Butterflies, Magic Carpets, and Scary Wild Animals: An Intervention With a Young Gymnast

in Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 The Open University
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This article presents a reflective case example of a sport psychology consultation carried out with a 9-year-old gymnast during the final year of the consultant’s training to become a British Psychological Society–chartered sport psychologist. During this period of time, the author was under the supervision of an experienced applied sport psychologist. The article draws on the published research in applied sport psychology and the wider child development literature to inform and negotiate the challenges of a neophyte practitioner working in a relatively unfamiliar sport with a very young gymnast. The intervention, which took place over 6 months, involved a focus on psychological skills training. This article reflects on the intervention experience and makes observations that may be of benefit to both neophyte and practiced consultants working with very young children. Although the consultancy involved goal setting, relaxation, and commitment, the focus of this article is on those activities and skills that are specific to such a young athlete and that may be of interest to other practitioners in similar scenarios.

Karen Howells is with Sport and Fitness, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.

Address author correspondence to Karen Howells at karen.howells@open.ac.uk.
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