The purpose of this study was to examine the production and regaining of collective efficacy within an elite sport team during a season. The fieldwork was possible because the author was an assistant coach on a women’s handball team participating in the World Championships and the Olympics. Acting as a participant observer during 1 year, the author observed efficacy-building processes from within the team. The fieldwork was supplemented by 17 qualitative interviews after the season. The study showed that production of collective efficacy was an interpersonal process, brought about by perceptions of previous performances, interpretations of team history, preparations for the upcoming contest, common rituals, and persuasive actions. When the team was confronted with failures, however, team-efficacy beliefs were vulnerable and needed constant reinforcement.
Christopher L. Stevenson
One underreported issue in the research on Christian athletes has been the difficulties these athletes experience in living with the demands and expectations of the dominant culture of elite, competitive sport. Data were derived from in-depth interviews with 31 elite athletes (23 males and 8 females), who were also professing Christians and associated with the evangelical organization, Athletes-in-Action. The athletes reported that it was by turning to or returning to an evangelical Christian faith that they were better able to cope with their problems and with the demands of the culture of elite, competitive sport. Discussion of these findings included a consideration of Coakley’s (1994) model “of conflict, doubt, and resolution,” which attempts to represent the conflicts experienced by Christian athletes in elite sport, and the approaches they take to assuage these conflicts.
Michael McDougall, Mark Nesti and David Richardson
The challenges encountered by sport psychologists operating within elite and professional sports teams have arguably been inadequately considered (Nesti, 2010). It has been suggested that this may be due to the inaccessibility of elite team environments (Eubank, Nesti, & Cruickshank, 2014; Nesti, 2010). The purpose of this research was to examine the challenges facing practitioners who operate in elite environments and to illuminate how these were experienced. Qualitative interviews with six experienced applied sport psychologists were conducted and a narrative themed analysis undertaken. Four main themes emerged as most prevalent and meaningful: challenges to congruence, a broader role: managing multiple relationships, the influence of elite sport cultures, and surviving and thriving were presented in narrative form. Practitioners provided experiential insight into how specific challenges were understood and dealt with, and how they are able to provide an effective service while managing themselves and the demands of the environment.
Veerle De Bosscher, Simon Shibli, Maarten van Bottenburg, Paul De Knop and Jasper Truyens
This article aims to make a contribution to comparative sport research and details a method for comparing nations’ elite sport systems less descriptively by measuring and comparing determinants of national competitiveness quantitatively. A mixed methods exploratory sequential design is used, consisting of two distinct phases. After qualitative exploration, a conceptual model was developed, revealing that there are nine sport policy dimensions or ‘pillars’ that are important for international sporting success. This article focuses on a second quantitative phase, where the model was tested in a pilot study with six sample nations to develop a scoring system. Data from each nation were collected through an overall sport policy questionnaire completed in each country, and through a survey with the main stakeholders in elite sport, namely athletes (n = 1090), coaches (n = 253), and performance directors (n = 71). Reflecting recognized principles of economic competitiveness measurement, this article demonstrates how 103 critical success factors containing quantitative and qualitative data can be aggregated into a final percentage score for the sample nations on each pillar. The findings suggest that the method is a useful way for objective comparison of nations, but it should not be isolated from qualitative descriptions and from a broader understanding of elite sport systems.
Katherine A. Tamminen and Peter R.E. Crocker
This paper is a critical commentary on the article “Adaptation Processes Affecting Performance in Elite Sport” (Schinke, Battochio, Lidor, Tenenbaum, Dube, & Lane, 2012). We review relevant literature and highlight theoretical and conceptual concerns regarding Schinke et al.’s model, particularly regarding their characterization of adaptation as a process versus an outcome, and the role of appraisals, emotions, emotional regulation, coping, and Fiske’s (2004) core motives within their model of adaptation. Adaptation or adjustment among elite athletes is a valuable area of research in sport psychology; however, Schinke et al.’s model oversimplifies the adaptation process and has limited utility among sport psychology researchers and practitioners.
Jasper Truyens, Veerle De Bosscher and Popi Sotiriadou
Research on elite sport policy tends to focus on the policy factors that can influence success. Even though policies drive the management of organizational resources, the organizational capacity of countries in specific sports to allocate resources remains unclear. This paper identifies and evaluates the organizational capacity of five sport systems in athletics (Belgium [separated into Flanders and Wallonia], Canada, Finland, and the Netherlands). Organizational capacity was evaluated using the organizational resources and first-order capabilities framework (Truyens, De Bosscher, Heyndels, & Westerbeek, 2014). Composite indicators and a configuration analysis were used to collect and analyze data from a questionnaire and documents. The participating sport systems demonstrate diverse resource configurations, especially in relation to program centralization, athlete development, and funding prioritization. The findings have implications for high performance managers’ and policy makers’ approach to strategic management and planning for organizational resources in elite sport.
Suzanne Cosh and Phillip J. Tully
Participation in elite-sport and education is stressful and can result in sacrificed educational attainment. A dearth of research, however, has explored the specific stressors encountered by student athletes and coping strategies used, resulting in limited knowledge of how to best support student athletes. Interviews with 20 Australian university student athletes were conducted and data were analyzed via thematic analysis. Interviewees reported encountering numerous stressors, especially relating to schedule clashes, fatigue, financial pressure, and inflexibility of coaches. Athletes identified few coping strategies but reported that support from parents and coaches was paramount. Athletes would benefit from upskilling in several areas such as effective use of time, self-care, time management, enhanced self-efficacy, and specific strategies for coping with stress. Coaches have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in facilitating successful integration of sport and education.
Andrew J.A. Hall, Leigh Jones and Russell J.J. Martindale
Sport Psychologist, 25 , 341 – 362 . doi:10.1123/tsp.25.3.341 10.1123/tsp.25.3.341 Hodge , K. , Henry , G. , & Smith , W. ( 2014 ). A case study of excellence in elite sport: Motivational climate in a world champion team . The Sport Psychologist, 28 , 60 – 74 . doi:10.1123/tsp.2013-0037 10
Rachel Arnold, David Fletcher and Jennifer A. Hobson
athletes and their teammates. As leadership and management are highly contextual in nature (cf. Avolio, 2007 ; Osborn, Hunt, & Jauch, 2002 ), we explore the elite sport context because previous work has concluded that “the way individuals are led and managed will become an increasingly important factor
Joseph O.C. Coyne, Sophia Nimphius, Robert U. Newton and G. Gregory Haff
also an international basketball squad and professional club TL data may be different due to different competitive schedules. Considering the nature of international elite sport and different coaching/training styles, it is very likely different sports and data sets within the same sport will possess