Who Do You Think You Are? Reflections on the Foundations of Being a Sport Psychologist

Blog Editors’ Note: In the following two posts we first republish, with permission*, an article from 2009, and then the author, Mark B. Andersen, provides an update and comment on what he wrote almost a decade ago.

 

Performance Enhancement as a Bad Start and a Dead End: A Parenthetical Comment on Mellalieu and Lane

*First published in The Sport and Exercise Scientist, 2009, Issue 20. Published by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences – www.bases.org.uk

Mark B. Andersen
University of Halmstad (Sweden)
and
Private Practice, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Recently, I read with considerable interest the debate between Steve Mellalieu and Andy Lane published in the March 2009 issue of The Sport and Exercise Psychologist. What struck me most was not the arguments about often fuzzy anxiety constructs and the arbitrary metrics used to assess them (see Andersen et al., 2007 for a discussion of the problems of arbitrary metrics in applied sport psychology research), but rather the parenthetical statements about performance enhancement that opened and closed the debate. Mellalieu stated in his opening paragraph, “As sport psychologists, our principal goal is, arguably, to enhance performance” (p. 28). I like the “arguably” part of that sentence. This principal goal statement is not countered until Lane’s penultimate paragraph (closing the debate with a broadside shot) where, bless him, he cites me and suggests that the principal focus of psychologists working in sport settings should be the health, welfare, and happiness of those we serve.

In 2008 I presented a keynote address at the Australian Psychological Society titled, “Sport Psychologist as Performance Enhancer: Pulling the Plug on a Terminal Patient,” which may have ruffled some feathers. So my prejudices about what is wrong with sport psychology are clear, and I would like to “arguably” argue that the focus on performance enhancement started us out on the wrong foot and that the continued emphasis on that goal will keep sport psychology in its marginal (and nearly dead end) position as a sport science and a professional practice.

I think a little history is in order. Two major sports professions, athletic trainers (a sport physiotherapy-like profession) and strength and conditioning professionals, developed in the 1960s and 1970s from humble beginnings (e.g., the National Strength and Conditioning Association had 76 members in 1978), but now, the major associations for these professions each have over 30,000 members worldwide. Sport psychology started out equally humbly in the 1960s and 1970s, but today, the two most visible organisations (i.e., Association for Applied Sport Psychology [AASP] and the International Society of Sport Psychology) combined could probably not boast more than 2000 members (considerable dual membership). So why have athletic training and strength and conditioning flourished over the years, while sport psychology remains a relative backwater that appears to suffer from a retarded development (by about a factor of 15!) in comparison to these other professions? I don’t know the answer, but I have some suggestions.

One serious problem is that sport psychology seems to attract an inordinate number of self-promoters and charlatans who leave trails of alienation behind them making it a continuing slog for trained professionals to gain respect. There are too many poorly trained people and media glamour hounds who tarnish the field’s reputation. In Australia we have a couple of sport psychologists who appear often in the media, especially when a famous athlete is in some sort of crisis. They are more than willing to comment about these athletes’ mental states even though they have never met them. They perpetuate the damaging and weirdly self-serving myth that psychologists are mind readers. I cringe every time I see them on television; too many sport psychologists seem comfortable discussing publically their work with famous athletes. Even if permission was granted from the athlete, it is still exploitation in the service of the sport psychologist. The most bizarre charlatan I met was a man who called himself a sport psychologist and claimed that he could adjust the misaligned “psychic auras” of athletes in order to enhance their performances. Even among the “legitimate” sport psychologists I have encountered over the last 25 years, about half of them leave me wondering whether they would be of any help to athletes and coaches. They have too much personal baggage they are working out (at the expense of their athletes), or they are just plain incompetent. That sounds harsh, but I would say the same thing about clinical and counselling psychologists. The psychological professions seem to attract well over their fare share of exploitative, needy, and narcissistic folks. The above problems, along with societal prejudices, stereotypes and media portrayals in film and TV of crazy or sexually exploitative psychologists may account for some of the limited growth in the field. Such external problems are not something we can do much about, so we might want to look at some internal professional issues over which we have some control.

The other more fundamental problem is the focus on performance enhancement. Back in the 1960s and 1970s we set ourselves a trap with our claims to be able to enhance performance. If we had delivered on those claims, then I would think there would be much more than 200 AASP certified consultants (approximate current number). When the research on our claims of performance enhancement is closely examined there are relatively few studies that use real competitive athletes (not analogue samples) undergoing psychological skills training interventions in randomised controlled trials, with actual real-world competition performance (not laboratory tasks or simulated competitions) as the dependent variables, showing a direct connection between our interventions and performance improvements. And for those studies that do meet such strict evidence-based criteria, the results are equivocal. And that’s just the first problem with a performance enhancement focus.

Sport psychologists claiming their interventions will enhance performance smacks of professional hubris. A softer kind of claim would be that sport psychologists may help some athletes learn some mental (and physical) strategies that might be useful for athletes when it comes to the acid test of real competition. On the day of competition, however, as every coach knows, all bets are off. Performance in real competition is “multi-multi-determined” and having some mental skills under their belts is no assurance that things will go to plan. Yet, sport psychologists still insist that their interventions will work. Strength and conditioning professionals would claim that their programmes will increase strength or fitness, and they have the numbers to prove it (e.g., lifting more weights, jumping higher, longer time to exhaustion), but the claims stop there. The strength and conditioning professional can say to the coach ”You asked me to help the athlete become stronger and fitter, and here are the numbers to show I did my job. I certainly hope the athlete can tap into these improved abilities on the day they are really needed.” What can a performance enhancing sport psychologist say? ”You asked me to improve an athlete’s mental skills, and here are the numbers to prove it?” And what numbers are those? Scores on a facilitative anxiety scale or a mental toughness inventory? Those numbers are arbitrary metrics and have no clear meaning, whereas increasing one’s vertical jump by 8 cm is both a meaningful and significant improvement for sports where jumping plays a role. Making the softer claim would be wise, but too many sport psychologists make the stronger claim, and such claims rest on sandy foundations.

