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.
Roy David Samuel and Gershon Tenenbaum
Jonathan R. Males and John H. Kerr
This paper examines the relationship between precompetitive affect and performance, using elements of reversal theory (Apter, 1982): a conceptual framework that incorporates a full range of pleasant and unpleasant moods. Nine elite male slalom canoeists completed questionnaires prior to each event of a season that included the world championships. Results were analyzed using a time-series model to make comparisons of each subject’s best and worst performance of the season. Predicted variations in precompetitive levels of pleasant and unpleasant mood did not occur, despite variations in subsequent performances. As predicted, good performances were preceded by low discrepancies between felt and preferred arousal levels, but there was no support for the hypothesis that a large discrepancy between perceived stress and coping efforts would precede a poor performance.
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.
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.
Ross Roberts, Mike Rotheram, Ian Maynard, Owen Thomas and Tim Woodman
The present investigation examined whether perfectionism might predict whether an athlete would suffer from the ‘yips’ (a long term movement disorder consisting of involuntary movements that affects the execution of motor skills). A sample of ‘yips’-affected individuals from golf, cricket, and darts as well as a sport-matched sample of non ’yips’-affected athletes completed the shortened version of Frost, Marten, Lahart, and Rosenblate’s (1990) multidimensional perfectionism scale (FMPS). Results revealed that three aspects of perfectionism (personal standards, organization, and concern over mistakes) were associated with a greater likelihood of suffering from the ‘yips’, indicating that ‘yips’ sufferers had an unhealthy perfectionism profile. The results highlight perfectionism as a possible antecedent of the ‘yips’ experience within sport.
Daniel Gould, Larry Lauer, Cristina Rolo, Caroline Jannes and Nori Pennisi
This study was designed to investigate experienced coaches’ perceptions of the parent’s role in junior tennis and identify positive and negative parental behaviors and attitudes. Six focus groups were conducted with 24 coaches. Content analysis of coaches’ responses revealed that most parents were positive influences and espoused an appropriate perspective of tennis, emphasized child development, and were supportive. In contrast, a minority of parents were perceived as negative, demanding and overbearing, and exhibiting an outcome orientation. New findings included parents’ setting limits on tennis and emphasizing a child’s total development, as well as the identification of behaviors that represent parental overinvolvement and that negatively affect coaching. Results are discussed relative to sport-parenting literature, and practical implications are outlined.
Stephen Mellalieu, David A. Shearer and Catherine Shearer
Interpersonal conflict is a common factor reported by governing bodies and their athletes when preparing for, or competing in, major games and championships (Olusoga, Butt, Hays, & Maynard, 2009). The aim of this study was to conduct a preliminary exploration of a UK home nation’s athletes, management, and support staff experiences of interpersonal conflict during competition. Ninety participants who had represented or worked for their nation at major games or championships completed a detailed survey of interpersonal conflict experiences associated with competition. The results suggest athletes, coaches, and team managers are at the greatest risk from interpersonal conflict, while the competition venue and athlete village are where the most incidences of conflict occur. Interpersonal conflict was also suggested to predominantly lead to negative cognitive, affective, and behavioral consequences (disagreement, anger, upset, loss in concentration). Findings are discussed in the context of the experience of the interpersonal conflict with provisional recommendations offered for developing effective strategies for conflict management.
This article provides a conceptual model that describes several critical aspects in the development of competitive mental preparation strategies: (a) a complete understanding of the specific needs of the athlete, (b) detailed knowledge of the particular demands of the sport, (c) integration of this information to identify the most critical psychological factors that will affect performance, and (d) a the development of the most effective competitive mental preparation strategies for the specific athlete. This discussion is presented in several stages. First, gaining an in-depth understanding of an athlete with the use of subjective and objective assessment is described. Second, the critical physical, technical, and logistical differences between sports are delineated. Third, the roles that key psychological factors play and what priority they should be given in each sport are discussed. Fourth, strategies that are most suitable to each mental factor within each sport are identified.
Lewis A. Curry and Sameep D. Maniar
The purpose of this paper is to describe content and methods of an academic course offered twice annually at an NCAA Division I University. With empirical support to the effectiveness of this academic approach to psychological skills training presented elsewhere (Curry & Maniar, 2003), the focus of this paper is on the type and extent of each intervention treatment during the 15-week semester course (Vealey, 1994). Course content includes applied strategies for best performance targeting, arousal/affect control, identifying purpose, goal setting, imagery, sport confidence, trust, flow, sport nutrition, on-/off-field problem solving, self-esteem, and life skills education on eating disorders and drug/alcohol abuse. Teaching methods include narrative story telling, small group activities, journal writing, cognitive-behavioral homework, brainteasers, and active learning demonstrations.
Leslee A. Fisher, Ted M. Butryn and Emily A. Roper
The central purpose of this paper is to speculate on the ways that sport psychology researchers, educators, and practitioners can use a cultural studies perspective to enhance their research and applied work. At base, cultural studies critiques and challenges existing norms and practices and examines how these practices affect people in their everyday lives (Hall, 1996a). Although cultural studies has been notoriously difficult to define (see Storey, 1996), most cultural studies projects deal with the interrelated issues of (a) social difference, (b) the distribution of power, and (c) social justice. In this paper, cultural studies is first defined, incorporating sport-related examples wherever possible. Next, key concepts in cultural studies including power, privilege, and praxis are explored. We then discuss how sport psychology scholars and practitioners might promote an “athletes-as-citizens” (Sage, 1993) model of service provision in the applied setting.