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Jim Taylor

This article explores the challenges of building a successful private consulting practice in sport psychology. The author examines the extant literature on the experiences of recent graduates as they enter the field of applied sport psychology and also describes how his own educational and early career experiences have shaped his practice. A four-part approach to consulting with athletes is outlined, along with detailed information regarding practice development, clientele identification, and fee structures. The personal qualities essential for creating a successful consulting practice in sport psychology are also explored. Finally, a five-stage model of career development provides guidelines for maintaining and growing a successful consulting practice.

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Vikki Krane

Martens (1987) and Dewar and Horn (1992) expressed the need for accepting diverse epistemological perspectives in sport psychology. This paper proposes feminism as an alternative approach to sport psychology research. Feminism grew out of dissatisfaction with “science-as-usual” that often overlooks the experiences of females and acknowledges that sport behavior does not occur in a value-free vacuum; male and female athletes are exposed to very different situations and experiences in sport. A reexamination of the knowledge base, with particular attention to the experiences of females, is needed. Because discontentment with logical positivism has led researchers in a variety of fields to adopt a feminist perspective, a brief critique of logical positivism is provided. A feminist paradigm and feminist methodologies are described, showing how they can enhance knowledge in sport psychology. Finally, examples of feminist inquiry in sport psychology are provided.

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Jim Taylor, Richard Horevitz and Gloria Balague

The present paper examines the value of hypnosis in applied sport psychology. The following issues will be addressed: (a) what is hypnosis?, (b) theoretical perspectives on hypnosis, (c) hypnotizability, (d) factors influencing the effectiveness of hypnosis, (e) misconceptions and concerns about hypnosis, (f) the hypnotic process, (g) research on hypnosis and athletic performance, (h) uses in applied sport psychology, and (i) training in hypnosis. These issues will be considered with respect to the particular needs of athletes and the specific demands of sport.

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Andrew T. Wolanin

Sport psychology has become an increasingly popular area of interest for psychologists and psychology students. In addition, it has become an integral part of many collegiate and professional organizations that rely on psychological services for both performance enhancement purposes as well as mental health services. A model for delivering sport psychology services through a doctoral training clinic from a practitioner-scientist perspective will be discussed, as well as the challenges that are faced from an organizational and professional perspective.

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Daniel Gould, Vance Tammen, Shane Murphy and Jerry May

The present investigation had three purposes. It (a) evaluated U.S. Olympic sport psychology consultants and the services they provide; (b) used Partington and Orlick’s (1987b) Consultant Evaluation Form (CEF) to examine effective sport psychology consultant characteristics; and (c) identified future sport psychology consultant and program needs. U.S. Olympic sport psychology consultants, sport science and medicine administrators, national team coaches, and athletes from various Olympic sports were surveyed. Results revealed that consultants were perceived in a favorable light across the four subsamples, which did not differ significantly in their effectiveness evaluations. The consultants also received high ratings on all 10 CEF consultant characteristics. Moreover, correlations between the consultant characteristic and effectiveness ratings revealed that fitting in with the team and drawing on athletes’ strengths were among the most important characteristics. Finally, the respondents identified the need to individualize sport psychology strategies as a major way for consultants to better meet athlete needs. Results are discussed relative to ways of improving applied sport psychology consultations with athletes and coaches.

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Michael McDougall, Mark Nesti and David Richardson

The challenges encountered by sport psychologists operating within elite and professional sports teams have arguably been inadequately considered (Nesti, 2010). It has been suggested that this may be due to the inaccessibility of elite team environments (Eubank, Nesti, & Cruickshank, 2014; Nesti, 2010). The purpose of this research was to examine the challenges facing practitioners who operate in elite environments and to illuminate how these were experienced. Qualitative interviews with six experienced applied sport psychologists were conducted and a narrative themed analysis undertaken. Four main themes emerged as most prevalent and meaningful: challenges to congruence, a broader role: managing multiple relationships, the influence of elite sport cultures, and surviving and thriving were presented in narrative form. Practitioners provided experiential insight into how specific challenges were understood and dealt with, and how they are able to provide an effective service while managing themselves and the demands of the environment.

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Elaine M. Blinde and James E. Tierney III

This study explored in depth the process by which sport psychology ideas and techniques are diffused into elite-level swimming programs in the United States. Three stages in the diffusion process were examined: initial exposure, degree of receptivity, and rate of implementation. A questionnaire designed to measure this diffusion process was mailed to the 165 Level 5 coaches in the U.S. Sources through which coaches are exposed to sport psychology were identified, as well as factors influencing levels of receptivity and implementation. Intercorrelations among initial exposure, receptivity, and implementation were also examined and factors were identified that may reduce levels of receptivity and implementation. Findings suggest that despite only a moderate degree of exposure, coaches are generally receptive and willing to implement sport psychology into their programs. Major obstacles to both receptivity and implementation were generally related to structural aspects of amateur swimming in the U.S. or the sport psychology community. Identification of such factors can help the sport psychology community improve the process by which its knowledge base is diffused into the sporting community.

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Stephen J. Page, Scott B. Martin and Valerie K. Wayda

The purpose was to assess athletes’ attitudes toward seeking sport psychology consultation (SPC) and to examine demographic variables in relation to attitudes toward sport psychology consultants (SPCs). Participants were 53 wheelchair basketball athletes (34 males, 19 females). Data were collected with the Attitudes Toward Seeking Sport Psychology Consultation Questionnaire (ATSSPCQ) of Martin, Wrisberg, Beitel, and Lounsbury (1997). Participants exhibited a range of stigmas toward SPCs, an openness toward consulting with an SPC, and a recognition of need for an SPC. ANOVAs indicated no significant differences between genders, races, ages, educational levels, and SPC experience on ATSSPCQ scores. The results suggest that some wheelchair athletes are amenable to the notion of utilizing an SPC and provide further impetus for SPCs to work with athletes with disabilities.

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Diane L. Gill

Women and women’s issues have a place in sport psychology today, but women have no place in most histories of the field. Some women sport psychologists, particularly Dorothy Harris, were instrumental in the development of sport psychology as a subdiscipline in the 1960s and 1970s. Re-searching the historical foundations reveals that the notable contributions of Harris and other women sport psychologists have roots in earlier work in both psychology and physical education. Pioneering women psychologists conducted research and challenged sexist assumptions and practices since psychology’s earliest days. At the same time, prominent women leaders developed women-oriented programs and contributed to the professional literature in physical education. Women and women’s issues have a place in sport psychology today, but too often that is an “other” or special interest place. By taking steps to re-place women in history and by engendering current research and practice, sport and exercise psychology will be a stronger science and profession.

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Diane L. Gill

Feminist sport psychology encompasses many approaches and has many variations. The articles in this special issue reflect that variation but also reflect common themes outlined in this introductory article. The feminist framework for this article begins with bell hooks’ (2000) inclusive, action-oriented definition of feminism as “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression” (p. viii). The following themes, drawn from feminist theory and sport studies scholarship, provide the supporting structure: (a) gender is relational rather than categorical; (b) gender is inextricably linked with race/ethnicity, class, and other social identities; (c) gender and cultural relations involve power and privilege; and (d) feminism demands action. Gender scholarship in sport psychology is reviewed noting recent moves toward feminist approaches and promising directions that incorporate cultural diversity and relational analyses to move toward feminist practice. The other articles in this issue reflect similar feminist themes and present unique contributions to guide us toward feminist sport psychology.