A surge in young players joining the tennis club due to recent club achievements has led to more identified players who have the potential to be successful. However, lacking psychological skills may hinder their transition to becoming elite level athletes. (Macnamara, Button, & Collins, 2010)
Six junior tennis players aged between 15-16 years old are potential beneficiaries of a well-structured mental skills training (MST) programme. The six athletes are physically gifted and have solid techniques, therefore possessing the foundations of sporting success. They have also received MST previously and enjoy using pre-performance routines taught by their coach.
However, the athletes experience debilitative anxiety before and during matches, which negatively affects their performance and hinders attentional focus. For example, the coach argued it leads to the clients missing easy shots which they would not normally miss. In addition, the dysfunctional relationship the six clients had with their previous sport psychologist consultant (SPC) is an issue, as there may be negative stigmas associated with SPCs in general, which could impede the effectiveness of the MST.
The MST programme will modify the clients’ interpretation of their anxiety symptoms to facilitative as opposed to debilitative. The SPC will place less importance on simply reducing the clients’ anxiety levels because research has emphasised the fact that anxiety direction is more important than intensity (Jones, Hanton, & Swain, 1994; Neil, Hanton, Mellalieu, & Fletcher, 2011)
To aid the effectiveness of the interventions, the SPC will also be establishing a positive consultant-client relationship because of the significant role it ...
... middle of paper ...
...ibutes to self-confidence enhancement (Weston, Greenlees, & Thelwell, 2013). However, the SPC will assist the clients to ensure the goals are appropriate in relation to the desired outcome of the MST.
The fifth and sixth sessions will involve the clients practising their newly learned techniques during anxiety-inducing competitions. This is to simulate the competitive environment the clients will experience during matches, ensuring they can integrate the techniques into their physical game. The SPC will then be conducting interviews, allowing the collection of in-depth data on attentional and anxiety improvements and the clients will complete the CSAI-2 again, thus allowing the SPC to analyse improvements in anxiety objectively. To conclude, the clients will then complete a questionnaire-based social validation to analyse the effectiveness of the MST holistically.
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