The purpose of this study was to investigate coaching strategies to optimize team functioning in the context of high performance curling. Strategies were elicited from 10 male coaches, 12 women’s teams (N = 49 athletes) and seven men’s teams (N = 29 athletes) competing at an elite level. Over 150 strategies were identified as being essential for functioning effectively as a team and they pertained to the following seven components: (a) individual attributes (e.g., create a player contract), (b) team attributes (e.g., determine and adjust game strategy), (c) the foundational process of communication (e.g., script routines for communication), (d) structural team processes (e.g., determine acceptable behaviour/standards), (e) individual regulation processes (e.g., do self-assessments/check-ins), (f) team regulation processes (e.g., discuss leadership behaviours), and (g) the context (e.g., prepare for the opposition). Implications for coaching interventions are provided.
Jamie Collins and Natalie Durand-Bush
François Lemyre, Pierre Trudel, and Natalie Durand-Bush
Researchers have investigated how elite or expert coaches learn to coach, but very few have investigated this process with coaches at the recreational or developmental-performance levels. Thirty-six youth-sport coaches (ice hockey, soccer, and baseball) were each interviewed twice to document their learning situations. Results indicate that (a) formal programs are only one of the many opportunities to learn how to coach; (b) coaches’ prior experiences as players, assistant coaches, or instructors provide them with some sport-specific knowledge and allow them to initiate socialization within the subculture of their respective sports; (c) coaches rarely interact with rival coaches; and (d) there are differences in coaches’ learning situations between sports. Reflections on who could help coaches get the most out of their learning situations are provided.
Nicole Dubuc-Charbonneau and Natalie Durand-Bush
The purpose of this study was to implement and assess the impact of a person-centered, feel-based self-regulation intervention on the stress, burnout, well-being, and self-regulation capacity of eight university student-athletes experiencing burnout. This was warranted given the negative outcomes associated with athlete burnout, the scarcity of burnout research focusing on student-athletes, and the lack of intervention research addressing burnout in sport.
A mixed methods design including questionnaires administered at four time points during the athletic season, pre- and postintervention interviews, and multiple intervention sessions was used.
Repeated-measures ANOVAs revealed that stress and burnout levels significantly decreased, and well-being and self-regulation capacity levels significantly increased as the intervention progressed. The qualitative data supported these findings.
It appears that university student-athletes participating in this type of intervention can learn to effectively manage themselves and their environment to reduce adverse symptoms and improve optimal functioning.
Natalie Durand-Bush, John H. Salmela, and Isabelle Green-Demers
The purpose of the present study was to assess the psychometric properties of the Ottawa Mental Skills Assessment Tool (OMSAT-3), an instrument developed to measure a broad range of mental skills (Salmela, 1992). The OMSAT-3 was administered to 335 athletes from 35 different sports. An initial first-order confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) revealed that the model displayed an inadequate fit, which led to the postulation of a more robust version, the OMSAT-3*. A CFA on this latter version, which included 48 items and 12 mental skill scales grouped under three broader conceptual components—foundation, psychosomatic, and cognitive skills—indicated that the proposed model fit well the data. A second-order CFA assessing the validity of the three broader conceptual components also yielded adequate indices of fit. The OMSAT-3* significantly discriminated between competitive and elite level athletes and its scales yielded acceptable internal consistency and temporal stability. Implications for consultants, coaches, and researchers are discussed.
Gordon A. Bloom, Natalie Durand-Bush, and John H. Salmela
Little or no empirical research has examined the pre- and postcompetition routines of coaches. The purpose of this study was to address this oversight by conducting in-depth open-ended interviews with 21 expert coaches from four team sports. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and inductively analyzed following the procedures outlined by Côté and colleagues (1993, 1995). The results indicated that coaches had set routines for themselves and their players before and after a competition. Prior to the competition, coaches prepared and mentally rehearsed their game plan, engaged in physical activity to maintain a positive focus, held a team meeting, and occupied themselves during the warmup. Their words immediately before the game were used to stress key points. After the competition, coaches emphasized the importance of controlling their emotions and adopted different behaviors to appropriately deal with the team’s performance and outcome. A brief meeting was held to recapitulate the essential elements of the game and a detailed analysis was not presented until the next practice or meeting.
