The mass media focus on sporting events (Kristiansen, Hanstad, & Roberts, 2011), coupled with the interest in reporting the psychological aspects of sporting performance (Jones, 2005) can place practitioners in stressful situations (Fletcher, Rumbold, Tester, & Coombes, 2011). Concerns over “misrepresentation,” “misquotation,” “misinterpretation,” and being “incorrectly reported or understood” by the media can be at odds with a practitioner’s honest desire to disseminate findings and provide informed commentaries related to the discipline. This article aims to highlight the ethical, professional and personal challenges faced by Pete Lindsay while working as the resident sport psychologist for an international television broadcaster during a World championship sporting event. The autoethnographic account provides a series of reflective fragments that were abstracted from professional development documentation, supervisory meeting records of the time, and the authors recalled reflections of when Pete undertook the role. Practical implications for the training and certification of practitioners in relation to working within the media are considered.
Pete Lindsay and Owen Thomas
Pete Lindsay, Ian Maynard, and Owen Thomas
Using a single-subject multiple baseline design, combined with assessments of participants’ internal experience (Wollman, 1986), the efficacy of a hypnotic intervention on flow state and competitive cycling performance was assessed in three elite cyclists. Intervention involved relaxation, imagery, hypnotic induction, hypnotic regression, and the conditioning of an unconscious trigger associated with the emotions of past peak performance. Ecologically valid performance measures were collected from British Cycling Federation (BCF) races, and the intensity of flow was assessed using Jackson and Marsh’s (1996) Flow State Scale (FSS). Results indicated that the number of BCF points gained per race was positively influenced in one participant, sporadically influenced in the second participant, and not influenced in the third participant. FSS scores during the intervention phase increased for one participant. These findings suggest that hypnotic interventions may improve elite competitive cycling performance and increase the feelings and cognitions associated with flow.
Pete Lindsay, Owen Thomas, and Gemma Douglas
Metaphors are pervasive in everyday language, thoughts and actions (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). The field of sport psychology, and more explicitly practitioner-client dialogue, remain exposed to such communication. Despite the prevalence of metaphor in our daily interactions, metaphorical discourse is often ignored, or unknowingly used in therapeutic settings (Jinks, 2006). However, noticing a client’s use of metaphor may provide an opportunity to work within the athlete’s metaphorical landscape (i.e., the sum total of their symbolic perceptions, Lawley & Tomkins, 2000) to facilitate therapeutic change (Kopp, 1995). Based upon established mainstream approaches, the present article proposes a composite framework for working with client generated metaphors in sport psychology practice (cf. Kopp, 1995; Lawley & Tomkins, 2000; Sims, 2003). The framework is contextualized through an exploration of case examples derived from the authors’ experiences of working within the metaphorical landscape of a series of clients. The article concludes with various implications for the work and training of applied sport psychologists.
Kieran Kingston, Andrew Lane, and Owen Thomas
This study examined temporal changes in sources of sport-confidence during the build up to an important competition. Elite individual athletes (N = 54) completed the Sources of Sport-Confidence Questionnaire (SSCQ) at five precompetition phases (6 weeks, 4 weeks, 3 weeks, 2 weeks and 1 week before competition). A two-factor (gender x time-to-competition) MANOVA revealed no significant interactions, but highlighted both time-to-competition and gender main effects. Time-to-competition main effects indicated the importance placed upon demonstration of ability, physical/mental preparation, physical self-presentation and situational favorableness sources of sport-confidence changed during the precompetition phase. Gender main effects revealed that female athletes demonstrated a significantly greater reliance on sources associated with mastery, physical self-presentation, social support, environmental comfort and coach’s leadership than male athletes. These findings emphasize the benefit of considering sources of sport-confidence as competition approaches; they may have implications for the design and timing of confidence based interventions.
Paul A. Sellars, Lynne Evans, and Owen Thomas
This study examined the perfectionism experiences of 10 elite perfectionist athletes (5 male and 5 female). Following completion of the Sport Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale-2 (Gotwals & Dunn, 2009), a purposeful sample of unhealthy perfectionists were interviewed in relation to the study aims. Several themes emerged from the data that related to: effects of perfectionism and its antecedents on sporting experiences, specificity and level of perfectionism, and the coping skills and techniques used to counter the potentially detrimental effects of perfectionism. The findings highlighted the multidimensional nature of perfectionism and the need for future research to further explore the efficacy of techniques athletes use to promote healthy and reduce unhealthy facets of perfectionism.
