This paper presents a reflective account of the sport psychology support work delivered across one season at a professional football academy by a neophyte practitioner. The development of the sport psychology program, referred to as Winning Mentality, was guided by Harwood and Anderson's (2015) 5C guidelines to psychological skills training.The Winning Mentality program outlined within this paper was delivered to the U9-U12 age groups and focused on the three key topics: (1) growth mind-set; (2) emotional control; and (3) confidence.The intervention comprised predominantly of classroom-based workshops delivered at the team level that focused on one topic per training cycle. Working with these young age groups uncovered a number of challenges that form the basis of this reflective account.Drawing upon child developmental literature was a necessity to ensure the effective matching of session content to the relevant age group. In addition, the heavily classroom-based nature of the program limited the youth footballers application of sport psychology techniques on the football pitch.Finally, opportunities to empower coaches with the knowledge and skills to apply psychological concepts within their training sessions should be welcomed.
Suzie Godfrey and Stacy Winter
Áine MacNamara and Dave Collins
The importance of psychological characteristics as positive precursors of talent development is acknowledged in literature. Unfortunately, there has been little consideration of the “darker” side of the human psyche. It may be that an inappropriate emphasis on positive characteristics may limit progress. Negative characteristics may also imply derailment or the potential for problems. A comprehensive evaluation of developing performers should cater for positive dual effect and negative characteristics so that these may be exploited and moderated appropriately. An integrated and dynamic system, with a holistic integration of clinical and sport psychology, is offered as an essential element of development systems.
William D. Parham
The ascendance of cultural sport psychology as a concentrated focus of academic inquiry is timely, and emergent investigations therein represent welcome areas of scholarship. The invitation embedded in this forthcoming discussion to sport psychology researchers and practitioners to stretch beyond their comfort zones is being extended with a request to consider pursuing sport psychology research and practice with a “more of thee and less of me” mindset. The North Star goals articulated herein are to stimulate avant-garde and imaginative thinking by expanding the concepts of reflective practice and reflexivity, thereby creating a portal through which to see how perceived stumbling blocks to overcoming traditional approaches to the study of sport psychology can be transformed into stepping stones. Six premises provide the context within which this discussion is presented. Collectively, these premises support and raise caution about the scientific method and suggest that the time has come to rethink commonly held beliefs about color-blindness, melting pot formulations, and alleged-to-be-absent historical and contemporary cultural influences on in-the-moment interpersonal interactions. A context-sensitive across-cultures communication model is offered as a way of synthesizing the premises and creating a portal through which to enter into new domains of investigative inquiry. Implications for the future of sport psychology relative to research, practice, training, and consultation will be offered for consideration.