Lessons Learned From Mental Skills Consulting With Powerchair Soccer Athletes
Brian Foster, Ball State University, USA
Jacob Cooper, Ball State University, USA
Theme: Mental training/interventions
Poster Number: 36
Program ID: POS-1
Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
The growth of mental skills consulting with physically disabled athletes has been slow due to a lack of theory-driven research on that population (Sherrill, 1999). This said, its prevalence has been increasing in recent years as evidenced by the relationships consultants have forged with current and future Paralympic athletes (Martin, 2012). While it is acknowledged that mental skills consulting services should be adapted to the population, it remains important that interventions be grounded in theory and research (Crocker, 1993). Asken (1991) stressed that in working with physically disabled athletes consultants need to be aware of their athletes’ medical considerations, motivations to participate, and the possibility that there could be vast age and ability differences among athletes. Additionally, Asken has pointed out that consultants often need to adjust their interventions to accommodate the relative lack of resources for disabled sport athletes in comparison to able-bodied athletes. The purpose of this presentation is to highlight the experiences of two student mental skills consultants regarding their work with powerchair soccer athletes. Specifically, challenges associated with adapting interventions to meet the needs of the population will be addressed. Interventions targeting issues such as group cohesion, focus and concentration, confidence, and coach-athlete relations will be discussed. The successes and frustrations derived from implementation of these interventions will be compared and contrasted with similar consulting experiences that the consultants have had with able-bodied athletes from other sports.