Foregrounding performance enhancement as our métier places a behaviour above the person, and that placement sits on a slippery slope that can lead to dehumanisation, exploitation, and other forms of abuse. Why isn’t our focus on the full range of what may be encountered when we look at whole people rather than specific behaviours? Even when we focus on performance, we have to see how sport behaviour fits, or doesn’t fit, in the lives of those we serve. An 800-metre run does not take place in a vacuum. All the relaxation exercises, or attempts to change beliefs that anxiety helps performance, in the world will probably have little effect on competition anxiety if those fears are tied to some dire imagined and real consequences of failure such as parental psychological abuse, the withdrawal of love, and feelings of worthlessness and emptiness.

There is also the problem of performance enhancers not understanding that interventions may or may not work because the core of behavioural, cognitive or emotional change is probably not the interventions. Positive (or negative) outcomes of sport psychology interventions most likely have more to do with the quality of the relationships between athletes and practitioners. We know this is true in psychotherapy and counselling (Sexton & Whiston, 1994). Some practitioners in our field have addressed this “relationship core” of service (e.g., Petitpas et al., 1999), and my colleagues and I have made it our professional mission to spread this relationship litany.

Performance enhancers seem so focused on maladaptive behaviours and emotions (and interventions to ”fix” those problems) that they leave themselves out of the equation. Sport psychologists, their personalities, and their abilities to form caring, non-contingent, positive relationships (I would even say ”loving” here, but I might be misunderstood by some) are what fuel change, not some cognitive restructuring intervention per se. Not understanding these dynamic interpersonal processes in service almost amounts to professional myopia.

In an athlete’s world, the sport psychologist who focuses on whole athletes and their worlds, their happiness, and their welfare may be one of the only people who doesn’t have a contingent agenda (e.g., enhancing the athlete’s performance). Such a sport psychologist may be the only haven the athlete has where weakness, doubt and fear can be expressed and then embraced and cared for. In our collaborative efforts with athletes we hope to model what a caring non-contingent human relationship is and possibly combat the other pathogenic contingent relationships we find in many other areas of sport. If we are performance enhancers, then we are not much different than a coach with a performance agenda.

In defence of performance enhancement, I must say that I have met several athletes who wanted only to learn mental skills and not explore any other aspects of their lives, and I was happy to teach them those skills. And then they went on their way. More commonly, however, athletes start out expressing a desire to learn mental skills and then a few weeks or a few months later, they begin to want to talk about what is really bothering them. Learning mental skills was a means to plucking up the courage to talk about an eating disorder, dealing with an alcoholic parent or relationship problems. In time rapport, trust and liking grow as the working relationship develops, and it is the caring, holding relationship that helps the athlete get to the heart of the matter. Shane Murphy, probably the most famous Australian in sport psychology and former head of sport sciences at the US Olympic Committee Training Centre in Colorado Springs, once wrote:

“The sport psychology literature is filled with texts that describe techniques and interventions. Although many of these works are excellent, they leave the lingering impression that sport psychology is the sum of such interventions as goal setting, visualization, and attention-control training. Yet the practicing sport psychologist realizes that knowledge of such techniques is but the first step in a long journey toward gaining proficiency in actually being able to help athletes. . . . [reflecting] on my own work with elite athletes, . . . [I] observe how infrequently I ever do straightforward interventions such as those we see studied so often in our journals (Murphy, 2000).” Shane is one of my models for what it is to be a sport psychologist.

We have had over 40 years of performance enhancement, and where has it got us? In comparison to other sport-related professions that grew up during the time of sport psychology’s development, we haven’t come very far at all. It may be time to switch focus. One of the most respected (and loved) exercise physiologists at the Australian Institute of Sport, Dr David Martin, believes that the main goal of applied exercise physiology service delivery to Australia’s top athletes is their happiness, and that the key to success is the relationships the physiologists develop and nurture with those in their care. If an eminent exercise physiologist can take such a stance, then why can’t we?

I’ll end with a story about psychological services to athletes in Australia. The Australian (Rules) Football League Players’ Association (AFLPA) hired a graduate of a professional doctoral sport psychology program to direct and coordinate psychological services to current and former players and their families. The service is strictly confidential so even coaches do not know who is receiving care. The approach is the health, welfare and happiness of footballers. The director contracts a raft of psychologists around Australia to provide service. Business is booming, and the director is constantly looking for more psychologists to help meet the AFLPA’s needs. What percentage of the service is performance enhancement-related? It may not be quite 0%, but it’s not more than 3%. Like the AFLPA’s programme and focus, let’s try something else and then maybe we will develop a widespread positive reputation and make substantial contributions to the lives of athletes and coaches.

References

Andersen, M. B., McCullagh, P. & Wilson, G. (2007). But what do the numbers really tell us? Arbitrary metrics and effect size reporting in sport psychology research. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 29, 664-672.

Murphy, S. M. (2000). Afterword. In Doing Sport Psychology (edited by M. B. Andersen), pp. 275-279. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Petitpas, A. J., Giges, B. & Danish, S. (1999). The sport psychologist-athlete relationship: Implications for training. The Sport Psychologist, 13, 344-357

Sexton, T. S. & Whiston, S. C. (1994). The status of the counselling relationship: An empirical review, theoretical implications, and research directions. The Counseling Psychologist, 22, 6-78.

 

Reflections From an Island in the Tasman Sea

Mark B. Andersen (2018)

Much has happened in the almost nine years since I wrote this article. I have retired from academia, except for a 10% professor position at University of Halmstad (Sweden). I no longer train future Australian psychologists with expertise to work in sport, health, and exercise settings. Leaving that rewarding work has been both a poignant loss and a welcomed relief, but that’s a long tale. The short version is that I made my exit from my university on mainland Australia in 2014 and moved to the Jewel in the Crown of the Antipodes: Tasmania. Here I work as a clinical psychologist and supervisor, engaging in my two great loves: psychotherapy and supervision. I am a long, long way, both literally and figuratively, from sport psychology service delivery.

I haven’t seriously looked at this article in years, and as I read it over for this blog post, I was a bit taken aback by how indignant, self-righteous, and arrogant I sound in places. I am fairly positive I was angry at the time I wrote it, but that would be nothing new. I get angry with the field of sport and exercise psychology (and some individuals within it) on a regular basis. I probably need to get myself back into psychotherapy (once again) to figure out the roots of some of my emotional dysregulation. These days I, of course, still get angry and righteously indignant over what I perceive to be boneheaded ideas in research (e.g., mental toughness, mistaking maps for territories) and practice (e.g., mindfulness as a performance enhancement tool in a sport psychologist’s toolbox), but after years of meditative practice I can (sometimes) watch that indignation and anger rise and fall away and recognize their essential emptiness. At other times I still get hooked into indignation (it kind of feels good to be pissed off) and can’t seem to let go. But I am working on it.

