The purposes of this study were to (a) identify psychosocial factors associated with athletic success by talented English school children and (b) examine potential gender differences in their perceptions of athletic success. Thirty-nine athletically talented English children (20 females, 19 males, M age = 13 years, SD = 1.4 years) participated in structured interviews, which were transcribed verbatim and subjected to an inductive-deductive analysis procedure. Results revealed nine categories (comprising 28 themes) of psychosocial factors associated with athletic success during childhood: Ambitions, Choice of Sport, Motives, Success Attributions, Sacrifices, Obstacles, Emotional Support, Informational Support, and Tangible Support. Gender differences are considered and findings are compared to previous talent development and youth sport research.
Nicholas L. Holt and David Morley
Nicholas L. Holt and John M. Hogg
The ability to cope with competitive stress is an integral part of elite sport performance. The purposes of this investigation were to identify and examine players’ perceptions of sources of stress and coping strategies prior to the 1999 soccer world cup finals. Using a case study approach (Stake, 2000), members of a women’s national soccer team (n = 10) participated in this investigation. Through the process of inductive data analysis, main sources of stress were categorized into the following four main themes: coaches, demands of international soccer, competitive stressors, and distractions. Participants used several types of strategies based on a range of problem-focused, emotion-focused, appraisal-reappraisal, and avoidance coping styles to deal with these stressors. The main coping themes identified were reappraisal, use of social resources, performance behaviors, and blocking. Athletes implemented different coping strategies depending on the stressors they encountered. The widest range of coping responses were displayed in coping with the communication styles used by the coaches. Implications of these findings for researchers, athletes, coaches, and sport psychologists are discussed.
John G.H. Dunn and Nicholas L. Holt
This study examined 27 male intercollegiate ice hockey players’ subjective responses to a personal-disclosure mutual-sharing team building activity (cf. Crace & Hardy, 1997; Yukelson, 1997) delivered at a national championship tournament. Athletes participated in semistructured interviews 2 to 4 weeks after the team building meetings. Results revealed that the meetings were emotionally intense, and some participants described their involvement in these meetings as a significant life experience. Participants perceived certain benefits associated with the meetings including enhanced understanding (of self and others), increased cohesion (closeness and playing for each other), and improved confidence (confidence in teammates and feelings of invincibility). Results are discussed in terms of their potential to guide future applied evaluation research of team building programs in sport.
Nicholas L. Holt and John G.H. Dunn
The overall purpose of this study was to provide professional guidance to practitioners who may wish to deliver Personal-Disclosure Mutual-Sharing (PDMS) team building activities. First we replicated and evaluated a PDMS intervention previously used by Dunn and Holt (2004). Fifteen members (M age = 25.4 yrs) of a high performance women’s soccer team provided evaluative data about the intervention they received via reflective interviews. Benefits of the PDMS activity were enhanced understanding, increased cohesion, and improved confidence. Guidelines for professionals who may wish to use this team building approach are provided in terms of (a) establishing group communication practices during the season, (b) delivering the meeting, and (c) demonstrating contextual sensitivity.
Nicholas L. Holt, Jay Scherer, and Jordan Koch
The purpose of this study was to examine the role of a sport program in the lives of homeless men with severe mental illnesses and addictions. Interviews were conducted with eight men who attended a floor hockey program, and data examined using categorical-content narrative methodology. Five themes captured the role of the floor hockey program in the men’s lives: (a) relationships with program leader, (b) therapy, (c) community, (d) action, and (e) achievement. These themes were interpreted using theories of masculinity (Connell, 1995; Gough, 2014). Relationships with the program leader and other men, and ways in which they were allowed to play with physicality, provided opportunities to accumulate masculine capital (i.e., ways in which competence in traditionally masculine behaviors provides masculine credit). Practically, the findings suggest that sport program delivery for men such as those in this study can be enhanced by providing opportunities for accruing masculine capital.
