The identity of talented young athletes revolves around sports and psychological well-being. Physical and psychological well-being is very important to achieve the desired result in sports and enhance their performance. The field of Sports and exercise psychology has come up to identify the key issues in an athlete’s life that prevents them from achieving desired goals (Benjamin & John, 2012). Mental preparation is critical before any competition and a sports psychologist can intervene to help an athlete tackle mental conflicts. The need for sports psychology has been recognized because psychological skills and mental toughness are the requisite of a successful athlete. It has enabled psychologist to enhance their motor skills, learn to cope with pressure and stay focused to perform automatically (Ericsson, 2014).
Despite the immense benefits of sport psychology, little is known about the level of insight and awareness of sports organization regarding psychological care and well-being of athletes. One of the major challenges in the field of sports psychology is that very few people understand the concept of psychology and its influence on sports. The perception of psychological issues differs in large section of population and people mostly regard it as kind of mental illness (Tabben et al., 2015). Hence, due to this lack of awareness regarding the concepts of sports psychology in large section of population, this research became important to determine the perception of sports organization towards sports psychology and raise awareness of the need for psychological well being in sports.
A research by Appleton & Duda, (2016) investigated the interactive effects of empowering and disempowering coach on motivation and health of athletes. The main motive was to examine the motivational environmental created by coach who look after psychological needs of sports person. All male athletes had completed a questionnaire regarding the kind of environment they see in training session, their level of enjoyment in sports, motivation level, burnout symptoms, presence of physical health and self-worthlessness. Regression analysis of data showed that there is significant interaction between empowering and disempowering environment in training session. The study revealed that empowering climate lead to enjoyment in sports while disempowering climate lead to reduced accomplishment in sports and increased burn out symptoms. The strength of the research is that the study has great implications for sports coaches to transform their approach in training session and create empowering climate for athletes. One weakness of the study is that only male athletes were selected for the study, hence it is necessary to determine the effect in athletes of diverse group and age.
Another research study gave idea about the inter-relation between psychological growth and vulnerability in athletes. It stressed that a sports person has the potential for psychological growth as well as vulnerability to aggression in practice. Hence, psychological treatment intervenes to balance the effect of need satisfaction and need frustration in athletes. As frustration evokes defensiveness and frustration, it is necessary that psychological well-being is maintained in sport organization to promote resilience and inner strength in athletes (Vansteenkiste & Ryan, 2013). Therefore, considering this risk, this research investigated the maladaptive functions in sports organization. The study finding was the strength of the literature as it showed that maladaptive practices in training session might affect autonomous self-regulation and mindfulness. This might ultimately affect the resilience level of athletes.
Another important research gave insight into the experience of athletes with sport psychology consultant. The main purpose of this research was to measure the experience with sports psychology consultant and the interest of athletes to seek sports psychological support. The regression analysis of data revealed that athletes used this service mostly for injury rehabilitation and to improve coping techniques, builds confidence in overcoming pressure in sport (Zakrajsek et al., 2016). The strength of the research was that it also analyzed the attitude of female athletes towards sports psychology and chi-square analysis showed that perceived benefits of sport psychologist was higher in female compared to male athletes. Higher ratings were also given to sport consultant in case of participants who used the service. The weakness of the study is that there might be biasness in the study due to the small sample size.
The main aim of the research is to identify the awareness and insight of sports organization regarding psychological care and well-being of athletes.
The main objectives of this research are as follows:
The key research questions of the study are as follows:
Participants- As the purpose of this study is to investigate the perception of sports trainers and athletes regarding the training with sports psychologist, the participants selected for the research will include injured athletes returning to sports again and their respective psychological trainer in sports organization in Australia. Taking injured athletes will be the main inclusion criteria for the study because it means a lot to sports trainer to return successfully to sports after injury and there is little consensus regarding the correct meaning of successful recovery post injury. Injured athletes can also give greater insight into contribution of sports psychology in psychological well being which is the main purpose of investigation. Other inclusion criteria are taking amateur and professional athletes and trainers between the age group of 15-50 years to get an idea about psychological development in all age group. Overall 15 athletes and their respective sports psychologist will be selected for this study. Considering participants demographic detail such as level of participation in sports event was also in the inclusion criteria. Therefore purposeful sampling method will be employed to obtain highly competent athletes and sports psychologist for the study. Purposive sampling method is essential in qualitative research to get rich case related data which is the purpose of research (Palinkas et al., 2015).
Design- A qualitative research will be done using longitudinal design to interview selected athletes and sports psychologist from Australia over a period of 6-8 months and taking many interviews in this period. A period of 6-8 months study is important to determine the benefits of sports psychology on competence level and development of athletes. As the main aim of this research is to identify the awareness and insight of sports organization regarding psychological care and well-being of athletes, hence interview with both the athletes as well as their sports psychologist was essential. It is not a comparative study; rather we will examine the perception of the participants on different occasion for the period of 6-8 months (Taylor et al., 2015).
Another important aspect of the study design was that two interview guides will also be recruited to effectively assess perception of success in injured athletes. A knowledgeable interview guide who is aware about the basic concepts of sports psychology will be in a better position to judge the response of each participant (Brown & Fry, 2014). Non-judgmental interview method may help in revealing inter-personal and psychological problems present in participants. This will also contribute to reliability and validity of the research (Lewis, 2015). All types of questions such as broad ended, open-ended and conversational questions will be asked during the interview and the pattern of question will change in each occasion.