Kylie McNeill, Natalie Durand-Bush, and Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre
The purposes of this study were to (a) identify profiles of psychological functioning based on burnout and well-being indices within a sample of 250 Canadian developmental and high performance sport coaches, and (b) investigate whether coaches in these profiles differed in their capacity to self-regulate and their perceptions of stress. Using a two-stage cluster analysis, three profiles of psychological functioning were identified: (a) thriving (n = 135, characterized by relatively low burnout and relatively high well-being), (b) depleted (n = 36, characterized by relatively high burnout and relatively low well-being), and (c) at-risk (n = 79, characterized by relatively high burnout and moderate well-being). Follow-up analyses revealed that coaches within the thriving profile reported significantly higher self-regulation capacity and lower perceived stress than coaches in the at-risk and depleted profiles, while depleted coaches reported significantly higher perceived stress than at-risk coaches. Moreover, longer coaching hours and remuneration for one’s coaching also differentiated depleted from thriving coaches. Findings are discussed in light of the dual-continua model of mental health and practical recommendations are put forth to help coaches strengthen their capacity to self-regulate and manage their perceptions of stress to optimize psychological functioning.
Kylie McNeill, Natalie Durand-Bush, and Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre
While coaches are considered at risk of experiencing burnout, there is an absence of intervention studies addressing this syndrome. The purpose of this qualitative study was to conduct a self-regulation intervention with five Canadian developmental (n = 2) and elite (n = 3) sport coaches (three men, two women) experiencing moderate to high levels of burnout and examine the perceived impact of this intervention on their self-regulation capacity and experiences of burnout and well-being. The content analysis of the coaches’ outtake interviews and five bi-weekly journals revealed that all five of them learned to self-regulate more effectively by developing various competencies (e.g., strategic planning for their well-being, self-monitoring) and strategies (e.g., task delegation, facilitative self-talk). Four of the coaches also perceived improvements in their symptoms of burnout and well-being. Sport psychology interventions individualized for coaches are a promising means for helping them manage burnout and enhance their overall functioning.
Gro Jordalen, Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre, Natalie Durand-Bush, and Andreas Ivarsson
Mechanisms leading to cognitive energy depletion in performance settings such as high-level sports highlight likely associations between individuals’ self-control capacity and their motivation. Investigating the temporal ordering of these concepts combining self-determination theory and psychosocial self-control theories, the authors hypothesized that athletes’ self-control capacity would be more influenced by their motivation than vice versa and that autonomous and controlled types of motivation would predict self-control capacity positively and negatively, respectively. High-level winter-sport athletes from Norwegian elite sport colleges (N = 321; 16–20 years) consented to participate. Using Bayesian structural equation modeling and 3-wave analyses, findings revealed credible self-control → motivation → self-control cross-lagged effects. Athletes’ trait self-control especially initiated the temporal ordering of the least controlled types of motivation (i.e., intrinsic, integrated, and amotivation). Findings indicate that practicing self-control competencies and promoting athletes’ autonomous types of motivation are important components in the development toward the elite level. These components will help athletes maintain their persistent goal striving by increasing the value and inherent satisfaction of the development process, avoiding the debilitating effects of self-control depletion and exhaustion.
Andreas Kuettel, Natalie Durand-Bush, and Carsten H. Larsen
The purpose of this study was (a) to investigate gender differences in mental health among Danish youth soccer players, (b) to discover the mental health profiles of the players, and (c) to explore how career progression and mental health are related. A total of 239 Danish youth elite soccer players (M = 16.85, SD = 1.09) completed an online questionnaire assessing mental well-being, depression, anxiety, along with other background variables. Female players scored significantly lower on mental well-being and had four times higher odds of expressing symptoms of anxiety and depression than males. Athletes’ mental health profiles showed that most athletes experience low depression while having moderate mental well-being. Depression, anxiety, and stress scores generally increased when progressing in age, indicating that the junior–senior transition poses distinct challenges to players’ mental health, especially for female players. Different strategies to foster players’ mental health depending on their mental health profiles are proposed.
Krista Van Slingerland, Natalie Durand-Bush, Poppy DesClouds, and Göran Kenttä
There are few specialized mental health clinics to address the unique needs of high-performance athletes struggling with mental illness. The Canadian Centre for Mental Health in Sport (CCMHS) was recently created to fill this gap. It is the first center in Canada to offer collaborative sport-focused mental health care services designed to help athletes and coaches achieve their performance goals while prioritizing their mental health. This case study examines the process of providing mental health care to a female elite athlete through the CCMHS, including the referral, screening, and treatment process, as well as the outcomes of this care. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focused on exposure-response prevention was predominantly used to help the athlete improve and manage anxiety and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Both opportunities and challenges associated with providing collaborative care to the athlete via a telehealth platform were observed.