Developing the Coach-Athlete Relationship

This post contains resources for the coaches who attended my Developing the Coach-Athlete Relationship breakfast session for LEAP on Thursday 30th November 2017 in Milton Keynes.

Click here to download a copy of the slides

Additional resources:

Olympic shorts: the coach-athlete relationship – Caroline Heaney (video)

The coach-athlete relationship journey – UK Coaching (video)

How to create a relational coaching environment – Sophia Jowett (blog post)

How to create a relational coaching environment – Sophia Jowett (infographics)

Coach, confidant, carer – Caroline Heaney (article)

When does tough coaching become bullying? – BBC Radio Leicester (audio)

Sports bullying crisis – where did it go wrong? – BBC Radio 5 Live (audio)

The coach-athlete relationship – surveys

The coach-athlete relationship is a performance factor – Bo Hanson  (article)

Please feel free to share any additional resources or comments using the box below.

There are further useful articles available on a wide range of topics on the Open University Sport and Fitness Team Blog. You can also follow the Open University Sport and Fitness Team on Twitter (@OU_Sport).

 

More about Caroline:

Open University Staff Profile

Sportingmind.org Profile

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New research (2017): Psychological aspects of sports injury

This page contains a list of research related to the psychological aspects of sports injury published in 2017. Its aim is to be a resource for students and researchers investigating the topic.  It is a ‘work in progress’ and will be updated throughout the year. If you are aware of a piece of research that you think should be added to this list please add it using the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the page.

Alexanders, J. & Douglas, C. (2017). The role of psychological skills within physiotherapy: a narrative review of the profession and training, Physical Therapy Reviews, DOI: 10.1080/10833196.2016.1274352

Arvinen-Barrow, M., & Clement, D. (2017, January (1st Quarter/Winter)). Preliminary investigation into sport and exercise psychology consultants’ views and experiences of an interprofessional care team approach to sport injury rehabilitation. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 31(1), 66-74.

Arvinen-Barrow, M., Hurley, D. & Ruiz, M.C. (2017). Transitioning out of professional sport: the psychosocial impact of career-ending injuries among elite Irish rugby football players. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 11(1), 67-84.

Carson, F. & Polman, R.C.J. (2017). Self-determined motivation in rehabilitating professional rugby union players. BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, 9:2.

Gnacinski, S. L., Cornell, D. J., Meyer, B. B., Arvinen-Barrow, M., & Earl-Boehm, J. E. (2016, December). Functional Movement Screen Factorial Validity and Measurement Invariance Across Sex Among Collegiate Student-Athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30(12), 3388-3395.

Heaney, C. A., Rostron, C. L., Walker, N. C., & Green, A. J. (2017). Is there a link between previous exposure to sport injury psychology education and UK sport injury rehabilitation professionals’ attitudes and behaviour towards sport psychology?. Physical Therapy in Sport, 23, 99-104.

Heaney, C.A., Walker, N.C., Green, A.J.K. & Rostron, C.L. (2017). The impact of a sport psychology education intervention on physiotherapists. European Journal of Physiotherapy, 19(2), 97-103.

Ivarsson, A., Tranaeus, U, Johnson, U. & Stenling, A. (2017). Negative psychological responses of injury and rehabilitation adherence effects on return to play in competitive athletes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, 8, 27-32.

Zach, S., Dobersek, U., Filho, E., Inglis, V. & Tenenbaum, G. (2017). A meta-analysis of mental imagery effects on post-injury functional mobility, perceived pain, and self efficacy. Psychology of Sport and Exercise.

 

 

The impact of a sport psychology education intervention on physiotherapists

The journal article below is available to download free of charge from the following link for a limited time only.

Heaney, C.A., Walker, N.C., Green, A.J.K. & Rostron, C.L. (2017). The impact of a sport psychology education intervention on physiotherapists. European Journal of Physiotherapy, 19(2), 97-103.

The video below provides a brief summary of the key findings from the research.

