Tales from the field: Personal reflections on the provision of psychological support in professional soccer


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Abstract

Objectives:The present paper outlines a personal view on the provision of sport psychology support. The domain of English professional soccer provides the applied backdrop for this discussion.Design:A first person writing style is utilised alongside creative non-fiction vignettes to illustrate different aspects of applied work ‘in-action’.Methods:The themes presented within the paper arise from observational and reflective techniques such as field notes compiled by the first author. These techniques were deployed over a 5-year time span and generated the data set around which the paper is framed. These observations focused primarily on the day-to-day practice of applied sport psychologists. In addition, the present paper also utilises data associated with the 2nd author's doctoral research, which was also undertaken within the setting of professional soccer. The first author was linked to the applied and research activity in a supervisory capacity.Results:The applied discussion that emerges from the above illustrates and critically reviews how practitioners' responded to a range of in vivo challenges.Conclusions:In the concluding stages of the paper associations between the ideas presented in the present paper and literature from the domains of counselling and applied sport psychology are considered. The paper draws to a close by proposing that those who practice applied sport psychology may facilitate the enhancement of sports performance through the demonstration of caring qualities.

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