may influence players’ perceptions of transformational leadership. From these findings, suggestions are offered for those working in an applied context with sporting leaders.
Ben M. Krings, Brandon D. Shepherd, Hunter S. Waldman, Matthew J. McAllister, and JohnEric W. Smith
Carbohydrate mouth rinsing has been shown to enhance aerobic exercise performance, but there is limited research with resistance exercise (RE). Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to examine the effects of carbohydrate mouth rinsing during a high-volume upper body RE protocol on performance, heart rate responses, ratings of perceived exertion, and felt arousal. Recreationally experienced resistance-trained males (N = 17, age: 21 ± 1 years, height: 177.3 ± 5.2 cm, mass: 83.5 ± 9.3 kg) completed three experimental sessions, with the first serving as familiarization to the RE protocol. During the final two trials, the participants rinsed a 25-ml solution containing either a 6% carbohydrate solution or an artificially flavored placebo in a randomized, counterbalanced, and double-blinded fashion. The participants rinsed a total of nine times immediately before beginning the protocol and 20 s before repetitions to failure with the exercises bench press, bent-over row, incline bench press, close-grip row, hammer curls, skull crushers (all completed at 70% one-repetition maximum), push-ups, and pull-ups. Heart rate, ratings of perceived exertion, and felt arousal were measured at the baseline and immediately after each set of repetitions to failure. There were no differences for the total repetitions completed (carbohydrate = 203 ± 25 repetitions vs. placebo = 201 ± 23 repetitions, p = .46, Cohen’s d = 0.10). No treatment differences were observed for heart rate, ratings of perceived exertion, or felt arousal (p > .05). Although carbohydrate mouth rinsing has been shown to be effective in increasing aerobic performance, the results from this investigation show no benefit in RE performance in resistance-trained males.
Richard F. Jowers, Jamie J. Brunsdon, Jacob T. Peterson, Hayden L. Mitchell, and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith
Purpose: To examine the influence of occupational socialization on the beliefs and actions of six sport pedagogy doctoral students (DSs) in terms of physical education (PE) teaching and physical education teacher education (PETE). Method: Data were collected with five qualitative techniques and analyzed by employing analytic induction and constant comparison. Results: DSs had conservative or liberal views about PE and endorsed hybrid forms of PETE, which included elements of the behavioristic, traditional/craft, and critical inquiry orientations. Patterns of socialization that shaped these beliefs and actions were both congruent and contrasting with those described in past research. Conclusions: The study highlights the importance of asking potential DSs about their beliefs and the forces that shaped those beliefs during recruitment. In addition, it indicates that the potency of doctoral education can be enhanced when it has a dual focus on PETE and research and when DSs experience it within a cohort.