This case study focused on pressure, stereotype threat, choking, and the coping experiences of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team during the period from 2004-2011 leading into their success at the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC). Employing a narrative approach this case study examined public expectation, pressure, and coach-led coping strategies designed to “avoid the choke” by the All Blacks team. An in-depth interview was completed with one of the All Blacks’ coaches and analyzed via collaborative thematic analysis (Riessman, 2008). In addition multiple secondary data sources (e.g., coach & player autobiographies; media interviews) were analyzed via holistic-content analysis (Lieblich et al., 1998). Collectively these analyses revealed five key themes: public expectation and pressure, learning from 2007 RWC, coping with RWC pressure, decision-making under pressure, and avoiding the choke. Practical recommendations are offered for team sport coaches with respect to coping with pressure and avoiding choking.
Ken Hodge and Wayne Smith
Johannes Raabe, Tucker Readdy and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek
Coaching is characterized by an inherent pathos between the goals coaches hope to accomplish and those that are realized (Jones & Wallace, 2005). Coaches can actively enhance the likelihood of optimal outcomes through orchestration, a process of incremental coping intended to create improvement in performance (Jones & Wallace, 2005). The current study explored to what extent pathos also manifests in the lives of elite athletes and whether they engage in processes consistent with orchestration. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I student-athletes. Primarily deductive analysis of the qualitative data provided confirmation for four domains: (a) sources of ambiguity created by coaches, (b) other sources of ambiguity within student-athletes’ experiences, (c) attempted strategies for orchestrating the pathos, and (d) relationships are crucial for navigating the pathos. The findings potentially offer an approach to understanding the challenges athletes face, which allows coaches to more accurately provide assistance.
Paul A. Sellars, Lynne Evans and Owen Thomas
This study examined the perfectionism experiences of 10 elite perfectionist athletes (5 male and 5 female). Following completion of the Sport Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale-2 (Gotwals & Dunn, 2009), a purposeful sample of unhealthy perfectionists were interviewed in relation to the study aims. Several themes emerged from the data that related to: effects of perfectionism and its antecedents on sporting experiences, specificity and level of perfectionism, and the coping skills and techniques used to counter the potentially detrimental effects of perfectionism. The findings highlighted the multidimensional nature of perfectionism and the need for future research to further explore the efficacy of techniques athletes use to promote healthy and reduce unhealthy facets of perfectionism.
Robert J. Schinke, Gershon Tenenbaum, Ronnie Lidor and Andrew M. Lane
Within this opportunity to dialogue in commentary exchange about a previously conceived adaptation model, published in the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, we revisit the utility of our model (Schinke et al., 2012a) and consider Tamminen and Crocker’s (2014) critique of our earlier writing. We also elaborate on emotion and emotion regulation through explaining hedonistic and instrumental motives to regulate emotions. We draw on research from general and sport psychology to examine emotion regulation (Gross, 2010). We argue that when investigating emotion, or any topic in psychology, the process of drawing from knowledge in a different area of the discipline can be useful, especially if the existing knowledge base in that area is already well developed. In particular, we draw on research using an evolutionary perspective (Nesse & Ellsworth, 2009). Accounting for these issues, we clarify the adaptation framework, expand it, and arguably offer a model that has greater utility for use with athletes in relation to training and competition cycles and progressions throughout their career. We also clarify for the readership places of misinterpretation by the commentary authors, and perhaps, why these have resulted.
Mathew Dowling and Jimmy Smith
This investigation examined how Own the Podium (OTP) has contributed to the ongoing development of highperformance sport in Canada. In adopting an institutional work perspective, we contend that OTP’s continuance has not been the sole product of Canada’s success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games or lobbying efforts to secure additional funding. Rather, OTP’s permanence can also be explained as the by-product of the activities and actions of OTP itself and its supporting stakeholders to embed and institutionalize both the organization specifically and high-performance sport more generally in the Canadian sport landscape. In short, OTP’s continued existence can, in part, be explained by ongoing institutional work. To support our contentions, we draw on and analyze documentation that was either produced by, or significant to the development of, OTP. Our analysis identifies a number of OTP-related practices (e.g., tiering, hiring of high-performance advisors, and the creation and support of new high-performance sport programs) that have further institutionalized OTP and the norms, routines, and practices associated with high-performance sport. More broadly, our investigation draws attention to the importance of individual and collective actors in shaping institutional settings in sport.
Shaun D’Auria and Tim Gabbett
The purpose of this study was to investigate the physiological demands of field players in international women’s water polo match play.
Video footage was collected at the 13th FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup in Perth in 2002. Video recordings were analyzed using a simple hand-based notation system to record predefined activity durations, frequencies, and corresponding subjective intensities.
