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Elite athlete receptivity to sport psychology consulting in Ireland

Woods, David, Meade, Mary Margaret, Mahoney, Craig and Breslin, Gavin (2016) Elite athlete receptivity to sport psychology consulting in Ireland. The Irish Journal of Psychology, Online . pp. 1-17. [Journal article]

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DOI: 10.1080/03033910.2016.1188136


This study assessed the willingness of elite athletes from Northern Ireland and theRepublic of Ireland to seek sport psychology consulting (SPC), their perceptions ofthe potential benefits of SPC to themselves or their team and how accessible theyperceive SPC to be. A sample of elite and sub-elite athletes (n = 68) completed anonline survey and a sub-sample (n = 7) also participated in a semi-structuredinterview. Results showed that athletes were willing to seek assistance from SPCfor a wide range of topics such as building confidence, improving focus anddealing with injury, although a preference was displayed for topics more readilyperceived as directly related to enhancing performance. All SPC topics exploredwere perceived to be of benefit, with a similar preference expressed for topicsmore readily associated with enhancing performance, for example, competing aswell in competition as in practice, over dealing with personal issues orcommunication. Chi-square tests revealed athletes with highly effective priorexperience of SPC were more receptive to SPC than those with less effectiveexperiences (p < .01). Access to SPC was considered low by 48% of athletes, withidentified themes suggesting athlete support networks, either head coaches orgoverning bodies, were the key decision-makers and ‘gatekeepers’ regardingathlete access to SPC. The findings have implications for marketing the practicalbenefits of SPC across the island of Ireland and highlight the room forimprovement in providing better athletes’ access.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:performance; expertise; exercise; games; skill
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Sport
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute
Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute > Centre for Sports Science and Sports Medicine
ID Code:35753
Deposited By: Dr Gavin Breslin
Deposited On:06 Sep 2016 08:28
Last Modified:17 Oct 2017 16:25

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