In re-reading the 2009 article, I think I overemphasised the importance of relationships in service probably because of the under-emphasis of these interdependency and transference and countertransference configuration dynamics in much of the sport psychology literature. There are plenty of situations where the interventions are probably much more important than the working relationships and positive transferences. For example, if an athlete came to me with a fear of flying and was headed to her first international competition that would involve several connecting long flights, and she said, “I really have to get over this, or I am going to be a wreck when I get to Europe,” then I would say, “Well, you are in luck. We have a great treatment for fear of flying. It’s called systematic desensitisation, and here is how it works . . . ”

Her relationship with me will naturally play a role in the treatment’s success, but what will probably most determine how well she does is her daily practice of relaxation and how diligently she applies the simulated behavioural “exposure experiments” such as packing her bags, driving to the airport, and sitting in the terminal while returning over and over again to her relaxation (autogenic self-suggestions, mindful breath, PMR, or whatever other down-regulating practices fit best with her). The quality of our relationship will undoubtedly help (e.g., her faith in me and my faith in the treatment), but it will almost certainly be the intervention, more than the relationship, that will get her to Europe in good shape.

I think, however, that the message about relationships in service still stands up after nearly a decade. Much of trauma and damage (e.g., low self-esteem, not being good enough, unworthiness), and much of healing occur within social contexts (e.g., having a loving coach, working with a compassionate sport psychologist). For example, it would be hard to argue against the influence of the coach-athlete relationship on an athlete’s happiness, well-being, self-esteem, and even performance. For me, the development of a positive, caring, compassionate model of what is best in human relationships between a sport psychologist and an athlete sits as a transtheoretical goal for service regardless of what model of treatment is being used (e.g., CBT, PST, ACT).

Back on mainland Australia, when I used to coordinate a master degree course for training students to become: (a) psychologists first, and (b) psychologists with expertise in working in sport and exercise settings second, we started out with two closely intertwined overarching foundations (yes, I know overarching foundations is oxymoronic, but I like it because it goes all the way from the top to the bottom): (a) initiating, maintaining, and growing positive, caring non-judgemental human relationships with clients, and (b) developing the intra- and interpersonal qualities of the students to resemble, in as many ways as possible, those therapeutic aspects of helping professionals that Rogers (1957/1992) described several decades ago. In various more recent interpretations, those qualities would be congruence, genuineness, authenticity, unconditional positive regard, non-judgement, presence, and empathy. That is a tall order for a trainee (or even a senior) psychologist, and Rogers recognised that these qualities are aspirational. As he stated, “It is not necessary (nor is it possible) that the therapist be a paragon who exhibits this degree of integration, of wholeness, in every aspect of his life” (1992, p. 828). The goals with these foundations are not to become amazing, perfect psychologists, but rather to become, in a Winnicottian (1971) sense, good enough psychologists with all their strengths and weaknesses and still doing their best.

Much of the article I wrote in 2009 railed against, what I still believe, is a narrow, problem-focused emphasis on performance in sport psychology, but that emphasis is a product of how we have been trained, how we are training, and how we will train sport psychologists in the future. If one’s training is primarily performance enhancement then that becomes one’s hammer and one’s nail. And that is fine. I know a lot of people who do only PST with their sport clients, and they do great work. I think most all of the models used by sport psychologists from PST to existential psychology are all paths to the same place: helping athletes and coaches develop more integrated brains that function better in daily life and in the high pressure environments of competition. All our brains are highly social organs, and the story of what happens to brains between clients and therapists (and athletes and coaches) is a tale for another time (see Cozolino, 2017).

Another problem with a performance-enhancement agenda is that it may bleed over to the sport psychologist’s ”performance” in helping athletes get better results, and then our evaluations of work (and worth) as psychologists may become dependent of our clients’ performances. Many neophyte sport psychologists secretly feel that they are crap at their jobs (”I don’t know what I am doing”, ”I don’t have enough knowledge”), and if a measure of a psychologist’s skill or worth is something like ”improved sport performance,” which is determined by a whole hell of a lot of other things besides time spent with a psychologist, then the professional self is going to end up taking a lot of big blows. Here again is the trap of marketing oneself as a performance enhancer. If the athlete or team doesn’t improve, then the psychologist obviously isn’t capable of doing the job he was hired for and may be at risk of losing it. More feeling like crap.

I didn’t have room to focus on training in the 2009 article, but training is what determines what sorts of questions are asked and answered, what sorts of services are delivered and which ones are not, and if we, as a profession, want to change our perspectives and models of service, then we have to start at the education and training levels. One path that my students and I have found helpful to address both the professional-client relationships and the therapeutic qualities of the sport psychologist is intra- and interpersonal mindfulness. I just about cringed when I wrote the word mindfulness.

The proliferation, commercialisation, marketing, and general touting of mindfulness as a kind of panacea (du jour) has left me bemused, alarmed, disappointed, and, my go-to response: angry. In the sport and performance psychology literature, mindfulness has entered the scene, primarily, as yet another “technique” to improve performance, as something one “teaches” clients, and not so much as way for sport psychologists to be in their lives and in their service to others, but there are some exceptions. For example, in a recent text on mindfulness and performance psychology (Baltzell, 2016), most of the chapters are about using mindfulness in service of performance, which is what one would expect, but three of the chapters (e.g., Giges & Reid, 2016) are dedicated to the mindfulness of practitioners and how mindfulness may help with self-awareness, staying present with clients, empathy, and non-judgement. Seeing this shift, or expansion, of focus when it comes to mindfulness in sport psychology service delivery is heartening. I hope it continues.

