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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ross Roberts, Mike Rotheram, Ian Maynard, Owen Thomas and Tim Woodman
The present investigation examined whether perfectionism might predict whether an athlete would suffer from the ‘yips’ (a long term movement disorder consisting of involuntary movements that affects the execution of motor skills). A sample of ‘yips’-affected individuals from golf, cricket, and darts as well as a sport-matched sample of non ’yips’-affected athletes completed the shortened version of Frost, Marten, Lahart, and Rosenblate’s (1990) multidimensional perfectionism scale (FMPS). Results revealed that three aspects of perfectionism (personal standards, organization, and concern over mistakes) were associated with a greater likelihood of suffering from the ‘yips’, indicating that ‘yips’ sufferers had an unhealthy perfectionism profile. The results highlight perfectionism as a possible antecedent of the ‘yips’ experience within sport.
Kate Hays, Owen Thomas, Ian Maynard and Joanne Butt
This study examined the applicability of confidence profiling to the development of an individualized intervention designed in accordance with Murphy and Murphy’s (1992) eight step cognitive-behavioral model. The case study design illustrated the potential uses and benefits of confidence profiling when developing an athlete driven intervention to enhance the sport confidence of a female swimmer. Specifically, it showed how confidence profiling can act as an applied measure to accurately assess sport confidence from the athlete’s own perspective, provide the basis of an intervention targeted toward the athlete’s individual confidence needs, and provide feedback to the sport psychologist concerning the effectiveness of the intervention. A postintervention interview with the athlete highlighted the usefulness of the confidence profiling process. Specifically, the profiling process helped to raise the athlete’s awareness of the factors that facilitated and debilitated her sport confidence. Furthermore, the athlete reported feeling more confident and very satisfied with the mental skills training, which she perceived resulted in performance gains.