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Melinda Frey

Research has demonstrated that coaches experience stress because of the nature of their job and that stress can affect their physical and mental well-being (Richman, 1992; Wang & Ramsey, 1998). The purpose of the present study was to better understand coaches’ experiences with stress, the perceived effects of stress on their coaching performance, and their coping strategies. A semistructured interview approach was used with 10 NCAA Division I male and female head coaches. The five major themes that characterized the coaches’ experiences were contextual/conditional factors, sources of stress, responses and effects of stress, managing stress, and sources of enjoyment. The results are discussed in relation to Smith’s (1986) cognitive-affective model of stress. Opportunities for future research are suggested, and implications for practitioners who want to help coaches manage the stress of their profession are offered.

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Lorcan D. Cronin and Justine B. Allen

The present study explored the relationships between the coaching climate, youth developmental experiences (personal and social skills, cognitive skills, goal setting, and initiative) and psychological well-being (self-esteem, positive affect, and satisfaction with life). In total, 202 youth sport participants (Mage = 13.4, SD = 1.8) completed a survey assessing the main study variables. Findings were consistent with Benson and Saito’s (2001) framework for youth development. In all analyses, the coaching climate was related to personal and social skills, cognitive skills, goal setting, and initiative. Mediational analysis also revealed that the development of personal and social skills mediated the relationships between the coaching climate and all three indices of psychological well-being (self-esteem, positive affect, and satisfaction with life). Interpretation of the results suggests that coaches should display autonomy-supportive coaching behaviors because they are related to the developmental experiences and psychological well-being of youth sport participants.

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Ron A. Thompson

While college women in general are at risk for anorexia nervosa and bulimia, these disorders may present more of a problem for the student-athlete due to her weight/body consciousness and the pressure associated with athletic competition at the college or university level. This paper discusses the physical and psychological characteristics of each disorder, their etiology, and how each affects the life and performance of the athlete. Recommendations are offered regarding the role of the sport management team (i.e., sport psychologist, team physician, coach, athletic trainer, exercise physiologist) in assisting the eating-disordered athlete.

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Kathleen A. Martin, Sandra E. Moritz and Craig R. Hall

Research examining imagery use by athletes is reviewed within the context of an applied model for sport. The model conceptualizes the sport situation, the type of imagery used, and imagery ability as factors that influence how imagery use can affect an athlete. Three broad categories of imagery effects are examined: (a) skill and strategy learning and performance, (b) cognitive modification, and (c) arousal and anxiety regulation. Recommendations are offered for the operationalization and measurement of constructs within the model, and suggestions are provided for how the model may guide future research and application.

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Jack A. G. Marlow and Mark Uphill

This study explored the characteristics, contextual factors and consequences of counterfactual thoughts in seven elite athletes using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Counterfactuals were experienced regularly with self-directed and upward counterfactuals (cognitions about how things could be better) being most frequent. These upward counterfactuals typically occurred following performance that was below participants’ goals and expectations. These thoughts were perceived by participants to have a negative affect initially, and that they then led to facilitative behavioral consequences around learning and development. Some elements of counterfactual thinking could be used as a useful reflective tool to encourage elite athletes to problem solve and motivate cognitive, emotional and behavioral change to enhance future performance.

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Sanna M. Nordin and Jennifer Cumming

The effects of imagery direction on self-efficacy and performance in a dart throwing task were examined. Two imagery types were investigated: skill-based cognitive specific (CS) and confidence-based motivational general-mastery (MG-M). Seventy-five novice dart throwers were randomly allocated to one of three conditions: (a) facilitative imagery, (b) debilitative imagery, or (c) control. After 2 imagery interventions, the debilitative imagery group rated their self-efficacy significantly lower than the facilitative group and performed significantly worse than either the facilitative group or the control group. Efficacy ratings remained constant across trials for the facilitative group, but decreased significantly for both the control group and the debilitative group. Performance remained constant for the facilitative and the control groups but decreased significantly for the debilitative group. Similar to Short et al. (2002), our results indicate that both CS and MG-M imagery can affect self-efficacy and performance.

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Jane P. Sheldon

One’s perceived competence relates to participation and effort and can vary depending on the self-evaluation sources that athletes value. Ruble and Frey (1991) theorized that phase of skill development may affect one’s preference for different sorts of competence information. The present study tested Ruble and Frey’s model using a sample of 466 adult tennis players. Skill level was athletes’ United States Tennis Association rating. Participants rated the personal importance of tennis and the importance of different sources of self-assessment information. Results showed that beginners were more likely to value temporal comparisons, and advanced players were more likely to value social comparisons. Players rating tennis as highly important were more likely to value temporal comparisons and effort for self-assessment. The findings support Ruble and Frey’s model.

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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.

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Kristoffer Henriksen, Natalia Stambulova and Kirsten Kaya Roessler

The holistic ecological approach to talent development in sport highlights the central role of the overall environment as it affects a prospective elite athlete. This paper examines a flat-water kayak environment in Norway with a history of successfully producing top-level senior athletes from among its juniors. Principal methods of data collection include interviews, participant observations of daily life in the environment and analysis of documents. The environment was centered around the relationship between prospects and a community of elite athletes, officially organized as a school team but helping the athletes to focus on their sport goals, teaching the athletes to be autonomous and responsible for their own training, and perceived as very integrated due to a strong and cohesive organizational culture. We argue that the holistic ecological approach opens new venues in talent development research and holds the potential to change how sport psychology practitioners work with prospective elite athletes.

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Robert C. Eklund

In order to extend Gould, Eklund, and Jackson’s (1992a) investigation with 1988 U.S. Olympic wrestlers, Eklund (1994) reported results from a season-long investigation of cognition during performance among collegiate wrestlers. This manuscript expands the account of that season-long investigation by reporting precompetitive cognition and affect—the psychological experience immediately prior to match performance—associated with performance. Qualitative data were collected from 6 NCAA Division I wrestlers via indepth retrospective interviews regarding all-time best and worst performances within 2’days of 38 season matches. Observable patterns in the organization and content of precompetitive psychological experience were identified in high, moderate, and low quality performances and observations made regarding associations with the competitive psychological experience.