Average exercise bout duration was 7.4 ± 2.5 s and exercise to rest ratio within play 1:1.6 ± 0.6. The average pattern of exercise was represented by 64.0 ± 15.3% swimming, 13.1 ± 9.2% contested swimming, 14.0 ± 11.6% wrestling, and 8.9 ± 7.1% holding position. Significant differences existed between outside and center players for percentage time swimming (67.5 ± 14.0% vs 60.2 ± 13.3%, P = .002) and wrestling (9.9 ± 9.3% vs 18.4 ± 11.1%, P = .000). A significant difference was found in the number (P = .017) and duration (P = .010) of high-intensity activity (HIA) bouts performed each quarter for outside (1.8 ± 2.2 bouts, 7.0 ± 3.4 s) and center players (1.2 ± 1.5 bouts, 5.2 ± 3.4 s). Positional differences in HIA were the result of a significant difference (P = .000) in the number of maximal/near maximal swims (outside 1.2 ± 1.5 and center 0.5 ± 0.9 per quarter).
This study characterizes international women’s water polo match play as a highly intermittent activity. Swimming, particularly high intensity, has greater significance to outside players, whereas wrestling has greater significance to center players.
Brendan Burkett, Rebecca Mellifont and Bruce Mason
This study compared the components of the 15-m swimming start for 20 international male Olympic and Paralympic swimmers. The time, distance, and velocity components for freestyle swimming were measured. There were significantly (p < .05) different absolute and relative swim start measures among the swimming groups. Using stepwise regression three variables significantly influenced the start to 15-m time: (i) underwater velocity, (ii) free swim velocity, and (iii) whether the swimmer had cerebral palsy. This new knowledge provides useful information for swimmers and coaches on which components to prioritize, along with the practical applications of improving the streamline position to increase underwater velocity and to ensure that the transition from underwater to surface breakout occurs at the optimal time for maximum free swim velocity.
Daryl Marchant and Patrick McLaughlin
Innovative strategies were used to inform coaching practices regarding the skill of set-shot goal kicking in Australian Football (AF). An action learning approach was adopted including planning, data gathering, analyses and dissemination phases. Three distinct approaches were used to inform AF coaches of evidence and strategies to guide implementation, a) applying statistical trend data, b) applying expert knowledge, and c) applying biomechanical principles. Trend data from a full AFL season consisting of over 4,000 set-shots was used to inform coaches on numerous performance related parameters (e.g., distance, angle). Expert insider perspectives were generated through in-depth interviews with eight retired AF goal kicking champions. The past players had all kicked over 500 goals at the elite level and four had obtained AFL Hall of Fame or AFL Legend status. The related analyses produced six primary themes (a) correct technique (b) incorrect technique, (c) pre-kick routine, (d) mental skills (e) challenges/choices and (h) training. Third, biomechanical principles were applied to set-shot kicking with accompanying images and drills provided to coaches. A two year follow-up indicated the results were highly transferable to training and competitions. Coaches in sports that include closed skills may benefit from transferring where applicable these strategies to their sports.
Andrew Cruickshank, Dave Collins and Sue Minten
Stimulated by growing interest in the organizational and performance leadership components of Olympic success, sport psychology researchers have identified performance director–led culture change as a process of particular theoretical and applied significance. To build on initial work in this area and develop practically meaningful understanding, a pragmatic research philosophy and grounded theory methodology were engaged to uncover culture change best practice from the perspective of newly appointed performance directors. Delivered in complex and contested settings, results revealed that the optimal change process consisted of an initial evaluation, planning, and impact phase adjoined to the immediate and enduring management of a multidirectional perception- and power-based social system. As the first inquiry of its kind, these findings provide a foundation for the continued theoretical development of culture change in Olympic sport performance teams and a first model on which applied practice can be based.
Popi Sotiriadou, Jessie Brouwers, Veerle De Bosscher and Graham Cuskelly
Previous studies acknowledge the importance of sporting organizations’ developing partnerships with clubs for athlete development purposes. However, there are no studies that address the way partnerships influence athlete progression and pathways. This study explores interorganizational relationships (IORs) between a tennis federation and tennis clubs in their efforts to improve player development processes. Document analysis and semistructured interviews with representatives from clubs and the Flemish federation were used. The findings show that the federation and the clubs engaged in IORs to achieve reciprocity and efficiency. The federation anticipated gaining legitimacy and asymmetry, and clubs expected to develop stability. Formal and informal control mechanisms facilitated IOR management. The conceptual model discussed in this study shows the types of IOR motives, management, and control mechanisms that drive and influence the attraction, retention/ transition, and nurturing processes of athlete development.