This paper documents a 5-year sport psychology consultancy program with the England Women’s Cricket Team. The paper describes the method and content of sport psychology service provided and distinguishes between four phases of delivery: introduction and education in mental skills training, competition preparation and thinking, preliminary World Cup preparation, and final World Cup preparation and on-site provision. Service delivery was evaluated by the use of the Consultant Evaluation Form (Partington & Orlick, 1987), ongoing informal feedback from players and coaches, and a formal interview conducted after the World Cup. Reflections on successful and unsuccessful aspects of the program are provided. Overall, the sport psychology program was very well received and was considered instrumental in achieving the stated goal of winning the World Cup. The paper concludes with a number of recommendations for delivering extended sport psychology services to an international team.
Stephen J. Bull
This article presents a case study describing the contribution of a sport psychology consultant to an ultra-distance runner’s attempt to complete 500 miles (800 kilometers) in 20 days through the deserts of North America. The contribution can be considered in four phases that provide a descriptive framework for the role of a sport psychology consultant: (a) establishing a rapport with the athlete, (b) formulating a psychological profile, (c) evaluating the demands of the athletic pursuit and planning an appropriate mental training program, and (d) ongoing evaluation of progress and crisis intervention.
Stephen J. Bull
Adherence to mental-skills training has received little empirical investigation despite the recent growth and development in applied sport psychology services. The present study was designed to identity personal and situational variables influencing adherence to a mental training program. Volunteer athletes (N=34) were given a 4-week educational program before being left to train on their own for an experimental period of 8 weeks. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three treatment intervention conditions (control, written reminders, and group meetings) designed to influence adherence behavior. Results demonstrated the influence of self-motivation in predicting mental-training adherence, but the interventions had no significant effect. Adherence levels were generally low but variable between athletes. Interviews with the athletes indicated the need for individualization of training programs, and problems of time constraints were identified as being influential in the adherence process. Comparable athletes (N—18) who chose not to volunteer for the mental training program were psychometrically tested and demonstrated lower sport motivation than the volunteer athletes but greater skill in concentration.
Stuart J.H. Biddle, Stephen J. Bull and Carole L. Seheult
Associated with the rapid increase in the demand for, and supply of, sport psychologists in Britain, a number of ethical and professional issues have arisen. Although some of these may not be unique to Britain, they may shed light on important issues that can contribute to a wider, international dialogue. Specifically, the paper addresses issues associated with the establishment of the Code of Conduct and the Register of sport psychologists in Britain. In addition, the consultancy process is considered from what have been termed educational and clinical perspectives, with illustrative case-study examples. Future directions are discussed in the hope of stimulating informed debate in the international community of sport psychology.
Heidi L. Meehan, Stephen J. Bull, Dan M. Wood and David V.B. James
The present study explored the experiences of five competitive endurance athletes (1 female, 4 male) diagnosed with the overtraining syndrome (OTS). A multicontextual method of inquiry was used, which first involved a medical examination whereby OTS was diagnosed according to established criteria. In addition, 2 questionnaires were administered: the Athlete Daily Hassle Scale (Albinson & Pearce, 1998) and the Coping Response Inventory (Moos, 1992), and a semistructured interview was conducted. Individual case studies were then developed and cross-case analysis carried out. Findings from the present study illustrate that together with sport stress, nonsport stress appears to make an important contribution to the experience of those athletes diagnosed with the OTS. This finding provides evidence to support anecdotes in previous reports.