Almost Done Ranting (again)

Here near the end of these reflections comes some quite mindful, but shameless, self-promotion. A couple years ago, my good friend and long-time colleague, Sam Zizzi, seduced me into editing a book on mindfulness in sport psychology (Zizzi & Andersen, 2017). He knew of my antipathy toward narrow-focused, performance-based uses of mindfulness, and he promised that we would write and edit a book that had a much more practitioner- and student-training focus along with the many pathways opened up by mindful approaches. He pushed all the right buttons, and I am so pleased that we have a book that speaks to the intra-and interpersonal mindfulness of practitioners and students, and the chapters that do have a focus on performance also include the mindfulness of the practitioner working with the athlete (see Waterson’s chapter). There is a case study of the mindful sport psychologist and how he got that way (see Sebbens’ chapter), and there is also another study of a sport injury researcher and his interpersonal mindfulness with his participants in his doctoral research (see Ivarsson’s chapter). Mindfulness can be a tool in a performance enhancement toolbox, but it can also be much more. And so here I am again ranting about limited foci in applied sport psychology, but, I will finish this section with something Sam and I wrote in the preface (Andersen & Zizzi, 2017) of our book about mindfulness:

We [Mark & Sam] are logically inconsistent in that, in many ways, we are both idealists and realists. Our internal (nonexistent) idealist homunculi see mindfulness as a path to helping alleviate human unhappiness, and Mini-Sam and Mini-Mark balk at its use for performance enhancement and its diminished application in sport and exercise psychology. Our realist selves, however, counter that position with statements such as, “Give it a rest! Get over yourselves, and stop being so precious. Who cares how mindfulness is being used in sport? A little mindfulness is better than no mindfulness at all.” And maybe that is our hopeful resolution to our internal contradictions: that students and practitioners who read this book take some mindfulness, no matter what the form, and make places in their hearts and in their interactions with those they serve for this compassionate, human, and humane path. (pp. xiv-xv)

Final Reflections, or Maybe Refractions?

                      To be honest, the piece I wrote in 2009 for The Sport and Exercise Scientist was a bit (well, maybe more than “a bit”) of a tirade about what I felt had gone wrong, and was still going wrong, with applied sport psychology service. In writing this piece in 2018, as a type of reflection on 9 years ago, I am pulled back to the optical meaning of reflection, which is light hitting a surface and changing direction (as in a mirror), and it seems that after my self-righteous rant, I did suggest a “reflection” or change in direction from performance enhancement to the health, happiness, and welfare of those we serve and to the strong, caring, and compassionate bonds we form with them.

For this blog post, I seem to be more in a refractive mode. In refraction, light moves from one medium to another and gets bent in some ways (I like the word bent). A simple example is light moving from air into water, but a metaphorical story of refraction that resonates with me is a light beam of applied sport psychology hitting glass. If it hits a flat pane of glass at a 90° angle, it doesn’t get bent much, and what comes out the other side is the same old, same old. If that same beam of white service light hits a metaphoric prism of mindfulness glass at 45°, then its component light waves get spread out and bent at literally millions of different angles that illuminate all sorts of applications, theories, and possibilities for applied sport psychology practitioners and students such as: the mindfulness of the sport psychologist; interpersonal mindfulness and neurobiology; relationships and interdependency; Buddhist philosophy; Islamic or Christian or Judaic prayer and meditation; presence, attunement, and resonance with clients; paying attention to muscles in PMR; using the mindful, observing self to listen to self-talk; sitting in observation and non-judgement; realisation of no-self; applications to coaching education and training; self-awareness, Freud’s stance in therapy of evenly suspended attention; William James’s stream of consciousness; modelling acceptance for clients; making room in love for hate; and for performance enhancement, opening to this moment, right here, right now with curiosity and fascination; and this list goes on and on. In another word: a rainbow.

References

Andersen, M. B., & Zizzi, S. J. (2017). Preface. In S. J. Zizzi & M. B. Andersen (Eds.), Being mindful in sport and exercise psychology: Pathways for practitioners and students (pp. xi-xv). Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.

Baltzell, A. L. (Ed.). (2016). Mindfulness and performance: Current perspectives in social and behavioral sciences. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Cozolino, L. (2017). The neuroscience of psychotherapy: Healing the social brain (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Norton.

Giges, B., & Reid, G. (2016). Awareness, self-awareness, and mindfulness: The application of theory to practice. In A. L. Baltzell (Ed.), Mindfulness and performance: Current perspectives in social and behavioral sciences (pp. 464-487). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Rogers, C. (1992). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60, 827-832. (Original work published 1957)

Winnicott, D. W. (1971). Playing and Reality. New York, NY: Routledge.

Zizzi, S. J., & Andersen, M. B. (Eds.). (2017). Being mindful in sport and exercise psychology: Pathways for practitioners and students. Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.

Self-Promotion Section

Even though Mark has retired from academia, he is still writing and editing books and articles. Here are his latest three books and links to more information about them:

Andersen, M. B., & Hanrahan, S. J. (Eds.). (2015). Doing exercise psychology. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Gibbs, P. M., Andersen, M. B., & Marchant, D. B. (2017). The Athlete Apperception Technique: Manual for sport and clinical psychologists. Abingdon, England: Routledge.

Zizzi, S. J., & Andersen, M. B. (Eds.). (2017). Being mindful in sport and exercise psychology: Pathways for practitioners and students. Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.

Prof Mark B. Andersen
University of Halmstad, Sverige

Clinical Psychologist
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Email: mark.andersen@hh.se

Annonser

Top in je Kop: How young athletes in The Netherlands are improving their mental skills behind their computer

We are proud to have Mark Schuls as guest author for our blog. Enjoy his text about his work with online training for youth athletes.

The Internet provides alternative ways of delivering sport psychology services to athletes. It has some advantages compared to classical methods of mental training, like face-to-face consulting and workshops. Maybe the most important one, is that the threshold to start is much lower. Also, people differ in the way they learn. Where some people learn by interaction with others, others like to read and reflect on themselves.

I am working as a sport psychology consultant in The Netherlands and I have implemented online mental training in the way I work, by designing a module for young athletes to improve their mental skills. Young athletes are presented skills like goal setting and imagery stepwise, by using examples from elite athletes, animated videos and exercises. There are three parts of the training divided in three steps. The focus of the three parts is on exploring their mental skills, learning to train effectively and performing under pressure respectively.

One example comes from step five of the training, in which the athletes learn how to build self-confidence. This exercise starts with “building a wall” as a metaphor for improving self-confidence. If you want to build a wall, you will have to use bricks. More bricks make the wall more solid. When something hits a weak wall, it will burst and maybe even collapse. When something hits a strong wall, there will be no or little damage. The bricks of self-confidence are positive experiences. The more positive experiences an athlete will have, the stronger his or her self-confidence will be.

