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.
Rebecca A. Zakrajsek, Jesse A. Steinfeldt, Kimberly J. Bodey, Scott B. Martin and Sam J. Zizzi
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.
Ted M. Butryn
Recently, there has been an increased effort to establish multicultural training programs for consultants working with diverse athlete populations. Although several authors have suggested that one aspect of such training is the examination of one’s biases related to race (Andersen, 1993; Martens, Mobley, & Zizzi, 2000), a systematic means of doing so has not yet been adequately discussed. In this article, I briefly discuss the field of whiteness studies, and the process of confronting what McIntosh (1988) has termed the “invisible knapsack of white privilege.” I then present the results of a life-history interview with a white male consultant, in which we discussed his changing sense of racial awareness and how he views his own white racial identity and the privileges associated with it. Finally, I discuss the results of a three-way discussion between myself, the consultant, and an African-American graduate student in sport psychology and present a preliminary account of white privileges specific to the applied field.
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.
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.
Mark B. Andersen, Tim Aldridge, Jean M. Williams and Jim Taylor
This study expanded the work of Waite and Pettit (1993) and contacted 75 graduate programs for lists of names and addresses of students who graduated between 1989 and 1994 (N = 731). Doctoral (n = 92) and master (n = 162) graduates completed a tracking survey (modified from Waite & Pettit), reporting their demographics, educational backgrounds, current positions, incomes, initial and future career goals, and supervised experiences. The majority of doctoral graduates have found positions in academia/research, and most of the master graduates were in some sport or sport psychology-related job. The majority of the master and doctoral graduates, however, reported that finding paying sport psychology work was difficult, and many expressed at least moderate levels of frustration with the progress of their sport psychology careers. The information from this study could be useful for advising current and potential graduate students about career options after graduation.
The growth of sport psychology has brought many positive advances and claims for achievement, but it has also brought controversy. Debate has beset the profession concerning classification (psychologist or consultant?), role (clinician or educator?), clientele (coach, athlete, or administrator?), ethics (whose purpose is to be served and who is being threatened?), and process (performance enhancement, winning, or personal fulfillment?). In this paper, the educational consultant in higher education is offered as a role model to help reduce the confusion and refocus attention on a more widely applicable role. Most sport psychologists today deal directly with athletes, usually elite athletes. However, as with physical skills, psychological skills require time and effort to fully develop. In order to address this time factor, this paper takes the stance that there is a growing need to train experts in the field to focus their efforts on the coach rather than the athlete. The consulting role, focus, and process suggested here could be of value to interested personnel at all levels of sport, and could provide a means for all participants to realize their fullest potential.
Brendan Cropley, Lee Baldock, Stephen D. Mellalieu, Rich Neil, Christopher Robert David Wagstaff and Ross Wadey
This study aimed to gain an insight into the general coping strategies used by sport psychology consultants (SPCs) based in the UK, and an in-depth understanding of their development and impact. To achieve these aims a mixed-method approach was adopted by means of two linked studies. In study one, BASES accredited and/or BPS chartered SPCs (n = 29) completed the modified COPE inventory (Crocker & Graham, 1995) to gain a better understanding of the general coping strategies used by practitioners. In study two, follow-up interviews (n = 6) with participants sampled from study one were conducted to explore how the reported strategies were developed, the perceived impact of coping/not coping with stressors, and how future SPCs may be better prepared for the stressful nature of consultancy. Findings suggested that the participants had a statistically significant preference to using problem-focused coping strategies. Further, the interviews suggested that coping strategies were primarily developed through reflection on experiences in different contexts. The impacts of coping/not coping and the practical development implications raised are discussed.
Rebecca A. Zakrajsek and Sam J. Zizzi
This study examined: (1) coaches’ attitudes and readiness to use sport psychology (SP) services immediately following a SP workshop; and (2) the impact of an educational intervention on coaches’ attitudes and usage patterns during a one-month follow-up. Ninety swim coaches participated in the SP workshop and a total of 53 swim coaches completed the one-month follow-up. The majority of the sample coached at the high school or age group level. Data provided some evidence for the impact of a SP workshop on stage of change, with approximately 13% of coaches moving from precontemplation to contemplation. Two-way mixed ANOVAs did not reveal significant interactions (group × time) and main effects for time found that coaches’ personal openness, behavioral control, self-efficacy, and intentions increased while perceived barriers decreased immediately post-workshop. Furthermore, changes in coaches’ perceived barriers, behavioral control, and self-efficacy were maintained at the one-month follow-up while personal openness and intentions returned close to baseline. Lastly, no differences were found between the stage-matched and control group with regard to behavioral SP usage patterns (e.g., contacting a SP consultant, seeking out more information about SP). However, approximately 40% of coaches accessed the website during the four-week follow-up. The appropriateness of the transtheoretical model of behavior change applied to SP service use with coaches will be discussed.
Mark H. Anshel
The purpose of this exploratory study was to ascertain the feelings of black male intercollegiate (Division I) football athletes about racial issues of personal concern as a sport participant. Twenty-six black football players volunteered to participate in the study. Through a structured interview technique, areas that were investigated included the players’ interaction with the (white) head coach, unique behavioral styles and needs of black versus white athletes, the extent to which these needs were recognized and met, and the effect of their sport environment on skilled performance. The subjects reported a general lack of sensitivity on the part of coaches to individual and sociocultural needs of black players. In particular, receiving negative feedback, a paucity of communication in general, and the lack of honesty and trust were the areas about which the subjects felt most strongly. Blacks unequivocally perceived a sense of unfairness, racism, and a general lack of psychological support by white coaches. Implications are given for providing sport psychology counseling to black athletes, especially by white consultants.