In this paper we discuss some of the factors sport psychologists should consider before administering questionnaires or other formal assessment instruments to athletes. To be used effectively, assessment instruments need to be (a) reliable and valid for the individual athlete or sport group in question, (b) seen as useful by the athlete(s) completing the instrument, and be (c) completed honestly by the athlete(s). Additional objectives sport psychologists should strive to achieve include a clear identification of the purpose of the assessment instrument, the commitment of athlete and coach to the assessment process, and the maintenance of a clear channel of communication with coaches and athletes throughout the period of psychological assessment, training, feedback, evaluation, and adjustment.
Jürgen Beckmann and Michael Kellmann
Sebastian Altfeld, Clifford J. Mallett, and Michael Kellmann
The development of burnout in the vocation of sports coaching is a process that can take months or even years. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of longitudinal examination of coaches’ burnout, stress, and recovery. The present study investigated burnout, stress, and recovery of full and part-time coaches to examine possible changes during the course of the season. Twenty-five full-time and 45 part-time active German coaches of different sports and competition levels completed the German coaches’ version of the MBI and the RESTQ for Coaches at three time points. Inferential statistical analysis revealed significant changes of full-time coaches’ stress and recovery scores over the course of the season. Moreover, the work hours per week were significantly higher at the end of the season. Post hoc analysis revealed that full-time coaches whose values of perceived success decreased over the season showed increased emotional stress and decreased recovery values. Part-time coaches reported consistent stress experiences. Consequently, findings suggest that full-time coaches experienced increased emotional stress, invested more time, and had insufficient recovery during the season. Thus, the results highlighted the significant role of recovery for full-time coaches and were particularly important to enhance the understanding of coaches’ work.
Michael Kellmann, Dieter Altenburg, Werner Lormes, and Jürgen M. Steinacker
Training stress and adequate recovery have been identified as important factors to enhance performance in sports and to avoid overtraining. Research dealing with training monitoring and overtraining is mostly based on the Profile of Mood Stales (POMS). Recently, Kellmann and Kallus (2000, 2001) published the Recovery-Stress-Questionnaire for Athletes (RESTQ-Sport), which assesses training effects from the perspective of stress and recovery. During a six-week training camp before and at the World Championships, 24 female and 30 male rowers of the German Junior National Rowing Team completed the RESTQ-Sport and the POMS six times. Results of selected MANOVA’s revealed significant increases of stress and decreases of recovery when training load expands, and vice versa. Changes in mood, creatine kinase, and ergometer performance reflect the alteration and success of training. These results suggest that the RESTQ-Sport is a potential alternative to the POMS in evaluating the impact of various training schedules.
Sebastian Altfeld, Paul Schaffran, Jens Kleinert, and Michael Kellmann
Paid coaches have to regularly deal with a range of potential stressors in the workplace. These stressors may include emotional and physical demands caused by the complex nature of coaching work. Many coaches have developed useful strategies to cope with these demands. Nevertheless, unexpected changes within the dynamic environment in which they typically operate (e.g., injury, public scrutiny, social media), problems with members of the board or management, continuous negative performance results, or personal factors may challenge the adequacy of coaches’ coping mechanisms. This inability to cope with these stresses can lead to a state of chronic stress. If that state manifests permanently, it can result in a state of emotional exhaustion, ultimately leading to coach burnout. The aim of this article is to define the burnout phenomenon and to provide a clear description of the triggering factors. Furthermore, ideas are presented to guide how coaches can protect themselves and how officials (club or association management) can reduce coaches’ burnout.
Oliver Faude, Anke Steffen, Michael Kellmann, and Tim Meyer
To analyze performance and fatigue effects of small-sided games (SSG) vs high-intensity interval training (HIIT) performed during a 4-wk in-season period in high-level youth football.
Nineteen players from 4 youth teams (16.5 [SD 0.8] y, 1.79 [0.06] m, 70.7 [5.6] kg) of the 2 highest German divisions completed the study. Teams were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 training sequences (2 endurance sessions per wk): One training group started with SSG, whereas the other group conducted HIIT during the first half of the competitive season. After the winter break, training programs were changed between groups. Before and after the training periods the following tests were completed: the Recovery-Stress Questionnaire for Athletes, creatine kinase and urea concentrations, vertical-jump height (countermovement jump [CMJ], drop jump), straight sprint, agility, and an incremental field test to determine individual anaerobic threshold (IAT).
Significant time effects were observed for IAT (+1.3%, ηp 2 = .31), peak heart rate (–1.8%, ηp 2 = .45), and CMJ (–2.3%, ηp 2 = .27), with no significant interaction between groups (P > .30). Players with low baseline IAT values (+4.3%) showed greater improvements than those with high initial values (±0.0%). A significant decrease was found for total recovery (–5.0%, ηp 2 = .29), and an increase was found for urea concentration (+9.2%, ηp 2 = .44).
Four weeks of in-season endurance training can lead to relevant improvements in endurance capacity. The decreases in CMJ height and total-recovery score together with the increase in urea concentration might be interpreted as early signs of fatigue. Thus, the danger of overtaxing players should be considered.
