Sport psychology consulting with coaches

Lee-Ann Sharp, University of Ulster
Mark Holland, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Peter Sanford, High Performance Sport NZ, New Zealand

Theme: Consulting/private practice

Program ID: SYM-11

Presentation: October 3, 2013 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Room: Melrose


It can be argued that there is a need to view sport coaches as a performers in their own right; they are educators, administrators, leaders, planners, motivators, negotiators, managers, and listeners, but they are also people (Vealey, 1988; Vernacchia, McGuire, & Cook, 1996). Coaches are expected to perform their coaching duties in pressurised environments, often with their job dependent on their athletes’ and teams’ success. They are also considered influential individuals in athletes’ lives and it has been argued that it is the coach that the athlete typically turns to for advice, guidance, and support when they are experiencing difficulty (Bowes & Jones, 2006; Fletcher & Scott, 2010; Jowett & Poczwardowski, 2007). However, it has been noted that coaches’ needs for sport psychology support are not typically being addressed in a practical manner (Vernacchia et al., 1996). The purpose of this symposium is provide insight into a number of differing perspectives on sport psychology consulting with coaches that both meets coaches’ individual needs but also assists them in providing guidance and support for their athletes. The first presentation will discuss the components necessary for the development of an effective consulting relationship between a sport psychology consultant (SPC) and coach. The second presentation will discuss the development and implementation of a formal evidenced-based MST education program for volunteer national coaches. The third presentation discusses the challenges of ‘who is your client’ when working with both the coach and athletes within the SPC-athlete-coach triad. The final presentation will provide a novel insight into a case study illustrating the challenges faced by a SPC working with a coach to implement a psychological skills training programme leading into an Olympic Games. The discussant will consider the presentations from both research and applied practice points of view.

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