This study examined: (1) coaches’ attitudes and readiness to use sport psychology (SP) services immediately following a SP workshop; and (2) the impact of an educational intervention on coaches’ attitudes and usage patterns during a one-month follow-up. Ninety swim coaches participated in the SP workshop and a total of 53 swim coaches completed the one-month follow-up. The majority of the sample coached at the high school or age group level. Data provided some evidence for the impact of a SP workshop on stage of change, with approximately 13% of coaches moving from precontemplation to contemplation. Two-way mixed ANOVAs did not reveal significant interactions (group × time) and main effects for time found that coaches’ personal openness, behavioral control, self-efficacy, and intentions increased while perceived barriers decreased immediately post-workshop. Furthermore, changes in coaches’ perceived barriers, behavioral control, and self-efficacy were maintained at the one-month follow-up while personal openness and intentions returned close to baseline. Lastly, no differences were found between the stage-matched and control group with regard to behavioral SP usage patterns (e.g., contacting a SP consultant, seeking out more information about SP). However, approximately 40% of coaches accessed the website during the four-week follow-up. The appropriateness of the transtheoretical model of behavior change applied to SP service use with coaches will be discussed.
Rebecca A. Zakrajsek and Sam J. Zizzi
Kimberly J. Bodey and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek
Johannes Raabe, Tucker Readdy and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek
Coaching is characterized by an inherent pathos between the goals coaches hope to accomplish and those that are realized (Jones & Wallace, 2005). Coaches can actively enhance the likelihood of optimal outcomes through orchestration, a process of incremental coping intended to create improvement in performance (Jones & Wallace, 2005). The current study explored to what extent pathos also manifests in the lives of elite athletes and whether they engage in processes consistent with orchestration. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I student-athletes. Primarily deductive analysis of the qualitative data provided confirmation for four domains: (a) sources of ambiguity created by coaches, (b) other sources of ambiguity within student-athletes’ experiences, (c) attempted strategies for orchestrating the pathos, and (d) relationships are crucial for navigating the pathos. The findings potentially offer an approach to understanding the challenges athletes face, which allows coaches to more accurately provide assistance.
Tucker Readdy, Rebecca Zakrajsek and Johannes Raabe
Sport coaching is marked by a pathos created by limited control and limited awareness, contradictory beliefs, and novelty. Still, coaches can enhance the likelihood of optimal outcomes through orchestration, a process marked by unobtrusive, flexible actions that enhance athletes’ ability to work toward competitive goals (Jones & Wallace, 2005). This research sought to create a detailed understanding of pathos and orchestration in collegiate coaching. Participants were 10 head coaches from National Collegiate Athletic Association universities. Analysis of semistructured interviews produced four themes: (a) true control is limited but attempted control is extensive, (b) orchestration strategies are varied in context and method, (c) relationships enhance the effectiveness of the orchestration process, and (d) planning the next step allows for relative stability in the pathos. These results expand our understanding of pathos and orchestration, suggesting the concepts have promise in educating coaches about sources of adversity and the means to mitigate them.
Rebecca A. Zakrajsek, E. Earlynn Lauer and Kimberly J. Bodey
Youth sport has traditionally focused on developing athletes physically, technically, and tactically; however, it is important to consider the purposeful development of mental and emotional sport skills for these competitors. Youth athletes experience various stressors within their sport participation that impact their ability to successfully manage the sport environment. Youth sport coaches have a tremendous influence on their athletes and are in a position to help them develop the necessary skills to effectively confront the stress they experience. In addition, the International Sport Coaching Framework identifies six primary functions of coaches to help “fulfil the core purpose of guiding improvement and development” of youth athletes (International Council for Coaching Excellence, 2013, p. 16). This article outlines the developmental stage considerations for working with youth athletes and a tool coaches can use to integrate mental skills development strategies into sport practices. Utilizing the evidence-based steps within this article fosters a holistic and developmentally appropriate approach to performance enhancement and personal development, as both are important objectives for youth sport coaches.