Owen Thomas, Ian Maynard, and Sheldon Hanton
Competitive anxiety and self-confidence were examined temporally in “facilitators,” “debilitators,” and “mixed interpreters” using the modified CSAI-2 (intensity, direction, frequency). MANOVA’s (group X time-to-competition) and follow-up tests revealed no significant interactions but revealed significant main effects for both factors. Facilitators displayed increased intensities of self-confidence, more positive interpretations of cognitive and somatic symptoms, increased frequency of self-confidence, and decreased frequency of cognitive symptoms than debilitators through performance preparation. Time-to-competition effects indicated intensities of cognitive and somatic responses increased, and self-confidence decreased near competition. Directional perceptions of cognitive and somatic responses became less positive, and the frequency of these symptoms increased toward the event. Findings have implications for intervention design and timing and emphasize the importance of viewing symptoms over temporal phases.
Kate Hays, Owen Thomas, Joanne Butt, and Ian Maynard
This study documents an ideographic approach to the assessment of sport confidence in applied settings. In contrast to traditional nomothetic measures, confidence profiling provides an assessment of sport confidence from the athlete’s own perspective. Seven athletes (4 male, 3 female) completed the profile and were encouraged to give an accurate account of their sources and types of confidence, and identify the factors that were debilitative to their confidence levels. Reflective practice on the application of confidence profiling, provided by three British Association of Sport and Exercise Science Accredited sport psychologists, demonstrated the versatility of approach, and indicated that the process allowed the athlete to accurately recall their confidence related experiences and attain an accurate and in-depth assessment of their sport confidence. Thus, it was concluded that completed confidence profiles could provide a strong foundation from which athlete-centered interventions might be developed.
Mike Rotheram, Ian Maynard, Owen Thomas, Mark Bawden, and Lynn Francis
This study explored whether a meridian-based intervention termed the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) could reduce Type I ‘yips’ symptoms. EFT was applied to a single figure handicap golfer in an attempt to overcome the performance decrements the player had suffered. The participant underwent four 2-hr sessions of EFT. The EFT involved the stimulation of various acupuncture points on the body. The appropriate acupuncture points were tapped while the participant was tuned into the perceived psychological causes (significant life event) associated with his ‘yips’ experience. Dependent variables included: visual inspection of the ‘yips’, putting success rate and motion analysis data. Improvements in ‘yips’ symptoms occurred across all dependent measures. Social validation data also illustrated that these improvements transferred to the competitive situation on the golf course. It is possible that significant life events may be a causal factor in the ‘yips’ experience and that EFT may be an effective treatment for the ‘yips’ condition.
Pete Lindsay, Jeff D. Breckon, Owen Thomas, and Ian W. Maynard
The chosen methods of applied sport psychology practitioners should be underpinned by their personal core beliefs and values (Poczwardowski, Sherman, & Ravizza, 2004). However, many novice practitioners unquestioningly adopt the dominant method of the field (Fishman, 1999), and thus might find themselves incongruent in terms of their professional philosophy (Tudor & Worrall, 2004). This article aims to highlight questions that practitioners might reflect on to achieve greater congruence in terms of their philosophy of practice. Autoethnographic accounts of consultancies by a recently qualified practitioner are used to explore one practitioner’s journey toward congruence in professional philosophy. Insights arising from these consultancies for the practitioner are provided, and the wider implications for the training and certification and accreditation of practitioners are considered.
Andrew T. Scott, Thomas O’Leary, Simon Walker, and Rachel Owen
To investigate the effect of ingesting a caffeinated carbohydrate gel (CC) 10 minutes prior on 2000-m rowing performance compared with a carbohydrate-only placebo gel (CP).
A counterbalanced, single-blind, crossover study design was employed (N = 13). All participants completed 1 familiarization trial followed by 2 experimental rowing time trials. The experimental trials were performed 10 min after ingesting CP (21.6 g of carbohydrate, 0 mg caffeine) or CC (21.6 g carbohydrate, 100 mg caffeine), and heart rate (HR), oxygen consumption (VO2), carbon dioxide production, minute ventilation (VE), respiratory-exchange ratio (RER), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), gastrointestinal discomfort (GI), and thirst perception (Thirst) were recorded every 200 m. Blood lactate [La−] was recorded immediately before and after exercise.
A paired-samples t test identified a significant improvement in 2000-m performance of 5.2 ± 3.9 s (1.1% ± 1.7%; P = .034). Two-way repeated-measures ANOVA revealed no significant treatment effect for HR (177 ± 8 vs 177 ± 9 beats/min, P = .817), VO2 (46.1 ± 6.5 vs 46.6 ± 6.2 mL · kg−1 · min−1, P = .590), VE (121.8 ± 14.7 vs 124.8 ± 15.7 L/min, P = .490), RPE, GI, or Thirst for CP and CC, respectively. Paired-samples t tests revealed no treatment effect for postexercise [La−] between CP and CC (11.72 ± 2.69 vs 12.26 ± 3.13 mmol/L, P = .534).
A relatively low dose of caffeine (1.3 ± 0.1 mg/kg body mass) in an isotonic carbohydrate gel ingested only 10 min before performance improved 2000-m rowing time by 5.2 ± 7.8 s (1.1% ± 1.7%).