Soccer referees are performers on their own merit, yet little research has focused on their career transitions. This case study attempted to bridge this gap by examining 4 referees’ transition to the Israeli Premier League. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected as the referees advanced through their transitions. Data collection was done as part of a consultation process, designed to facilitate an effective transition adaptation. The analysis of data was guided by the framework of the scheme of change for sport psychology practice. The results indicated that the transition presented various on- (e.g., modifications of refereeing style) and off-field demands (e.g., social assimilation). The referees perceived the transition as a significant and positive career change event, yet 3 of them felt low to moderate perceived control over the new situation, as it was dependent on external factors. The referees coped with the transition through decision making, consulting with others, and applying problem-focused coping. They perceived the transition outcome as positive, maintaining balanced identities. The consultation process is discussed with several examples for the application of processes of change, with the objective of reaching a decision to change. The conclusions emphasize a balanced dual career, the rigor of the case study, and the role of the consultant.
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Roy David Samuel and Gershon Tenenbaum
Throughout their careers, athletes may encounter various changes that interfere with their existing “athletic status quo.” During these transitional periods, change can occur in diverse levels of the athletic experience. In this paper we introduce a “scheme of change for sport psychology practice” (SCSPP) to describe typical characteristics of athletes’ change-events and processes. The SCSPP focuses on: (a) the stages that unfold as athletes encounter and address changes in their careers, and (b) the psychological-therapeutic process that might facilitate an effective personal change. The process of change is evaluated in terms of its meaning and significance for athletes, the associated decisions athletes make, and fluctuations in cognition and affect. In addition, we describe a therapeutic framework that includes a number of processes of change as interventions, which may facilitate consultants’ attempts to guide athletes who experience change-events, and factors that moderate these attempts. Avenues for research and practical implications are also provided.
Roy David Samuel and Gershon Tenenbaum
This study examined decision-making processes in response to athletic career change-events (e.g., injury, field position change). Athletes’ (N = 338) initial strategic decisions whether to address or ignore a change-event, and their subsequent decisions whether to make the required change were measured using the Change-Event Inventory (Samuel & Tenenbaum, 2011b). Athletes reported a high tendency of making a strategic decision to consult with others, which could be predicted from the event’s perceived significance and availability of professional support. Athletes also reported a high tendency of making a subsequent decision to change, which could be predicted from the helpfulness of support, motivation for change, and certain coping strategies. The two types of decisions were related. Perceived outcome of the change process and athletes’ motivation could also be accurately predicted. In conclusion, to effectively cope with change-events athletes need to feel involved, be in control, and make independent decisions that reflect their genuine needs and wishes.
Roy David Samuel, Guy Matzkin, Saar Gal, and Chris Englert
In this case study, the authors’ aim was to apply the tenets of the strength model of self-control () with two Israeli competitive archers over the 2019–20 season. According to this model, the ability to control the self is based on a finite resource that can become temporarily depleted. Under ego depletion, subsequent self-control acts are executed less efficiently, potentially resulting in lower effort and attentional focus. Recurve archery is a closed, self-paced shooting sport, which requires exerting control over physical and mental elements. Archers’ ability to control their performance sequence is partly dependent on self-control. The two archers practiced (in consultation sessions, training and competitions, and independently) a range of well-established intervention techniques (e.g., self-talk, performance routines, mindfulness) designed to increase their self-control strength and focus on the present shot. Archers self-reported data on their trait and state of self-control and mental states during several performance situations in training and competition. The results indicated a complex self-control—performance relationship, potentially underlined by the athletes’ preperformance mental state, self-control strength, and subjective perceptions of temporarily available self-control resources. The archers’ and the authors’ reflections demonstrate the importance of incorporating self-control training in an idiosyncratic manner to achieve positive performance outcomes.