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
Ken Hodge, Graham Henry and Wayne Smith
This case study focused on the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team during the period from 2004 to 2011, when Graham Henry (head coach) and Wayne Smith (assistant coach) coached and managed the team. More specifically, this case study examined the motivational climate created by this coaching group that culminated in winning the Rugby World Cup in 2011. In-depth interviews were completed with Henry and Smith in March 2012. A collaborative thematic content analysis revealed eight themes, regarding motivational issues and the motivational climate for the 2004–2011 All Blacks team: (i) critical turning point, (ii) flexible and evolving, (iii) dual-management model, (iv) “Better People Make Better All Blacks,” (v) responsibility, (vi) leadership, (vii) expectation of excellence, and (viii) team cohesion. These findings are discussed in light of autonomy-supportive coaching, emotionally intelligent coaching, and transformational leadership. Finally, practical recommendations are offered for coaches of elite sports teams.
Ken Hodge, Chris Lonsdale and Susan A. Jackson
In this exploratory study, we examined hypothesized antecedents (basic psychological needs) and consequences (dispositional flow) of athlete engagement (AE); plus the extent to which AE mediated the relationship between basic needs and flow. Structural equation modeling with a sample of 201 elite Canadian athletes (60.20% female, mean age = 22.92 years) showed that needs satisfaction (particularly competence & autonomy) predicted athlete engagement (30% explained variance); and needs satisfaction and athlete engagement predicted dispositional flow (68% explained variance). AE partially mediated the relationship between needs satisfaction and flow. Practical suggestions are offered for needs-supportive coaching programs designed to increase both AE and flow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Carsten H. Larsen, Dorothee Alfermann, Kristoffer Henriksen and Mette K. Christensen
The purpose of this article is to present practitioners and applied researchers with specific details of an ecological-inspired program and intervention in a professional football (soccer) club in Denmark. Based on an ecological agenda, the aim is to reinforce the culture of psychosocial development in the daily practice of a professional football academy, provide the skills required to succeed at the professional level and create stronger relations between the youth and professional departments. The authors suggest six principles as fundamental governing principles to inform an intervention inspired by the holistic ecological perspective. Descriptions of the intervention program and findings are presented in four interconnected steps. Insights are provided into delivery of workshops, the supervision of the coach, on-pitch training, evaluation of the program, and integrating sport psychology as a part of the culture within the club.