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Emily A. Martin, Stacy Winter and Tim Holder

Observation provides applied sport psychologists with a direct assessment of client behavior within the sporting environment. Despite the unique properties and the insightful information that observation allows, it has received limited literary attention within the applied sport psychology domain. The current study aimed to explore and further understand the observation practices of current trainee practitioners. All participants were enrolled on a training program toward becoming either a chartered psychologist (BPS) or an accredited sport and exercise scientist (BASES). In total, five focus groups were conducted and analyzed using an interpretative phenomenological approach (IPA; Smith, 1996). Four superordinate themes emerged: value of observation, type of observation, challenges of observation, and suggestions for observation training. Results demonstrate the increased value that observation brings to effective service delivery and intervention. Specifically, informal observation is commended for its propensity to build greater contextual intelligence and to develop stronger client relationships.

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Iain Greenlees, Richard Buscombe, Richard Thelwell, Tim Holder and Matthew Rimmer

The aim of this study was to examine the impact of a tennis player’s body language and clothing (general vs. sport-specific) on the impressions observers form of them. Forty male tennis players viewed videos of a target tennis player warming up. Each participant viewed the target player displaying one of four combinations of body language and clothing (positive body language/tennis-specific clothing; positive body language/general sportswear; negative body language/tennis-specific clothing; negative body language/general sportswear). After viewing the target player, participants rated their impressions of the model’s episodic states and dispositions and gave their perceptions of the likely outcome of a tennis match with the target player. Analyses of variance revealed that positive body language led to favorable episodic impressions and low outcome expectations. Analysis also indicated that clothing and body language had an interactive effect on dispositional judgments. The study supports the contention that nonverbal communication can influence sporting interactions.