Next, the young athlete is asked to write down positive experiences in each brick of a wall. This way, they will create an overview of their positive experiences. One could also use a marker and Lego blocks. This idea stems from the principles of positive psychology, which stress the importance of focusing on one’s strengths. The wall can be a reminder of what young athletes already have achieved and it can stimulate them to also focus on positive aspects of performance.

About the author: Mark Schuls has been working for 10 years as a registered sport psychologist in The Netherlands for his own company, TipTop Sport. More information can be found at www.tiptop-sport.nl.

Pre-Performance Routine: “We are what we repeatedly do.”

We are proud to have Dr. Duncan Simpson as guest author for our blog. Enjoy his text about how to develop pre-performance routines.

Pre-performance routines (PPR’s) have been taught by coaches and advocated by sport psychologists (e.g., Boutcher, 1990; 1992; Lobmeyer & Wasserman, 1986; Lidor & Tenebaum, 1993) for many years. The widespread use of PPR’s is probably because the moments before skill execution are crucial in deciding whether a performer achieves a peak performance state (Boucher, 1990). Therefore, it is hardly surprising that PPR’s have consistently been shown to have a beneficial effect on performance (see Cohn, 1991; Cohn et al., 1990; Cotterill, 2010, 2011; Cotterill & Hill, 2014; Crews & Boutcher, 1987; Mesagno & Mullane-Grant, 2010; Wrisberg & Pein, 1992).

Athletes often use PPR’s in sports that can contain closed skills (e.g., tennis serves/returns, basketball free-throw, golf shots/putts). The nature of closed skills allows athletes crucial moments of personal control in an environment which is otherwise uncontrollable. The most commonly accepted definition of PPR’s is “a sequence of task-relevant thoughts and actions which an athlete engages in systematically before his or her performance of a specific skills” (Moran, 1996, p. 177). While, the terms routine, superstition, and ritual are sometimes used interchangeably by athletes and coaches there are important and distinguishable differences. Routines should specifically address task-relevant thoughts (e.g., focus cues) and actions (e.g. relaxation breaths) that can be logically connected to aiding a performance outcome. In other words, there should be nothing in a PPR that does not in some way connect to the skill being executed. However, superstitions and rituals are in many ways connected to the creation of luck and often contain actions that have no logical connection to performance (e.g., wearing a lucky pair of socks, tapping body parts, avoiding stepping on lines). A simple way to differentiate these terms is with the following statement “superstitions and rituals control you, while you control routines.” However, having said this, when I start working athletes I won’t necessarily try to change or ban superstitions or rituals straight away. Instead, I will work with athletes in a collaborative process to ensure they understand what they are doing before the performance and why they are doing it.

When developing a PPR with an athlete, I start by thinking about the what might influence his or her performance. This idea is supported by Gallucci (2014) who said “pre-performance routines probably should include all aspects that may influences performance” (p.14). In fact, researchers investigating the nature of PPR suggest athletes use a range of psychological strategies depending on the specific requirements and demands of the performance and that each PPR should be individualized (Cotterill, Sander, & Collins, 2010). Furthermore, while, the consistency of a PPR is important it should be the task demands that influence the duration of the PPR (Jackson & Baker, 2001). For example, some golf shots simply need more planning time than others (e.g., bunker shot vs. pitch from the fairway). Therefore, PPR’s should be individualized and focused on what the athletes “do” and “need” as opposed to keeping the PPR a consistent time (Cotterill, 2008; Holder, 2003). However, while task demands and flexibility are important, athletes should develop a generic template for their PPR routine based upon the psychological and performance demands of their sport (Cotterill, 2008). To summarize PPR should be individualized, systematic, flexible, have a generic template, include all aspects that may influence performance and be specific to the demands at that moment of performance.

When we break down performance, there are four skill components: physical, tactical, technical, and mental skills (Wrisberg, 2007). Physical skills involve the body’s readiness to execute a particular movement. Tactical skills involve decision-making aimed at giving athletes an advantage. Technical skills refer to the effective execution of a particular movement. Lastly, mental skills involved the effective mobilization of thoughts and feelings to maximize performance. Given that just about any sporting performance involves these four core components and that the ultimate purpose of a PPR is best prepare the athlete to perform, then a PPR should include and be structured around these four core components. Therefore, I like all my athletes to develop a PPR that ensures they address each one of these components before they try to perform. The order, the behaviors, and time spent on each component don’t necessarily have to be consistent, but rather it is based on the specific demands at that moment. So I like to collaborate with athletes to ensure they have the necessary skills that can be used as part of their PPR “toolbox.” The following are examples of what athletes can do within each component of the PPR:

  • Physical: Body language, stretching, body scan, centering breathing, hydration/nutrition.
  • Tactical: Complete evaluation of the task demands and a decision on the required response.
  • Technical: Grip, body/feet position, swing or throwing motion.
  • Mental: Attentional focus, self-talk, relaxation strategies, imagery, preparatory arousal.

The following is an example of a PPR for a tennis serve. After the point, the player goes to his/her towel, takes some deep breathes and does a quick body scan to check that his/her body is ready to play (Physical). Next, the player slowly walks to the service line and develops a point-plan (Tactical). Once the player arrives at the service line, they set the feet, grip their racket, and check their body is in the right position (Technical). Lastly, the player looks down the court, identifies a clear target in the opponent’s service box, uses a piece of positive self-talk, takes a couple of breaths to relax (mental) and serves.

Conclusion
Athletes must develop a PPR that best addresses their personal and performance needs. Those working with athletes must try to accept existing routines and behaviors (unless maladaptive), seek to understand why they are used, and then implement subtle changes where needed (Cotterill et al., 2010; Cotterill, 2010). Lastly, PPR must be utilized in practice on a consistent basis and reinforced by coaches for the PPR to be most effective in competitions.

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About the author
Dr. Duncan Simpson joined IMG academy in January 2017 and provides mental conditioning services for tennis and golf. Dr. Simpson was previously at Barry University in Miami where he served as an Associate Professor in Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Program. Originally from England, he received his Ph.D in Sport Psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dr. Simpson is a Certified Consultant with the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (CC-AASP). Since 2005 he has been conducting mental skills training with athletes and coaches from a range of sports and varying in talent and ability from beginners to professional/Olympic athletes, including NCAA D-I, II, & III student-athletes. 

