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William B. Strean

The theme of this special issue, following from the 1996 NAFAPA meeting, is “Questioning Our Research Assumptions.” Before assessing the validity of assumptions, they must first be identified. This paper describes how researchers can go about locating what they take for granted in their work. Attention is given to three types of assumptions: paradigmatic, prescriptive, and causal. The specific strategies discussed are examining the gap between conclusion and reasons, analyzing the ideas that support reasons, identifying with the researcher’s point of view, identifying with opposing viewpoints, learning more about relevant issues, and considering barriers in current thinking.

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William B. Strean

Various forms of qualitative research can aid our applied practice by increasing our understanding of the contexts and psychological dynamics of sport. To reap greater benefits from qualitative research, a key step will be to recognize and accept different views of knowledge that underlie many qualitative approaches. From this perspective, this paper focuses on possibilities to use qualitative research in sport psychology to describe, interpret, verify, and evaluate phenomena of interest. The potential of qualitative research to allow for surprises and produce understandable and credible findings and theories is also addressed. The spirit of the paper and the conclusion focus on the many ways in which the “goodness” (Peshkin, 1993) or “strength” (Maxwell, 1996) of qualitative research can be part of what is done in sport psychology.

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William B. Strean and Herbert S. Strean

Sport psychology practitioners use various theoretical perspectives to inform their work. The potential contribution of psychodynamic concepts to professional sport psychology practice is explored. The basics of psychodynamic theory as it relates to normal personality, maladaptive functioning, and therapeutic intervention are reviewed. Specific attention is addressed to free association, resistance, transference, and countertransference. Treatment procedures, such as confrontation, clarification, and interpretation, are presented. Suggestions for including psychodynamic principles within other frameworks are offered.

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William B. Strean and Glyn C. Roberts

Many debates have raged about professional issues in sport psychology, but the research aspect of applied sport psychology has received relatively little attention. In an effort to stimulate thinking about research, this paper discusses the aims of science, the underlying philosophy of science issues that impinge on sport psychology research, and current methodological controversies. The paper concludes with suggestions for future directions for research in applied sport psychology, and implications for consulting are addressed.

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Nicholas L. Holt and William B. Strean

Few studies have considered specific factors of service delivery in applied sport psychology that might contribute to successful outcomes (Petitpas, Giges, & Danish, 1999). It has been suggested that the sport psychology consultant (SPC)-athlete relationship is at the core of athlete-centered approaches (Petitpas et al., 1999; Ravizza, 1990; Thompson, 1998). The purposes of this paper are to discuss issues related to (a) professional education, training, and the role of supervision in the SPC service delivery process; (b) the SPC-athlete relationship; and (c) the need for reflective practice in applied sport psychology. A narrative of self (Sparkes, 2000) is presented by a trainee SPC to demonstrate the practicality of Tripp’s (1993) critical incident reflection exercise. Issues arising from an initial intake meeting with a competitive athlete are reflected upon and analyzed. Reflection is suggested as a tool for education and supervision in applied sport psychology.

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Vikki Krane, Mark B. Andersen and William B. Strean

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Marcel Bouffard, William B. Strean and Walter E. Davis

Philosophical and methodological assumptions often made by researchers working at the behavioral level of analysis in adapted physical activity are reviewed. Particular attention is given to movement skill acquisition research guided by a cognitive science or information processing approach and an ecological task analysis approach. In the final section of this paper, emerging views are used to illustrate other assumptions often tacitly made by movement skill researchers. Alternative possibilities offered by recent perspectives are also presented.

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Nicholas L. Holt, William B. Strean and Enrique García Bengoechea

There has been considerable debate regarding the delivery and outcomes of games experiences in physical education. In particular, the relative benefits of the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) approach have been compared to traditional skill-drill approaches to games teaching. However, many discussions of TGfU have focused on cognitive and psychomotor learning outcomes, neglecting the affective domain. The purpose of this article is to review TGfU research, to present an extended TGfU model, and to suggest new avenues for future research and practice. Future research directions include consideration of learning with respect to cognitive, behavioral, and affective characteristics.

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William B. Strean, Kim L. Senecal, Stephen G. Howlett and J. Mark Burgess

Critical thinking can be defined most simply as thinking that assesses itself (Paul, 1995). We explored the degree to which coaches engage in critical thinking about strategy. We used Brookfield’s (1995) critical thinking model to examine coaches’ strategic thinking processes. The merit of the model as a tool to facilitate research and intervention in team sports was considered. We examined whether identifying and examining paradigmatic, prescriptive, and causal assumptions, as well as exploring alternatives for thinking and acting, can improve team strategy. The results provide examples of these various conceptual categories. The data support the use of Brookfield’s (1995) model for understanding and intervening with coaches and athletes. Examples of how sport psychology and performance enhancement consultants might use this model in their work are offered.