The purpose of this paper is to share and reflect on personal experiences of providing sport psychology support to an international lacrosse squad during their World Cup participation. Based on the needs analysis assessments from observation reports and informal communications, key areas of support included: (1) creating structure and routine, (2) facilitating team reflections, (3) goal setting, (4) game preparation, and (5) providing off-field support. Working with this team exposed the dynamic nature of sport psychology consultancy, and the unpredictability of what is required from a team in a high-performance setting. Individual consultancy through informal communications with players signaled the importance of supporting the person beyond their role as an athlete. Team-level support via group workshop sessions was predominantly performance-related, and required the adoption of solution-focused approaches given the time pressure on strategies to be effective. The support facilitated team organization and preparation, which enabled players to be both mentally and physically ready for each game. Establishing stable routines, game plans, and clear goals, and having adequate reflection and feedback time were reported by the players as important facets of their World Cup experience and success.
Philippa McGregor and Stacy Winter
Diane M. Culver, Wade Gilbert and Andrew Sparkes
A follow-up of the 1990s review of qualitative research articles published in three North American sport psychology journals (Culver, Gilbert, & Trudel, 2003) was conducted for the years 2000–2009. Of the 1,324 articles published, 631 were data-based and 183 of these used qualitative data collection techniques; an increase from 17.3% for the 1990s to 29.0% for this last decade. Of these, 31.1% employed mixed methods compared with 38.1% in the 1990s. Interviews were used in 143 of the 183 qualitative studies and reliability test reporting increased from 45.2% to 82.2%. Authors using exclusively quotations to present their results doubled from 17.9% to 39.9%. Only 13.7% of the authors took an epistemological stance, while 26.2% stated their methodological approach. We conclude that positivist/postpositivist approaches appear to maintain a predominant position in sport psychology research. Awareness of the importance of being clear about epistemology and methodology should be a goal for all researchers.
Brian D. Butki and Mark B. Andersen
A seven-item survey on training and ethics in publication and conference presentation was sent to 406 student members of the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology (AAASP). Students used a 5-point scale (1 = very poor to 5 = excellent) to rate the training and experience received from advisors and professors. Items included exposure to some formal ethical guidelines of publishing and authorship, explanation of the importance of publications and conference presentations, demonstration of enthusiasm toward student publishing or presenting at conferences, and receiving appropriate authorship (e.g., first, second, third) on publications or conference presentations. Return rate was 43%. Results show that although a majority of students feel they are receiving fair to excellent training in this area, a substantial number believe their training is inadequate. This suggests a need for more formal training and guidance in publication and conference presentation for graduate students in psychology and physical education/exercise science programs.
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.
Maureen R. Weiss and Brenda Jo Bredemeier
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.
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.
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.
Roy David Samuel and Gershon Tenenbaum
Throughout their careers, athletes may encounter various changes that interfere with their existing “athletic status quo.” During these transitional periods, change can occur in diverse levels of the athletic experience. In this paper we introduce a “scheme of change for sport psychology practice” (SCSPP) to describe typical characteristics of athletes’ change-events and processes. The SCSPP focuses on: (a) the stages that unfold as athletes encounter and address changes in their careers, and (b) the psychological-therapeutic process that might facilitate an effective personal change. The process of change is evaluated in terms of its meaning and significance for athletes, the associated decisions athletes make, and fluctuations in cognition and affect. In addition, we describe a therapeutic framework that includes a number of processes of change as interventions, which may facilitate consultants’ attempts to guide athletes who experience change-events, and factors that moderate these attempts. Avenues for research and practical implications are also provided.
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.