The European Network of Young Specialits in Sport Psychology (ENYSSP)

Hej!
Vi heter Fredrik och Mikael! För flera av er kanske det inte var någon nyhet, men det är vi som driver den här bloggen och ger vårt bidrag för att sprida idrottspsykologi i Sverige. Den här veckan kommer blogginlägget från internationella vänner och den idrottspsykologiska föreningen The European Network of Young Specialists in Sport Psychology (ENYSSP) i vilken Fredrik Weibull är ordförande. Väldigt spännande förening! Svensk idrottspsykologisk förening och ENYSSP liknar varandra bara det att ENYSSP arbetar internationellt och med ett speciellt fokus på våra yngre talanger.

Mycket nöje! Trevlig helg,
/Redaktionen

Are you interested in sport and exercise psychology? Then ENYSSP is an organisation for you!

During the end of last week the eight ENYSSP Workshop was organised. Three years ago it was in Greece, last year in Finland and this year in Slovakia. The workshop took place in Kosice, Slovakia between the 25th and the 27th of October. The workshop was a great success with good presentations. We for example had two excellent keynote speakers: Chris Harwood (UK) and Karin de Bruin (NL).

Check out the ENYSSP Workshop program here: http://enyssp.org/w2012/2489

The European Network of Young Specialists in Sport Psychology (ENYSSP) is an international organisation concerned with the promotion and dissemination of knowledge in the field of sport and exercise psychology in the areas of research, education and applied work. Our main aim is to create opportunities for students and young professionals to develop in the field of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Students and young professionals can take part in the annual ENYSSP Workshop where they can learn in symposiums and workshops and through networking. They can also present their own work through a poster and possibly a workshop. It is not decided where the next ENYSSP Workshop will be yet, but as soon as this has been decided it will be announced on the ENYSSP Website. ENYSSP also offer unique possibilities for online meetings with members where specific and relevant topics are discussed between members (Big Social Online Meetings “B-SOMEs”). You can learn new things when reading our Newsletter. ENYSSP sends out Flash news and organize symposiums and workshops at other conferences and plan to organize other events in Europe. If you have more ideas on how we could help you in your development in sport psychology let us know!

If you want to become active in ENYSSP I first recommend you to become a member of ENYSSP. Then ask ENYSSP how you can become actively involved. The best way is to contact one of the Department Coordinators via the web site. I also encourage you to come with your own suggestions on what you can do.

ENYSSP organizes online peer consultations The aim of the sessions will be to learn from the consultation process in order gain insight into one’s professional practice and to explore options and solutions with equals.

ENYSSP also organizes Big Online Social Meetings (B-SOMEs) to improve networking and sharing among members. The purpose of our B-SOMEs are: a) to share experiences about research, applied work, or education via very specific themes; b) to address ENYSSP – related issues such as the improvement of our network; c) to address sport psychology related issues such as lack of education, difficult working conditions, or contacts with different sport psychological federations.

Join the ENYSSP Facebook Page, just request an invite. If you are an ENYSSP member you will receive updates through our Newsletter and through emails. You can email the Department coordinators and ask questions.

You can also log in to our website: http://www.enyssp.org.

Have a great weekend!
Fredrik

 

An Interview with Henrik Larsson

We are proud to introduce our new international guest author Alexander Titkov. Read about Alexander after the article.

“My passion for football is as strong as always; my love for the sport still burns in me. There is no money, confirmation or kingdom that can quench my fire.” – Henrik Larsson

It’s a typical November day in Skåne (southernmost province of Sweden); the sky is grey and overcast with no sign of sun. I hop on the Öresundstag train at Lund Central Station and take the 15 minute journey towards Landskrona. I had first come across an interview with Henrik Larsson some years ago in FourFourTwo Magazine. There was a photo I still remember of the Celtic clad Swede, crutches in-hand, on the verge of recovery from a career-threatening tackle.

Henrik Larsson would overcome that barrier, as he did others, and go on to win a total of four league titles with Celtic FC, two league titles with FC Barcelona, the 2006 Champions League title, scoring 362 goals, appearing in three World Cups (Bronze in ’94) and three European Championship appearances. I stopped in at the Landskrona BoIS clubhouse for a fika to talk football, music, snus and I learn what ungdomars ovetskap means.

Did you play any other sports growing up and as a professional football player?
Growing up I used to play a lot of sports, all different kinds including floor hockey, ice hockey in the winters with friends, tennis in the summer, playing football whenever I could but as a professional footballer, not really. What I did for leisure when the time was right was maybe some golf.

What kind of music do you like? Did you ever listen to music to prepare for practices or games?
I usually listened to the radio whenever I was on my way training and when you came to the club there was always somebody playing some kind of music. I listen to most (kinds of music): R&B, classic… I don’t have a particular taste. I can listen to anything except for heavy metal. Other than that I listen to everything. When we were in Portugal in 2004 for the European Championship, we had a lot of music before the games, from international to Swedish music. For some players it works, for some it doesn’t. For me it was nice to have a good tune before you went out. It helped you think about other things.

Did you have any pre-game routines or before practice?
Before every game I used to do certain things, the night before the games, the routines I had were more or less the same through the years. Come game day, you wanted to wake up in a nice and easy way, then just take it from there and try to follow a routine to best prepare for the game and I had a lot of different things I used to do. It’s like a check-list. When you’ve done them, you know you’ve done everything in your power to do things the right way before the game.

Was there something particular you would do?
It’s everything from eating right, having the massage at a certain time, then stupid things like pulling on the left sock before the right one. It’s more of a check-list really.

I read that growing up you were a big Brazil fan.
Brazil was always a team we would follow because my father spoke Portuguese and in those days Sweden wasn’t in the World Cup, so we liked the way they played. My idol was Pele so it just came naturally to follow them.

Do you think watching their style of play influenced the way you played?
You watched a good footballer and you tried to pick out the best things and try to do the things they would do. In those days, there wasn’t that much football on television and when you saw something you tried to copy. Nowadays, the kids have the PlayStation and XBOX so they have another way to copy tricks so there’s a big advantage for them.

As a player growing up, how important was social support from friends and family?
Of course, when you came home after training or a game you always want your parents to ask you, “how did it go today?” It’s always nice when somebody cares and I always had that from home. They knew I loved to play football so they made sure every time I came home to ask how it went.

