Using a qualitative case-study design, the purpose of the present study was to explore the experiences of a former exemplary peer athlete mentor (i.e., Nick [a pseudonym]). Data from 3 interviews (totaling 4 hr, 50 min) with Nick were analyzed using thematic narrative analysis. Nick indicated that mentoring played a key role in an athlete’s ability to rise to elite sport. He noted that he was motivated to mentor his protégés for their benefit but also for the shared gains associated with mentorship—the latter of which suggested he was involved in relational mentoring relationships. He further described having an unwavering belief in his protégés and a deep allegiance to them. Finally, Nick shared his views on the complexity of the “mentoring identity” that he had, to some extent, adopted. The findings provide novel insights into why, and to some degree how, athletes may serve as peer mentors.
Matt Hoffmann, Todd Loughead, and Jeffrey Caron
Diana J.E. Vincer and Todd M. Loughead
This study examined the influence of athlete leadership behaviors on perceptions of team cohesion. The participants were 312 athletes from 25 varsity and club level teams. Each participant completed the Group Environment Questionnaire (Carron, Widmeyer, & Brawley, 1985) that assessed cohesion and the Leadership Scale for Sports (Chelladurai & Saleh, 1980) that assessed athlete leadership behaviors. Overall, it was found that individual perceptions of Training and Instruction, and Social Support positively influenced all four dimensions of cohesion (ATG-T, ATG-S, GI—T, GI-S). Furthermore, Autocratic Behavior was negatively associated with the four dimensions of cohesion. Finally, Democratic Behavior was positively related to ATG-T. These findings provide researchers, sport psychology consultants, athletes, and coaches with some initial evidence that it is important to foster the development of athlete leader behaviors to influence the team environment.
Irene Muir, Krista J. Munroe-Chandler, and Todd Loughead
Although dancers have noted using imagery to mentally rehearse a routine, understand and reinforce movement, inspire strong emotions, and lower arousal levels, this finding is specific to adult dancers, overlooking imagery use with young dancers. The current study qualitatively examined the 4 Ws of imagery use (where, when, what, and why) with female dancers 7–14 years of age. Twenty-three female dancers (Mage = 10.43, SD = 2.19) from various dance styles participated in 1 of 4 focus-group discussions. Thematic analysis revealed findings similar to those identified in the domains of both adult dance and children’s sport. There were, however, findings emerging from the current study specific to young female dancers. These findings are provided, in addition to practical implications for dance instructors.
William R. Falcão, Gordon A. Bloom, and Todd M. Loughead
The purpose of this study was to investigate Paralympic coaches’ perceptions of team cohesion. Seven head coaches of summer and winter Canadian Paralympic sport teams participated in the study. Four participants coached individual sports and 3 coached team sports. Data were collected using semistructured interviews and analyzed using thematic analysis. The results addressed the coaches’ perceptions of cohesion in the Paralympic sport setting and strategies used to foster cohesion with their teams. Participants described using techniques and strategies for enhancing cohesion that were similar to those in nondisability sport, such as task-related activities, goal setting, and regularly communicating with their athletes. They also listed how cohesion was distinct to the Paralympic setting, such as the importance of interpersonal activities to build social cohesion. The implications of these results for coaching athletes with a disability are also presented.
David A. Urquhart, Gordon A. Bloom, and Todd M. Loughead
The purpose of this study was to explore the development, articulation, and implementation of a coaching vision and how this created and sustained a culture of excellence. Six multiple championship–winning men’s university ice hockey head coaches were interviewed. Their combined experience consisted of 20 national titles and over 4,100 wins at the university level. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. The results indicated that these coaches established a vision that could be separated into three phases: development, articulation, and implementation. Notably, development included the life experiences, personal characteristics, and habits that assisted the development of the coaches’ vision, including apprenticing as an assistant coach. Articulation and implementation involved clearly communicating their vision to athletes, coaches, and personnel who then enacted the vision. Overall, these findings contribute to a better understanding of how championship-winning coaches organize, teach, and articulate their goals through their coaching vision.
