From obstacles to triumph: A scheme of change for sport psychology practice.

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Overview

Anecdotal evidence indicates that athletes encounter in their careers various changes that interfere with their "comfortable zone of functioning," or their "athletic status quo." For example, Roy Keane, Ireland national soccer team's captain, had a dispute with his coach and squad during the preparation camp for the 2002 World Cup, and decided to leave the team; Jeremy Wariner, the 400-meter 2004 Olympic Champion changed both his coach and his shoes the year prior to the Beijing Olympic Games, and lost his title. During these transitional periods, change can occur in diverse levels of the athletic experience, such as the identity, personal, performance, physiological, technical, and technological levels. While these and other stories emphasize the importance of understanding athletes' experiences of situations of change, hardly any empirical evidence exists on the magnitude and meaning of this aspect of the athletic career. Additionally, there is a shortage of comprehensive conceptual models in sport psychology to explain how athletes experience, and cope with, situations that require them to initiate psychological and/or behavioral change.;The present study, therefore, was an initial attempt to validate a new conceptual framework of change-event experiences in athletes' careers. Specifically, the study was focused on identifying the frequency in which athletes experience various change-events, portraying the characteristics of change-events in terms of perception and reaction, and examining the associated coping and decision-making processes. Hence, this study was a response to an existing theoretical and practical need in the area of athletic career transitions to critically account for potential events influencing athletes' lives that are not explained by the traditional career stage models.;The scheme of change for sport psychology practice (SCSPP) is a new conceptual framework in which typical characteristics of change situations that challenge athletes to respond with matching personal adaptations or reactive change are described. It involves a three-stage process of change including the appearance of certain change-events, the athlete's perception and appraisal of these events, and his or her reaction to and coping with the events. The conceptual framework underlying the SCSPP focuses on two dimensions: (a) the situational stages that unfold as athletes encounter and cope with changes in their athletic status quo, and (b) the therapeutic process that might facilitate an effective personal change. It is suggested that certain personal characteristics (e.g., athletic identity, competitive level, capacity for change), as well as particular aspects of the change process, might affect athletes' ability to effectively cope with change-events, and resolve them in a satisfying manner. In this context, it is assumed that when athletes turn to consult with others, and are motivated to make the necessary adjustments involved in initiating a matching personal change in response to a change-event, they will also be more likely to cope effectively with the event and resolve it successfully, given that the necessary environmental conditions exist.;Pilot preparation for this investigation of the proposed conceptual framework was focused on developing a new survey (The Change-Event Inventory; CEI) to enable exploring athletes' experiences of change-events, as well as on validating the general structure of the SCSPP. While results were largely encouraging, several limitations were identified in the structure and content of the CEI. Additionally, results indicated that the use of coping strategies is a significant factor that should be assessed as part of athletes' change-event experiences.;The purpose of the present study was to explore athletes' change-event experiences from a broad conceptual and methodological perspective. Several modifications were made in the CEI, and two additional relevant variables, athletic identity and coping strategies, were measured. The sample of participants (N = 338) included athletes from diverse athletic and cultural background. This heterogeneous sample enabled exploring the effects of athletes' personal characteristics, such as competitive level and type of sport, on the change-event experience. The psychometric properties of the CEI have been examined using various strategies, and it was concluded that this is a reliable and potentially valid survey, although further research is necessary to establish the latter.;The results largely supported the research hypotheses. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781244083073
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/11/2011
  • Pages: 218
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.57 (d)

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