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An Exploration of Coaches’ and Sport Psychologists’ Experiences of Managing Performance Blocks.

Williams, A., Butt, J. and Kavanagh, E., 2023. An Exploration of Coaches’ and Sport Psychologists’ Experiences of Managing Performance Blocks. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. (In Press)

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An exploration of coaches and sport psychologists experiences of managing performance blocks.pdf - Published Version
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DOI: 10.1080/10413200.2023.2214745


This study examined coaches’ and sport psychologists’ experiences of managing performance blocks and the mechanisms they adopted in supporting athletes who experience them. This qualitative study adopted a constructivist philosophical paradigm. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with elite coaches (n=8) and HCPC-registered sport psychologists (n=7). Following transcription, interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006, 2021). Findings indicated that managing performance blocks is a complex and dynamic process whereby participants iteratively moved through five stages (i.e., understanding the athlete, intervening in performance blocks, experiencing the emotional rollercoaster, coping with emotions, and learning). From an applied perspective, findings encourage coaches and sport psychologists to create trusting relationships with the athlete and demonstrate an emotional understanding of athletes’ needs. Findings indicate that lowering the psychological demand and increasing the athletes’ coping resources such as by offering emotional support is an important strategy in the management of performance blocks. Lay Summary: This article explores eight coaches’ and seven sport psychologists’ experiences of managing performance blocks. Coaches and sport psychologists continually shifted between five stages in understanding and supporting athletes’ experiences of performance blocks. Findings highlight the importance of trusting and collaborative relationships, emotional intelligence, and coping strategies when managing performance blocks. Applied Implications: • Coaches and sport psychologists must create and maintain trusting relationships with the athlete and those surrounding the athlete before attempting to intervene in performance blocks to ensure athletes feel safe in discussing performance blocks and receive consistent and supportive messaging. • Coaches and sport psychologists are encouraged to develop and utilize effective coping strategies throughout managing performance blocks. Examples including seeking support from colleagues and supervisors, participating in reflective practice, and seeking emotional support from friends and family. • Sporting organizations can improve the management of performance blocks by providing coach education sessions to raise awareness of the causes and warning signs, and highlight instances of best and worst practice for management.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Performance blocks; Yips; Lost move syndrome; Coach; Sport psychologist
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:38560
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:24 May 2023 11:45
Last Modified:24 May 2023 11:45


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