Scott Rathwell, Gordon A. Bloom, and Todd M. Loughead
The purpose of the study was to gain an in-depth understanding of the characteristics head coaches looked for when hiring their head assistant coach, the main roles and responsibilities assigned to assistants, and the techniques and behaviors used to develop them. Data were obtained through interviews with six accomplished Canadian University head football coaches. Results indicated head coaches hired loyal assistants who possessed extensive football knowledge that complimented their own skill sets. Once hired, head coaches had their assistant coaches help them with recruiting, managing a major team unit, and developing athletes. They helped advance their assistants’ careers through personal mentorships which included exposure to external sources of knowledge such as football camps and coaching conferences. These results represent one of the first empirical accounts of head coaches’ perceptions on hiring and developing head assistant coaches.
Julie Senécal, Todd M. Loughead, and Gordon A. Bloom
The purpose of the current study was to determine whether the implementation of a season-long team-building intervention program using team goal setting increased perceptions of cohesion. The participants were 86 female high school basketball players from 8 teams. The teams were randomly assigned to either an experimental team goal–setting or control condition. Each participant completed the Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ; Carron, Brawley, & Widmeyer, 2002; Carron, Widmeyer, & Brawley, 1985), which assessed cohesion at both the beginning and end of the season. Overall, the results revealed a significant multivariate effect, Pillai’s trace F(12, 438) = 2.68, p = .002. Post hoc analyses showed that at the beginning of the season, athletes from both conditions did not differ in their perceptions of cohesion. However, at the end of the season, athletes in the team goal–setting condition held higher perceptions of cohesion than athletes in the control condition. Overall, the results indicated that team goal setting was an effective team-building tool for influencing cohesiveness in sport teams.
Mark Eys, Todd Loughead, Steven R. Bray, and Albert V. Carron
The purpose of the current study was to initiate the development of a psychometrically sound measure of cohesion for youth sport groups. A series of projects were undertaken in a four-phase research program. The initial phase was designed to garner an understanding of how youth sport group members perceived the concept of cohesion through focus groups (n = 56), open-ended questionnaires (n = 280), and a literature review. In Phase 2, information from the initial projects was used in the development of 142 potential items and content validity was assessed. In Phase 3, 227 participants completed a revised 87-item questionnaire. Principal components analyses further reduced the number of items to 17 and suggested a two-factor structure (i.e., task and social cohesion dimensions). Finally, support for the factorial validity of the resultant questionnaire was provided through confirmatory factor analyses with an independent sample (n = 352) in Phase 4. The final version of the questionnaire contains 16 items that assess task and social cohesion in addition to 2 negatively worded spurious items. Specific issues related to assessing youth perceptions of cohesion are discussed and future research directions are suggested.
Julie Newin, Gordon A. Bloom, and Todd M. Loughead
The purpose of the current study was to explain youth ice hockey coaches’ perceptions of the effectiveness of a team-building intervention program. Eight Peewee-level hockey coaches implemented the same team-building activities with their teams throughout the regular season. Data were gathered using 3 methods. Specifically, coaches answered questions on a pre- and post-intervention form after each team-building activity, coaches’ behaviors were observed by members of the research team, and each coach completed a semistructured exit interview after the completion of the regular season. Results highlighted the benefits of the team-building intervention program. Specifically, coaches felt athletes enjoyed this experience and improved or acquired a variety of important life skills and abilities. Coaches also felt that athletes bonded during activities and improved their abilities to work together as a group. Finally, coaches felt that their own personal communication skills improved.
Tamara L. Wickwire, Gordon A. Bloom, and Todd M. Loughead
The purpose of this study was to examine elite same-sex dyadic sport teams. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with elite beach volleyball athletes. The results of the analysis revealed three higher-order categories: (a) sport environment, which included elements related to participation in beach volleyball such as challenges and comparisons between partnerships and other sports; (b) dyad structure and composition, which included individual and relationship elements that created a sense of balance in the partnership; and (c) dyadic interaction process, which focused on developing communication and cohesion in the partnership and working toward an ideal state where interaction was efficient and effective. The results of the study extend group dynamics literature by studying the dyad as a separate group entity and by revealing information specific to this group of athletes.