Melissa A. Murray, Rebecca Zakrajsek and Kristen D. Dieffenbach
Schempp, McCullick and Mason (2006) suggested gaining hands-on experience is the key element of coach development and the process of becoming a professional expert in the field. Cushion, Armour, and Jones (2003) also recommend the opportunity to observe more experienced coaches as a key experience in novice coach’s development. At the collegiate level in the U.S., a model similar to scholastic teacher training is the foundation for academic-based coaching education programs that seek to combine classroom-based education with experiential learning. In these programs student coaches are generally required to participate in field internship experiences in order to develop a strong art- and science-based approach to coaching. This internship experience is one of great importance, especially since expert coaches have identified having a quality mentor relationship early in their career as essential to their development as a coach (Nash & Sproule, 2009).
Rebecca A. Zakrajsek, Leslee A. Fisher and Scott B. Martin
Nine (5 female, 4 male) certified athletic trainers (ATs) from a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I institution participated in semistructured interviews about their experiences with sport psychology services and perceptions on the potential role of sport psychology consultants (SPCs) in student-athlete development. Through consensual qualitative research procedures, 3 domains were constructed: knowledge of availability and understanding of sport psychology services, perceptions of sport psychology services for injury rehabilitation, and use of sport psychology services for sport performance. Interacting professionally with SPCs, working with sport teams that use sport psychology services, and receiving mentorship from senior ATs who have “bought in” to sport psychology were identified as underlying factors that influenced ATs’ knowledge and use of services. Recommendations for how SPCs can nurture collaborative relationships between themselves and ATs are also provided.
E. Earlynn Lauer, Mark Lerman, Rebecca A. Zakrajsek and Larry Lauer
In this paper, we describe the development and content of a mental skills training (MST) program and how a strength and conditioning coach/certified mental coach delivered this program within a United States Tennis Association (USTA) Player Development (PD) program. The purpose of the MST program was to create resilient, confident youth tennis competitors. Specific mental strategies (i.e., journaling, routines, breathing, imagery, self-talk) were identified to best meet the objectives of the MST program and were delivered using a three-pronged approach: (a) classroom lessons, (b) strength and conditioning sessions and on-court lessons, and (c) homework assignments. Specific ways that the USTA PD coaches reinforced the use of these strategies during tennis practice are described. Recommendations for coaches to integrate an MST program in high-performance youth sport environments are also provided.
Terilyn C. Shigeno, E. Earlynn Lauer, Leslee A. Fisher, Emily J. Johnson and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek
Though commonly emphasized by parents, coaches, and youth sport organizations, relatively little research exists with regard to morality in youth sport. In this Insights paper, we utilize Shields and Bredemeier’s 12-component model of moral action to help coaches become aware of how sport contextual influences, personal competencies, and ego-processing variables influence the moral behavior of their athletes. With insight from conversations with youth sport coaches, in addition to empirical and professional practice evidence, we provide coaches with three practical strategies they can use to: (a) consider how morality fits into their coaching philosophy, (b) create moral group norms within their teams, and (c) integrate moral decision-making into their practice plans.
Rebecca A. Zakrajsek, Jesse A. Steinfeldt, Kimberly J. Bodey, Scott B. Martin and Sam J. Zizzi
Although there appears to be greater acceptance and use of sport psychology (SP), fully integrating SP consultants and services into college athletic programs has yet to occur in most institutions. Decisions to initiate, continue, or terminate SP services are often made by coaches. Therefore, college coaches with access to services were interviewed to explore their beliefs and expectations about SP service use and how an SP consultant could work effectively with them and their athletes. Using consensual qualitative research methods, three domains in coaches’ perceptions of SP consultants were revealed: who they are, what they do, and how they do it. Findings illustrate the importance of being “on the same page” with coaches, developing self-reliant athletes, and making an impact while remaining in a supporting role.