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Terry Orlick

This article shares personal perspectives and experiences that emerged as a result of 15 years of consulting with athletes representing numerous sports at both Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The importance of listening closely to athletes, respecting their input, and meeting their individual needs is emphasized. Consultants are cautioned against using batteries of standardized personality assessment inventories as these infringe upon the athletes’ time without providing practical information. Effectiveness in this field requires firsthand experience with sport, a full understanding of the psychology of excellence, and a willingness to learn directly from the athletes themselves. One-on-one contact, adaptability to individual needs, good interpersonal skills, applied sportpsych knowledge, and persistence in application are also important. It is recommended that registration of consultants in the field of applied sport psychology be contingent upon direct evaluation by athletes.

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Lydia Ievleva and Terry Orlick

The purpose of this exploratory study was to determine whether athletes who healed very rapidly demonstrated greater evidence than did slower healing athletes of psychosocial factors thought to be related to enhanced healing. A survey format was used to measure the following factors—positive attitude, outlook, stress and stress control, social support, goal setting, positive selftalk, and mental imagery—as well as related items about beliefs and recommendations for enhanced healing. Thirty-two former sports medicine clinic patients with either knee or ankle injuries participated in the study. Some 19% of these athletes had exceptionally fast recoveries. These subjects evidenced high scores on all variables tested, while those in the slowest healing group evidenced low scores. The most significant results were found in the more action related factors of goal setting, positive self-talk, and the use of healing imagery. This is particularly encouraging for those working in an applied setting, as these factors are within one’s potential control.

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John Partington and Terry Orlick

This article provides direct accounts of best-ever consulting experiences as well as lessons about effective consulting given by 19 sportpsych consultants who worked with Canadian athletes in preparation for the 1988 Olympic Games. These consultants attended a workshop funded by Sport Canada, organized and conducted by the authors. Findings are based on the consultants’ written answers to a preworkshop survey. Best-ever experiences were characterized in terms of the openness of athletes and coaches, how the consultation was started, time allowed to work with the athletes, and the fit of the consultant to the situation. Recommendations were also extracted from the content of audiotape recordings and written minutes of workshop discussion groups. These recommendations were directed to the following aspects of consultation: assessing commitment, defining one’s role, beginning the consultation, testing, executing the consultation, team meetings, and consultant characteristics and practices. Implications for selecting and preparing effective consultants are discussed.

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Terry Orlick and Nadeane McCaffrey

In recent years we have applied mental skills training for child athletes, kindergarten and elementary school students, and children attempting to overcome serious illnesses. Key elements that have been associated with our most successful interventions include the use of simple, concrete strategies, an element of fun, positive individualized approaches, the use of role models, and involving parents. It is our belief that every child will experience growth, and some degree of success, if someone who cares devotes time to nurturing important mental skills related to personal development.

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Terry Orlick and John Partington

Intensive interviews were conducted with each of 75 Canadian Olympic athletes representing 19 different sports in order to evaluate the sport psychology services offered to them. Athletes representing 12 of the sports indicated they had worked with 1 of 11 sport psychology consultants in preparation for the 1984 Olympic Games. Some were highly satisfied with their consultant and his or her mental training program, others were highly dissatisfied. A profile of the best and worst consultants was developed based upon the athletes’ perceptions of desirable and undesirable consultant characteristics. Suggestions are provided for improving the quality of sport psychology services for elite athletes.

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John Partington and Terry Orlick

Individual interviews were conducted with 17 Canadian Olympic coaches in order to assess sport psychology consultants and services provided to their athletes and teams in the 4 years leading up to the 1984 Olympic Games. The coaches represented a wide range of sports; all but 2 had worked directly with a sport psychology consultant in preparing their athletes for the Olympics. A total of 21 consultants were reviewed and evaluated. The coaches outlined their personal criteria for assessing the effectiveness of a sport psychology consultant and his or her mental training program. A consensus regarding desired personal consultant characteristics is presented, as well as coaches’ reasons for retaining or terminating the services of a sport psychology consultant.

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Andrew Friesen and Terry Orlick

Incorporating the holistic development of the athlete into an applied sport psychology intervention has been addressed in the literature (e.g., Bond, 2002; Ravizza, 2002). How sport psychology consultants actually practice holistic sport psychology remains unclear. The purpose of this research was to provide a clarification as to what holistic sport psychology is and examine the beliefs, values, theoretical paradigms, and models of practice of holistic sport psychology consultants’ professional philosophies (Poczwardowski, Sherman, & Ravizza, 2004). Qualitative interviews with five purposefully selected holistic sport psychology consultants were conducted. In general, holistic consulting can be interpreted to mean: (a) managing the psychological effects to the athlete’s performance from nonsport domains; (b) developing the core individual beyond their athletic persona; and (c) recognizing the dynamic relationship between an athlete’s thoughts, feelings, physiology, and behavior. The corresponding beliefs, values, theoretical paradigms, and models of practice of holistic consultants were also presented.

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John Partington and Terry Orlick

An evaluation inventory was developed to help sport psychology consultants assess and improve the field services they provide. Consultant characteristics included in the inventory were based on extensive interviews with Olympic athletes and coaches. The inventory was administered to 104 Canadian Olympic athletes who assessed 26 sport psychology consultants. Data from this survey were used to determine the validity and reliability of the Sport Psychology Consultant Evaluation Form (CEF). Practical suggestions are provided for enhancing the quality of sport psychology consultation services through the use of the CEF.

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Terry Orlick and John Partington

This study included 235 Canadian Olympic athletes who participated in the 1984 Olympic Games in Sarajevo and Los Angeles. Individual interviews were carried out with 75 athletes and a questionnaire was completed by another 160 to assess their mental readiness for the Olympic Games and factors related to mental readiness. Common elements of success were identified, as well as factors that interfered with optimal performance at the Olympic Games. Statistically significant links were found between Olympic performance outcome and certain mental skills.

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Kathy Kreiner-Phillips and Terry Orlick

The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of success on athletes who reached the top of the world in their sport. Individual in-depth interviews were conducted with 17 world champion athletes, representing 7 different sports and 4 different countries. All athletes, 11 males and 6 females, had won major international competitions (World Cup, World Championships, and/or Olympic Games) between the years 1964 and 1988. The number of individual World Cup wins ranged from 1 to 86. The results indicate that athletes who became the best in their sport, subsequently experienced many additional demands. Most had little or no assistance in dealing with these demands. Approximately one third of these athletes coped well with the additional demands and continued to win. The remaining two thirds did not handle the additional demands as well and either never repeated their winning performance or took a significant amount of time to do so. Strategies to help prepare future champions to handle the demands of winning are suggested.