Is there something most people don’t know about you?
No, I don’t think so. I mean, I’m a different person privately compared to Henrik Larsson the ex-football player to Henrik Larsson the trainer. I think I can be quite funny sometimes even though I don’t show it towards the rest of the world. I choose to do that when I’m around my friends and they know the real Henrik Larsson and that’s the way I want to keep it.

I heard on the Swedish radio show ”Sommarpratarna” that you spoke about taking a snus before you took the sixth penalty in ’94. Was it common for players to use snus?
Back then yeah, a lot of players did it. I remember it (laughs); it was just to calm myself down a little bit. I didn’t realize how important that penalty kick was back then but now I do.

Maybe that was a good thing to help you from thinking about it too much?
There’s a term in Swedish, ungdomars ovetskap, which means the ignorance of youth, when you don’t realize the importance of something. I was 22 at the time and I didn’t even think about it when they told me to take the sixth penalty; I just said yes.

As a player, you played at a lot of different clubs with different systems. Were there any systems you particularly liked or was it a matter of merely adapting to it?
For me, it was just a matter of adapting to different systems. I had a lot of success with 4-4-2, some success with 4-3-3 as well. So, all the systems are good and you need to have them but you need to be surrounded by good players as well. If you make the right run but don’t get the ball, you won’t score, simple as that. I was fortunate enough to play with some great players in Holland, Scotland, Spain and in England. You can do all the running you want but if there’s nobody there to give you the ball, it doesn’t matter.

The economy has affected Swedish clubs. Do you think clubs should focus more on youth development?
I think that’s general in Sweden, but I think we realized that a few years back because we don’t have the economic means. We need to develop them in the youth systems because we can’t go out and buy them. I think all the clubs understand that nowadays that you have to have a solid foundation to pick your players from and if there isn’t then maybe you can go out and buy a player or two.

Do you think Swedish clubs are lacking in anything else compared to other European ones?
Funds. It’s all about the money. I really, really believe with all my heart that it’s all about money. We can’t even compete with Norway or Denmark financially. As soon as you get a decent player, they will go abroad to those two countries or he’s going to go Holland. So it’s unfortunate that it’s down to money. You might be lucky once if you get an exceptionally talented group and make an impact for a season but if you look at Malmö this year, they were an exceptional group but they weren’t even able to do anything in the Europa League. I have to say sorry, but it’s the money. If we can’t find a way to support the Swedish clubs, maybe by some form of tax reform, I think we’re going to be in this situation or worse in the years to come.

Do you think the Swedish cultural norm of “lagom”, of not being exceptional or standing out from the crowd limits players or coaches?
Maybe, maybe. Maybe that is more relevant to my generation. Today’s youth have a tremendous belief in themselves, so I don’t think we are the country lagom anymore. I think we want more than that and I think the new generation is trying to install that into Swedish society.

How do you feel this season went for you with Landskrona BoIS?
I’m not happy with the season. We had the potential of doing much better but that’s the way football goes. You plan for something and then things don’t go your way and you have to adapt to the situation and I think we adapted in the end because we did something, we stopped the blood flow so to speak, so with that I’m happy but with the start of the season I’m not happy at all.

Was there a particular system you used this year with Landskrona BoIS?
We started out with a 4-3-3 but we didn’t get the results that we wanted so we had to change to 4-1-4-1 but that’s just numbers again. If the players don’t understand then it doesn’t really matter which system you play. They have to know their roles in the system and understand my expectations and that’s why I’m here as a coach.

What are your plans for the upcoming year?
At the moment we are negotiating the contract but Hans (Eklund) and I have the plan already set for next year. Hopefully, after this first year, we can become more solid. There are a lot of things we need to change once we start.

Previously, you stated when you finished your career you wanted to visit your father’s homeland (Cape Verde), did you get a chance to do that?
I was there in 2008 with my father. I went to the Cape Verde islands for almost 2 weeks. I saw the house where he was born and grew up in and it was a really nice experience for me and I think my father enjoyed it as well.

Do you still have the ambition to coach in Europe someday?
Yeah, of course. That’s my goal and I have to see whether it will be possible or not. As I said before, it’s difficult but hopefully I can do something here which will be good for my career and others will notice and say, “why not?”

Alexander Titkov is currently a double degree European master’s student in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Lund University (Sweden) and at the Universität Leipzig (Germany) with a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science and Russian Area Studies from St. Olaf College (USA). Alex is also currently working with Swedish football club Ängelholm FF’s U21 squad and is the editor of the EMSEP Blog. His sport psychology areas of interest include imagery and mindfulness in Scandinavia.

Check out the EMSEP Blog: http://emsepblog.tumblr.com/ and follow Alex on Twitter: @alextitkov

The Challenge to Care: A Sports Perspective

We are proud to introduce our new international guest author Nathan Smith. Read about Nathan after the article.

An image from the recent Walker Cup (golf) has, for some reason, stuck in my mind.  Stiggy Hodgson, a member of the victorious Great Britain and Ireland squad left the course distraught after failing to contribute a single point. On camera, Stiggy was shown in tears. After a short while his captain, Nigel Edwards, joined him. What I saw over the next few seconds hit home the importance of feeling cared for. Edwards simply put his arm round his young player and I imagine what came next was something along the lines of “you tried your best, that’s all anyone can ask”. His affection, interest and respect for his player did not appear at all conditional on his performance.

This anecdote nicely compliments current research into caring sports climates. We know that climates, which encourage athletes’ feelings of care, inclusion, trust and acceptance, associate with positive outcomes and a heightened sense of well-being. Less clear, is how coaches can facilitate these feelings via the behaviors they adopt. A nice reflective exercise is to consider when you have had a particularly positive experience in sport yourself. Think about the interactions you had with you peers and the coach. How did they communicate a sense of acceptance, trust, and respect to you?

It may seem obvious, but one way in which you can show care is by simply taking an interest in your athletes’ lives outside of sport. Sports coaches often indicate that they don’t have time to speak to every player on their team during every session. This may be so. However, there will almost certainly be occasions where you can ask about the athlete’s day. In the case of youth sport, this might be as simple as asking about their day at school?

