A developmental theoretical approach is recommended as the most appropriate framework from which to study children's psychosocial experiences in sport. This perspective provides the best understanding of children's sport behaviors by focusing on ontogenetic changes in cognitive abilities which help to describe and explain behavioral variations among individuals. A content analysis of sport psychological research conducted on children and youth over the last decade reveals that few studies selected age groups for investigation that were based on underlying cognitive-developmental criteria. Thus, recommendations emanating from these studies may be misleading or inaccurate. Examples of developmental research from the psychological and sport psychological literature are provided to illustrate the potential for conducting further research on the psychosocial development of children in sport. Finally, guidelines for implementing a systematic line of research in sport psychology from a developmental perspective are outlined.
Maureen R. Weiss and Brenda Jo Bredemeier
Mark H. Anshel
Drug abuse in competitive sport continues to be pervasive. Numerous explanations have been given for this and the reasons range from performance enhancement (anabolic steroids) to relieving stress and boredom (so-called recreational drugs). Drug testing, strict policies and enforcement, and educational programs have continued to be the main responses to the problem. However, relatively little attention has been given to preventive rather than punitive and curative strategies, particularly with respect to the coach’s input. This article offers several cognitive and behavioral approaches for coaches and sport psychology consultants in dealing with drug abuse among athletes. The recommendations are based on personal interactions with hundreds of intercollegiate athletes conducted over a 6-year period and from the extant professional literature.
Joey Ramaeker and Trent A. Petrie
We explored athletic trainers’ (ATs) beliefs regarding the roles of fellow ATs and sport psychologists (SPs) when working with athletes, and assessed where ATs’ typically refer athletes with psychological concerns. ATs’ beliefs and referral preferences across three hypothetical sport performance scenarios also were evaluated. ATs viewed aiding athletes’ psychological recovery from injury as their most acceptable role followed by teaching mental skills and counseling regarding personal issues. ATs rated SPs’ roles similarly. Regarding the scenarios, ATs were most likely to refer to a SP when performance was affected by mental factors. Considering performance difficulties attributed to interpersonal concerns, ATs were most likely to refer to a counselor. When recovering from physical injury, ATs viewed referring to a sport psychologist and assisting on their own as equally viable options. ATs’ views regarding their roles and referral preferences likely reflect educational and clinical experiences. Collaboration between athletic training and sport psychology professional organizations and individual professionals is warranted to enhance athlete care.
Steven R. Heyman
Sport psychology has had an internal debate about whether to conduct research in the field or in the laboratory. At the same time, concerns have been raised about interventions (particularly for performance enhancement) being performed without any reasonable evaluation of their outcome. This paper reviews the issues in consultation with an athlete and a coach, the development and modification of interventions, and the attempt to develop a single-case experimental design to assess the utility of the intervention. Although some situations caused the design to be less complete than would be desirable, the data obtained from behavioral observations and subjective ratings showed good reliability and validity and provided useful information. It is suggested that better designs can be developed but that events in the actual sport situation may require adjustments in the intervention and evaluation processes.
Donald R. Marks
Despite valuable research regarding multicultural encounters in sport psychology settings, the mechanisms by which culture operates, including the ways that it is transmitted and learned, and the specific processes though which it exerts influence upon behavior, remain poorly understood. Research also has not addressed how a dimension of experience that is so fundamental could remain so transparent and reside so consistently outside the awareness of researchers, clinicians, and clients. Recent contributions to cultural psychology using an interactivist model provide a theoretical perspective through which clinical sport psychologists could conceptualize these challenging issues and address the complex behaviors observed in cross-cultural contexts. Interactivism offers a framework for investigating the internally inconsistent “polyphonic,” or multivoiced, nature of the self. In doing so, it highlights the need for investigative methods that can account for frequent discrepancies between implicit attitudes and observed behaviors, on one hand, and explicit attitudes and behaviors as endorsed on self-report measures, on the other.
Rebecca A. Zakrajsek, Jesse A. Steinfeldt, Kimberly J. Bodey, Scott B. Martin and Sam J. Zizzi
Although there appears to be greater acceptance and use of sport psychology (SP), fully integrating SP consultants and services into college athletic programs has yet to occur in most institutions. Decisions to initiate, continue, or terminate SP services are often made by coaches. Therefore, college coaches with access to services were interviewed to explore their beliefs and expectations about SP service use and how an SP consultant could work effectively with them and their athletes. Using consensual qualitative research methods, three domains in coaches’ perceptions of SP consultants were revealed: who they are, what they do, and how they do it. Findings illustrate the importance of being “on the same page” with coaches, developing self-reliant athletes, and making an impact while remaining in a supporting role.
Artur Poczwardowski, Clay P. Sherman and Keith P. Henschen
This article outlines 11 factors that a consultant may consider when planning, implementing, and evaluating psychological services. These factors are professional boundaries; professional philosophy; making contact; assessment; conceptualizing athletes’ concerns and potential interventions; range, types, and organization of service; program implementation; managing the self as an intervention instrument; program and consultant evaluation; conclusions and implications; and leaving the setting. All 11 factors represent important considerations for applied sport psychology professionals. Although consultants each have their own unique style and approach, these 11 factors are prerequisite considerations that form the foundation of a consultant’s effective practice. These guidelines may provide direction for a practitioner’s professional development, and as such, need time and commitment to be realized.
Brendan Cropley, Sheldon Hanton, Andy Miles and Ailsa Niven
This study offers an investigation into the concept of effective practice in applied sport psychology (ASP) with emphasis being placed upon the role that reflective practice may have in helping practitioners to develop the effectiveness of their service delivery. Focus groups (n = 2), consisting of accredited and trainee sport psychologists, were conducted to generate a working definition of effective practice, and discuss the concept of effectiveness development through engagement in reflective practices. The resulting definition encapsulated a multidimensional process involving reflection-on-practice. Initial support for the definition was gained through consensus validation involving accredited sport psychologists (n = 34) who agreed with the notion that although effectiveness is context specific it is related to activities designed to meet client needs. Reflective practice emerged as a vital component in the development of effectiveness, with participants highlighting that reflection is intrinsically linked to service delivery, and a key tool for experiential learning.
Andrew C. Sparkes and Sarah Partington
Narrative practice is an approach that enables researchers to alternately focus on the whats and hows of meaningful social interaction. The potential benefits of utilizing this approach in sport psychology are highlighted by focusing on the area of flow as an exemplar. It is suggested that the majority of work on flow has focused on the whats rather than on the equally important hows of this phenomenon. To illustrate the ways in which a concern for the hows of narrative practice can provide different insights into flow, data are provided from an interview-based study of a white water canoeing club. The findings suggest that describing flow is a relational performance, which is shaped by a number of narrative resources and auspices that operate differently according to gender.
Zöe Knowles, David Gilbourne, Victoria Tomlinson and Ailsa G. Anderson
In the UK, sport psychologists are presently supervised under the auspices of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES). In the present article, reflective practice is evaluated as a process that can facilitate the supervisory exercise in applied sport psychology (Anderson, Knowles, & Gilbourne, 2004). The material presented was collated via a 3-year longitudinal supervisory process based on the process of staged reflection (Knowles, Gilbourne, Borrie, & Nevill, 2001). The benefits of staged reflective development in the supervision process are highlighted, while differentiating between reflective techniques both in and on action. The present article also considers how different writing styles develop through the different phases of discussion and revisits the challenges associated with representing reflective practice.