Scott B. Martin, Michael Kellmann, David Lavallee, and Stephen J. Page
Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to develop a revised form of the Attitudes Toward Seeking Sport Psychology Consultation Questionnaire (ATSSPCQ; Martin, Wrisberg, Beitel, & Lounsbury, 1997). The 50-item ATSSPCQ was administered to 533 athletes (M = 18.03 ± 2.71). Exploratory alpha factor analysis with varimax rotation produced four factors: (a) stigma tolerance, (b) confidence in sport psychology consultation, (c) personal openness, and (d) cultural preference. The new questionnaire, the Sport Psychology Attitudes - Revised form (SPA-R), was then administered to 379 United States, 234 United Kingdom, and 443 German athletes (M = 20.37 ± 5.13). Confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated the factorial validity of the four-factor model for the SPA-R for male and female athletes, late adolescent
Katharina Geukes, Christopher Mesagno, Stephanie J. Hanrahan, and Michael Kellmann
Trait activation theorists suggest that situational demands activate traits in (pressure) situations. In a comparison of situational demands of private (monetary incentive, cover story), mixed (monetary incentive, small audience), and public (large audience, video taping) high-pressure situations, we hypothesized that situational demands of private and mixed high-pressure conditions would activate self-focus traits and those of a public high-pressure condition would activate self-presentation traits. Female handball players (N = 120) completed personality questionnaires and then performed a throwing task in a low-pressure condition and one of three high-pressure conditions (n = 40). Increased anxiety levels from low to high pressure indicated successful pressure manipulations. A self-focus trait negatively predicted performance in private and mixed high-pressure conditions, and self-presentation traits positively predicted performance in the public high-pressure condition. Thus, pressure situations differed in their trait-activating situational demands. Experimental research investigating the trait–performance relationship should therefore use simulations of real competitions over laboratory-based scenarios.
Maximilian Pelka, Alexander Ferrauti, Tim Meyer, Mark Pfeiffer, and Michael Kellmann
A recovery process with optimal prerequisites that is interrupted is termed disrupted recovery. Whether this process has an influence on performance-related factors needs to be investigated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine how a short disturbance of a recovery phase is assessed and whether subsequent repeated-sprint performance is affected by it. A quasi-experimental 2 × 2-factor crossover design with 34 sport-science undergraduate students (age 20.3 ± 2.1 y) was applied. Factors were the type of intervention (power nap vs systematic breathing; between-subjects) and the experimental condition (disturbed vs nondisturbed break; within-subject). Repeated-sprint performance was measured through 6 × 4-s sprint protocols (with 20-s breaks) before and after a 25-min recovery break on 2 test days. Subjective evaluation of the interventions was measured through the Short Recovery and Stress Scale and a manipulation check assessing whether participants experienced the recovery phase as efficacious and pleasant. Regarding the objective data, no significant difference between sprint performances in terms of average peak velocity (m/s) on the treadmill was found. The manipulation check revealed that disturbed conditions were rated significantly lower than regular conditions in terms of appreciation, t 31 = 3.09, P = .01. Short disturbances of recovery do not seem to affect subsequent performance; nevertheless, participants assessed disturbed conditions more negatively than regular conditions. In essence, the findings indicate a negligible role of short interruptions on an objective level. Subjectively, they affected the performance-related assessment of the participants and should be treated with caution.
Jahan Heidari, Jürgen Beckmann, Maurizio Bertollo, Michel Brink, K. Wolfgang Kallus, Claudio Robazza, and Michael Kellmann
Monitoring recovery in the context of athletic performance has gained significant importance during recent years. As a systematic process of data collection and evaluation, the monitoring of recovery can be implemented for various purposes. It may help prevent negative outcomes of training or competition, such as underrecovery, overtraining, or injuries. Furthermore, it aims to establish routines and strategies necessary to guarantee athletes’ readiness for performance by restoring their depleted resources. Comprehensive monitoring of recovery ideally encompasses a multidimensional approach, thereby considering biological, psychological, and social monitoring methods. From a biological perspective, physiological (eg, cardiac parameters), biochemical (eg, creatine kinase), hormonal (eg, salivary cortisol), and immunological (eg, immunoglobulin A) markers can be taken into account to operationalize training loads and recovery needs. Psychological approaches suggest the application of validated and reliable psychometric questionnaires (eg, Recovery–Stress Questionnaire for Athletes) to measure a subjective perception of recovery, as well as the subjective degree of training- or competition-induced fatigue. Social aspects also play a role in performance monitoring and may hence provide essential performance-related information. The implementation of a monitoring routine in athletic environments represents a continuous process that functions as an effective addition to training and depends on a range of conditions (eg, organizational regulations, commitment of athletes). Current research in the field of monitoring aims to establish individualized monitoring regimens that refer to intraindividual reference values with the help of innovative technological devices.
Sabrina Skorski, Jan Schimpchen, Mark Pfeiffer, Alexander Ferrauti, Michael Kellmann, and Tim Meyer
Purpose: Despite indications of positive effects of sauna (SAU) interventions, effects on performance recovery are unknown. The aim of the current study was to investigate acute effects of SAU bathing after an intensive training session on recovery of swim performance. Methods: In total, 20 competitive swimmers and triathletes (3 female and 17 male) with a minimum of 2 y of competition experience (national level or higher) participated in the study. Athletes completed an intensive training session followed by either a SAU bathing intervention or a placebo (PLAC) condition in a randomized order. SAU consisted of 3 × 8 min of SAU bathing at 80–85°C, whereas during PLAC, athletes applied a deidentified, pH-balanced massage oil while passively resting in a seated position. Prior to training, swimmers conducted a 4 × 50-m all-out swim test that was repeated on the following morning. Furthermore, subjective ratings of fatigue and recovery were measured. Results: Swimmers performed significantly worse after SAU (4 × 50-m pre–post difference: +1.69 s) than after PLAC (−0.66 s; P = .02), with the most pronounced decrease in the first 50 m (P = .04; +2.7%). Overall performance of 15 athletes deteriorated (+2.6 s). The subjective feeling of stress was significantly higher after SAU than after PLAC (P = .03). Conclusion: Based on published findings, the smallest substantial change in swimming performance is an increase in time of more than 1.2 s; thus, the observed reductions appear relevant for competitive swimmers. According to the current results, coaches and athletes should be careful with postexercise SAU if high-intensity training and/or competitions are scheduled on the following day.