Procedure- The longitudinal study design will mainly be dependent on interview with participants. The first step before conducting the interview will be to take approval of the research from Ethics Committee and take informed consent from all participants after giving them detail on the purpose of the study and nature of involvement required by each participant (Harriss & Atkinson, 2013). All the participants will be interviewed on different occasion during initiation of psychological training and in the intermediate period and then at their place of work after the each training session. The first phase of interview will be conducted when athletes are 1 month away from returning to sports event after completing a rehabilitation training post injury. The second phase of interview will be conducted when participants return to competition and the improvement in psychological skill of athletes will be judged at the interval of 2 months till 8 months. The interview to be conducted before and after return to sports is important to determine the interaction of psychology on performance improvement of injured athletes. It will also help in determining the period of time between which the injury persisted in professional athletes. All the detail on interview will be recorded to collect participants definition of success post returning to sports.
Analysis Part 1- All the audio recording from interview conducted on different occasion will be transcribed verbatim. To collect answer to the main research questions, the data analysis will mainly focus on perception of participants regarding benefits of psychological service use for well-being of athletes. The findings will also be compared with other relevant research findings on the same topic to determine the accuracy or reliability of data. The data collected from all interviews will then be comparatively analyzed for monitoring the progress in the 8 month period (Podlog & Eklund, 2009). Comparative analysis will help in identifying key themes arising from the perception of participants. It will help in analyzing the limitations to the use of sports psychology service in sports organization and also recognizing the factor that facilitates utilization of sports psychological service (Gale et al., 2013). A reflective process will be adopted with sport psychology experts to arrive to a consensus on important data and categorizing it into different themes. The common ideas regarding sports psychology will also be noted down to determine its reliability. This step will also ensure that theme is coherent with the interview transcripts (David Shaw PhD, 2013).
Analysis Part 2- We can know we have generated answer to the research question after peer-reviewing each theme by another expert and also comparing it with other research on the area. Engaging in critical reflection will help and the categorization of theme will help in getting answer to the perceptions of participants regarding the benefits of sports psychology for speedy recovery post injury (Baskerville & Wood-Harper, 2016). The accuracy of the data will also be analyzed by asking all participants to review their response and identify if anything was falsely recorded. The level of competency standard at pre-injury level and post-injury level will also give answer to the research question and identify weakness in utilization of sports psychology in relevant organization. This will help in recommending actions that can raise awareness regarding the benefits of sports psychology for enabling well-being of participants at both physical and mental levels.
This research is important due to the lack of awareness regarding the concepts of sports psychology and its benefits of athletes. It has been found that either sports organization does not focus on psychological well-being or the athletes do not focus on it. Hence, this study investigated the perception of participants about sports psychology service to determine the intervention needed to raise awareness about the actual benefit for sports. Injuries can be psychological devastating for competitive professional athletes, hence a sports psychologist can intervene to overcome their stress and develop mental strength. It will help them to develop basic psychological skills to cope with pressure during sports event. Therefore, the research will have great implication for improving actions of sport organization and propose activities like teaching relaxation skills, attention style, developing pre-competition mental routine and appropriate self-talk to maximize performance in sports field (Sarkar & Fletcher, 2014).
Appleton, P. R., & Duda, J. L. (2016). Examining the interactive effects of coach-created empowering and disempowering climate dimensions on athletes’ health and functioning. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 26, 61-70.
Baskerville, R. L., & Wood-Harper, A. T. (2016). A critical perspective on action research as a method for information systems research. In Enacting Research Methods in Information Systems: Volume 2 (pp. 169-190). Springer International Publishing.
Benjamin, J., & John, A. (2012). Exploring Self-Concept of Elite Athletes: Beyond Sports Psychology to a Spiritual and Developmental Model.
Brown, T. C., & Fry, M. D. (2014). Motivational Climate, Staff and Members' Behaviors, and Members' Psychological Well-Being at a National Fitness Franchise. Research quarterly for exercise and sport, 85(2), 208-217.
David Shaw PhD, C. (2013). Rigour in qualitative case-study research. Nurse Researcher, 20(4), 12.
Ericsson, K. A. (2014). The road to excellence: The acquisition of expert performance in the arts and sciences, sports, and games. Psychology Press.
Gale, N. K., Heath, G., Cameron, E., Rashid, S., & Redwood, S. (2013). Using the framework method for the analysis of qualitative data in multi-disciplinary health research. BMC medical research methodology, 13(1), 117.
Harriss, D. J., & Atkinson, G. (2013). Ethical standards in sport and exercise science research: 2014 update·. International journal of sports medicine, 34(12), 1025-1028.
Lewis, S. (2015). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Health promotion practice, 1524839915580941.
Palinkas, L. A., Horwitz, S. M., Green, C. A., Wisdom, J. P., Duan, N., & Hoagwood, K. (2015). Purposeful sampling for qualitative data collection and analysis in mixed method implementation research. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 42(5), 533-544.
Podlog, L., & Eklund, R. C. (2009). High-level athletes' perceptions of success in returning to sport following injury. Psychology of sport and exercise, 10(5), 535-544.
Sarkar, M., & Fletcher, D. (2014). Psychological resilience in sport performers: a review of stressors and protective factors. Journal of sports sciences, 32(15), 1419-1434.
Tabben, M., Tourny, C., Haddad, M., Chaabane, H., Chamari, K., & Coquart, J. B. (2015). Current Issue the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 55(6), 684-90.
Taylor, S. J., Bogdan, R., & DeVault, M. (2015). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons.
Vansteenkiste, M., & Ryan, R. M. (2013). On psychological growth and vulnerability: Basic psychological need satisfaction and need frustration as a unifying principle. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 23(3), 263.
Zakrajsek, R. A., Martin, S. B., & Wrisberg, C. A. (2016). National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Certified Athletic Trainers' Perceptions of the Benefits of Sport Psychology Services. Journal of athletic training.
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