Satisfying individuals’ feelings of care, relatedness and belonging, are consistently cited in scientific literature, but still remain understudied. One such example is in self-determination theory. The gargantuan framework applied across varied domains, identifies ‘relatedness’ as a basic psychological need. Similar to a human’s need for water, food and shelter, these psychological needs, if satisfied, contribute towards positive psychosocial development. Having said this, relatedness support has tended to be overlooked in sports psychology research in favor of the needs for autonomy and competence.

To me, it is obvious. You are unlikely to achieve ‘buy-in’ from your athletes if they don’t think you ‘care’. It could be argued that satisfying the need for relatedness is as important, if not more, important than the other needs. For instance, I recall a particularly negative experience I had in sport, whereby my coach at the time didn’t make me feel cared for. As a young golfer I would go for lessons fortnightly. It came to the point where I needed a change to develop my game further, so, I decided to seek the help of a different coach. After three or four lessons, it was clear that the coach was only interested in his £20 per half hour rate. I’m pretty sure by week four he still didn’t even know my name! To me, it didn’t matter how skilled the coach was, how competent I felt, or how much autonomy I had, if the person I was visiting took no interest in my development.

To finish, I would like you to think about the some of the famous sporting movies. Remember the Titans, Coach Carter and The Mighty Ducks are some great examples, but there are no doubt many others. These fictitious movies carry the same underlying message. The coach cares. He may seem to be a hard-nosed ‘son of a bitch’, but if you watch carefully, the performance of the team relies heavily on the investment, time and commitment of the coach. In the Mighty Ducks, when Gordon Bombay neglects his athletes to chase the pretty Icelandic blonde their performance suffers. Only when he shows them true care and attention do they prosper.

This piece was inspired by Nel Noddings’ book The Challenge to Care in Schools: An Alternative Approach to Education (1992). Its sole purpose is to raise the agenda of care, and encourage readers to reflect on how they can purvey care to their athletes, colleagues and clients.

Nathan Smith is a currently studying for a PhD in the School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Birmingham. Specifically, his research relates to the development and testing of an objective measure of the coach created motivational climate in sport. Prior to his PhD, Nathan worked at the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) as a Training Executive in sports science and golf coaching. He is currently a tutor and marker on the PGA’s foundation degree program, which educates over 300 aspiring professionals each year.

Read other texts by Nathan on: http://www.psyched4sport.co.uk

The Role of Life-skills in the Talent- and Career Development Process

Hej! Vi är riktigt glada över att presentera vår första internationella gäst författare på denna blogg! Passande att vi också just nu befinner oss på AASP konferensen i Providance vilket gör att även denna lilla text får en internationell touch:)

Carsten Hvid Larsen
PhD. Fellow, Institute of Sport Science, University of Southern Denmark. Part of Team Denmarks network of Sportpsychology. President of Danish Sportpsychological Association. Working applied with teams and individual athletes in golf, soccer, badminton and svimming.

This article introduces the concepts of and importance of life-skills in the talent development process.
Latest research in talent development has shown that more varied psychological and especially social and cultural circumstances play an important role for talent development. The achievement of excellent performance is about creating a connection and handling the diversity of challenges during everyday life. There is a need to perceive athletic talent development in a broader context. Athletic talent development mainly deals with the development of sport-specific competencies and skills, as well as certain performance and athletic excellence issues. Describing a talented athlete without looking at the environment is basically a reductionistic strategy. In an ecological perspective it makes no sense to look at motivation, learning strategies or discipline as inner, stabile traits of the personality. They are developed in a social context, which explains, how athletes which are very motivated and determined in one context, suddenly do not possess those traits after joining a new club.

Career development incorporates talent development with additional, important aspects, such as:
• Balancing practice, competitions, and recovery
• Balancing sport and other activities
• Interpersonal relationships and social interactions
• Rehabilitation after injuries, etc.

Career development can be seen as a broader context for talent development, where the talent development process builds up the athlete’s internal resources to cope with ever-changing career demands in relation to the social context. The talent development process occurs within a career development context and contributes to the athlete’s internal resources to cope with career transitions (Stambulova, 2009).

There are different strategies to help athletes to cope with career transitions. Preventive interventions help athletes to become better aware of forthcoming transition demands and to timely develop all necessary resources for effective coping.

The outcome of a transition consists of four factors (4 S system) (Alfermann & Stambulova, 2007):
1) Situation – event or nonevent, how is it perceived by the athlete
2) Self – personality of the athlete
3) Support – availability of different kinds of support
4) Strategies – information seeking, direct action, inhibition of action. Strategies to cope with a transition are key elements
Coping strategies is central in a transition with an emphasized match between the transition demands and the athlete’s resources (e.g. life skills) as a key factor for successful coping. For successful transitions an increased focus on working with life skills can function as a coping strategy.
Life skills can be behavioral (communicating effectively with peers and adults) or cognitive (making effective decisions); interpersonal (being assertive) or intrapersonal (setting goals) (Danish et al., 2004). An implicit assumption in this definition is that life skills helps an athlete not only succeed in the sport he or she is playing, but also help the individual once he or she transfers the skills to non-sport settings (e.g. school) in which they are used successfully.

This distinction is important because for something to qualify as a life skill, you need to be able to transfer it to other life situations. It might even be argued that a social-emotional competency developed through sport is not a life skill unless it is actually employed by the young person in a different setting. Therefore, helping a young athlete learn deep breathing to manage stress while taking an important penalty shot in soccer is certainly an example of developing a social-emotional competency; however, it is not truly a life skill unless efforts are made to transfer that breathing technique to other contexts, such as exams at school. The relocation of these skills and competencies might occur when a coach or sport psychologist intentionally emphasizes the importance of transferring skills developed or enhanced through sport participation to other life situations (Gould et al., 2008).
If you want to know more about life skills and transitions you can read these articles.
Articles:
Alfermann, D., & Stambulova, N. (2007). Career transitions and career termination. In G. Tenenbaum and R. C. Eklund (Eds.), Handbook of Sport Psychology (3rd ed., pp.712-736). New York: Wiley.
Stambulova, N. (2009). Talent development in sport: A career transitions perspective. In E. Tsung-Min Hung, R. Lidor, & D. Hackfort (Eds.) Psychology of Sport Excellence (pp. 63-74). Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.
Danish, S., Taylor, T., Hodge, K., & Heke, I. (2004). Enhancing youth development through sport. World Leisure Journal, 46(3), 38_49.
Gould, D. & Carson, S. (2008) Life skills development through sport: current status and future Directions. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1, 58-78.