It is maintained that a balance among theory testing, applied research, and dissemination, though an ideal goal for sport psychology, is not being achieved because theory testing has not kept pace. To explain the rise and decline of theory testing in sport psychology a historical perspective was used. Whereas sport psychology from 1950-1965 was characterized by empiricism, from 1966-1976 it was characterized by a social analysis approach used to test single theories with novel tasks in a laboratory setting. In contrast to the earlier approaches, it is recommended that contemporary sport psychologists (a) use more meta-analyses to recheck the conclusions of past reviews, (b) become less reliant on a single research method or setting, (c) avoid premature commitments to a theory, and (d) become less enamored with statistically based null hypothesis testing. A number of suggestions are offered and examples provided to encourage, where appropriate, the use of “strong inference,” a more eclectic employment of research methods and settings as well as statistical techniques to determine the strength of observed relationships.
Daniel M. Landers
Judy L. Van Raalte
Creating and delivering effective sport psychology programs for traveling groups of athletes is a challenging task, particularly when athletes have limited experience with international travel. Using key points from Poczwardowski, Sherman, and Henschen’s (1998) sport psychology service delivery heuristic, this paper provides a personal account of sport psychology services provided at the 16th Maccabiah Games. Guidelines for sport psychology consultants working and traveling with competitive athletes and teams at future international sporting events are provided.
Stuart J.H. Biddle, Stephen J. Bull and Carole L. Seheult
Associated with the rapid increase in the demand for, and supply of, sport psychologists in Britain, a number of ethical and professional issues have arisen. Although some of these may not be unique to Britain, they may shed light on important issues that can contribute to a wider, international dialogue. Specifically, the paper addresses issues associated with the establishment of the Code of Conduct and the Register of sport psychologists in Britain. In addition, the consultancy process is considered from what have been termed educational and clinical perspectives, with illustrative case-study examples. Future directions are discussed in the hope of stimulating informed debate in the international community of sport psychology.
Steven J. Petruzzello, Daniel M. Landers, Darwyn E. Linder and Don R. Robinson
In this paper we outline a sport psychology service delivery program that has been implemented at Arizona State University. We feel this is a unique program in that it is housed within, and funded by, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. The program has four major components: (a) an undergraduate psychological skills course, (b) psychological skills training programs for athletic teams and small groups of athletes, (c) individual psychological consultation for athletes, and (d) psychological skills seminars and consultations with coaches. Each of these components is explained in detail. In addition, information is presented regarding the future directions for the program.
Trent A. Petrie and C. Edward Watkins Jr.
As the field of sport psychology has evolved and become more focused on applied/practitioner issues, the need for interdisciplinary training has been noted. Little information exists, however, concerning the acceptability of sport psychology training in applied psychology programs. Thus, 41 counseling psychology programs and 41 exercise/sport science departments (matched pairs) were surveyed to determine their relative attitudes toward sport psychology research, training, and current professional issues. The exercise/sport science departments were found to offer more courses in sport psychology and to have more faculty and students interested in sport research. Over 70% of the counseling psychology programs, however, had students with sport psychology interests. In addition, the two academic areas reported equally high levels of acceptance concerning their graduate students pursuing sport psychology research and training. Mechanisms for promoting interdisciplinary training in sport psychology are discussed.
Emily A. Roper, Leslee A. Fisher and Craig A. Wrisberg
In 1995, Gill discussed women’s place in the history and development of sport psychology. However, no research to date has explored women’s experiences working in the field of sport psychology. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of professional women’s career histories and experiences in sport psychology. The study was framed by qualitative research, and eight professional women working in the field of sport psychology were interviewed. Analysis of the data produced themes in the categories of (a) entrance into sport psychology, (b) women’s status in sport psychology, (c) qualified obstacles, (d) the feminist sport psychologist, and (e) supporting women in sport psychology. Differences between co-participants were also noted regarding the extent to which various themes were or were not a part of their experiences.
Britton W. Brewer, Judy L. Van Raalte, Albert J. Petitpas, Alan D. Bachman and Robert A. Weinhold
To assess the way in which sport psychology is portrayed in the media, the content and tone of all articles (N = 574) from three national newspapers in the United States that mentioned sport psychology from 1985-1993 were examined. Although few articles were focused primarily on sport psychology, a wide variety of sports and professionals were identified in association with sport psychology. Interventions noted explicitly were predominantly cognitive-behavioral procedures. Performance enhancement was the primary purpose of sport psychology consultation described in the articles. The vast majority of articles were neutral in tone toward sport psychology, portraying the field in objective terms. The findings suggest that the mass media can be used to promote accurate perceptions of sport psychology to the public.
Paul Wylleman, Paul De Knop, Joke Delhoux and Yves Vanden Auweele
Academic background, consultation processes, and training and support were assessed with semistructured interviews among 18 sport psychology consultants (60% of total membership) of the Flemish Society of Sport Psychology. A total of 61% of consultants were trained as clinical psychologists, most with limited sport psychology background. Assessments revealed that interpersonal relationships skills and communication (63%) and fear of failure (55%) were the most common concerns, whereas stress management (54%), enhancement of relationship and communication skills (31%), and visualization and goal setting (31%) were used in interventions. Recommendations for enhancing the development of applied sport psychology in Flanders include specialization in sport psychology at the academic level, continued sport psychology consultation training, and a better coordination between sport psychology consultants and the world of sports.
James E. Loehr
This paper explores personal experiences in building a career in sport psychology and providing consulting services to professional tennis players. It describes the range of services provided, major client groups, and philosophy of service delivery. It reviews the overall training model used in service delivery as well as psychological assessment procedures used in consultation. It also describes how professional services were organized, type of services provided to specific client groups, and specific training components. Factors and issues influencing professional effectiveness and competence are explored. The importance of training and competence in all sport sciences are emphasized. The challenges and hardships encountered in building a successful career in this specialty are reviewed. The need for more effective and responsible applied technology and research is discussed.
Zella E. Moore
The primary purpose of this article is to expand the discussion about the role of science, clinical thinking, the state of the discipline, and the manner in which evidence-based practice may aid in the development of the field of sport psychology. Rejecting pseudoscientific principles and embracing sound scientific standards of research and practice will result in an increasingly fresh and vibrant field from which greater innovation and evolution can occur. This innovation will inevitably lead to a renewed commitment to theory building, as the evolving scientific database will drive new ways of thinking about the myriad of issues presented by athletic clientele. By embracing the evidence-based practice philosophy, not only will sound scientific advancements emerge, but most importantly, the overall well-being of our athletic clientele will be enhanced.