Jay Scherer, Jordan Koch, and Nicholas L. Holt
As a result of a rapidly changing global political economy, deindustrialization, and neoliberalism, a new form of racialized urban poverty has become concentrated in the inner cities of innumerable North American urban centers. In response to these material conditions, various nonprofit organizations, corporate-sponsored initiatives,and underfunded municipal recreation departments continue to provide a range of sport-for-development programs for the ‘urban outcasts’ of the global economy. While sport scholars have widely critiqued these initiatives, little is known about how people experience these programs against the backdrop of actually existing neoliberalism (Brenner & Theodore, 2002) and the new conditions of urban poverty. As part of a three-year urban ethnography in Edmonton, Alberta, this paper examines how a group of less affluent and often homeless young men experienced and made use of a weekly, publicly funded floor-hockey program. In so doing, we explore how this sport-for-development program existed as a ‘hub’ within a network of social solidarity and as a crucial site for marginalized individuals to negotiate, and, at times, resist conditions of precarious labor in a divided Western Canadian city.
Kacey C. Neely and Nicholas L. Holt
The overall purpose of this study was to examine parents’ perspectives on the benefits of sport participation for their young children. Specifically, this study addressed two research questions: (1) What benefits do parents perceive their children gain through participation in organized youth sport programs? (2) How do parents think their children acquire these benefits? Twenty-two parents (12 mothers, 10 fathers) of children aged 5-8 years participated in individual semistructured interviews. Data were subjected to qualitative analysis techniques based on the interpretive description methodology. Parents reported their children gained a range of personal, social, and physical benefits from participating in sport because it allowed them to explore their abilities and build positive self-perceptions. Parents indicated they believed children acquired benefits when coaches created a mastery-oriented motivational climate that facilitated exploration. Crucially, parents appeared to play the most important role in their children’s acquisition of benefits by seizing “teachable moments” from sport and reinforcing certain principles in the home environment.
Nicholas L. Holt and Andrew C. Sparkes
Based on an ethnographic study of a collegiate soccer team over an eight-month season, the purpose of this paper is to identify and examine the factors that contributed to team cohesion. Data were collected via participant observation, formal and informal interviews, documentary sources, a field diary, and a reflexive journal. The description-analysis-interpretation approach recommended by Wolcott (1994) framed the data analysis. Four key themes that influenced cohesion were clear and meaningful roles, selfishness/personal sacrifices, communication, and team goals. The fluctuating nature of these themes are discussed in relation to the multidimensional heuristic for cohesion presented by Cota, Evans, Dion, Kilik, and Longman (1995).
Camilla J. Knight and Nicholas L. Holt
The purposes of this study were to identify the strategies parents use to be able to support their children’s involvement in competitive tennis and identify additional assistance parents require to better facilitate their children’s involvement in tennis. Interviews were conducted with 41 parents of junior players in the United States. Data analysis led to the identification of 4 strategies parents used to be able to support to their children: spouses working together, interacting with other parents, selecting an appropriate coach, and researching information. Five areas where parents required additional assistance were also identified. These were understanding and negotiating player progression, education on behaving and encouraging players at tournaments, evaluating and selecting coaches, identifying and accessing financial support, and managing and maintaining schooling. These findings indicated that parents “surrounded themselves with support” to facilitate their children’s involvement in tennis but required additional information regarding specific aspects of tennis parenting.
Nicholas L. Holt and William B. Strean
Few studies have considered specific factors of service delivery in applied sport psychology that might contribute to successful outcomes (Petitpas, Giges, & Danish, 1999). It has been suggested that the sport psychology consultant (SPC)-athlete relationship is at the core of athlete-centered approaches (Petitpas et al., 1999; Ravizza, 1990; Thompson, 1998). The purposes of this paper are to discuss issues related to (a) professional education, training, and the role of supervision in the SPC service delivery process; (b) the SPC-athlete relationship; and (c) the need for reflective practice in applied sport psychology. A narrative of self (Sparkes, 2000) is presented by a trainee SPC to demonstrate the practicality of Tripp’s (1993) critical incident reflection exercise. Issues arising from an initial intake meeting with a competitive athlete are reflected upon and analyzed. Reflection is suggested as a tool for education and supervision in applied sport psychology.