The purpose of this study was to measure the impact of an online sport psychology education module on the attitudes and behaviours of qualified sports physiotherapists in the UK. Ninety-five sport physiotherapists studied either a sport psychology module or a control module, and their attitudes and behaviours towards sport psychology were measured prior to studying the module and at three points over a six-month period following its completion. It was found that those who had studied the sport psychology module demonstrated an improvement in their attitudes towards sport psychology immediately following its completion that was significantly higher than those who had studied the control module. Use of sport psychology also increased following the sport psychology module, with significant differences seen between the intervention and control group on the sport psychology subscale, indicating that those who had studied the sport psychology module were integrating more sport psychology techniques into their practice than those who had studied the control module. It was concluded that the online sport psychology module was effective in improving the attitudes and behaviours of UK physiotherapists and that more sport psychology education opportunities should be made available.

Previous exposure to sport injury psychology education sport injury rehabilitation professionals’ attitudes and behaviour towards sport psychology

The journal article from Study 2 of my PhD is available free of charge from the following link until 11th February 2017.

Click here to view Heaney et al. (2017) in Physical Therapy in Sport

 

ABSTRACT

Objectives

The use of sport psychology strategies during sport injury rehabilitation can lead to several positive outcomes such as improved adherence and self-efficacy. The purpose of this study was to compare the sport psychology related attitudes and behaviours of UK sport injury rehabilitation professionals (SIRPs) who had studied the psychological aspects of sport injury to those who had not.

Participants and design

Ninety-four SIRPs (54 physiotherapists and 40 sports therapists with a mean of 9.22 years’ experience of working in sport) completed an online survey and were grouped according to their level of previous exposure to sport injury psychology education at an undergraduate/postgraduate level. Analyses were undertaken to establish whether there were any differences in sport psychology related attitude (MANOVA), usage (MANOVA), and referral behaviours (chi square) between the groups.

Results

The MANOVA and chi square tests conducted revealed that those who had studied the psychological aspects of sport injury reported using significantly more sport psychology in their practice and making more referrals to sport psychologists.

Conclusions

It was concluded that sport injury psychology education appears to be effective in increasing the sport psychology related behaviours (use of sport psychology and referral) of SIRPs and should be integrated into professional training.

New research (2016): Psychological aspects of sports injury

This page contains a list of research related to the psychological aspects of sports injury published in 2016. Its aim is to be a resource for students and researchers investigating the topic.  It is a ‘work in progress’ and will be updated throughout the year. If you are aware of a piece of research that you think should be added to this list please add it using the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the page.

Arvinen-Barrow, M. and Clement, D. (2016). Preliminary investigation into sport and exercise psychology consultants’ views and experiences of an interprofessional care team approach to sport injury rehabilitation. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 1-9 (online first).

Cagle, A.J., Overcash, K.B., Rowe, D.P. & Needle, A.R. (2016). Trait anxiety as a risk factor for musculoskeletal injury in athletes: a critically appraised topic. International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training, 22(3), 26-31.

Bejar, M. P., Fisher, L. A., Nam, B. H., Larsen, L. K., Fynes, J. M., & Zakrajsek, R. A. (2016). High-level South Korean athletes’ experiences of injury and rehabilitation. The Sport Psychologist, 1-36 (online first). doi: 10.1123/tsp.2015-0060.

Forsdyke, D, Gledhill, A. and Arden, C. (2016). Psychological readiness to return to sport: three key elements to help the practitioner decide whether the athlete is REALLY ready? British Journal of Sports Medicine (online first). doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-096770

Forsdyke, D., Smith, A., Jones, M. and Gledhill, A. (2016). Psychosocial factors associated with outcomes of sports injury rehabilitation in competitive athletes: A mixed studies systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50(9), 537-544.

Heaney, C. A., Rostron, C. L., Walker, N. C., & Green, A. J. (2016). Is there a link between previous exposure to sport injury psychology education and UK sport injury rehabilitation professionals’ attitudes and behaviour towards sport psychology?. Physical Therapy in Sport (online first). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ptsp.2016.08.006.

Hsu, C. J., Meierbachtol, A., George, S. Z., & Chmielewski, T. L. (2016). Fear of reinjury in athletes implications for rehabilitation. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach (online first), 1941738116666813.

Ivarsson, A., Johnson, U., Andersen, M.B., Tranaeus, U, Stenling, A., and Lindwall, M. (2016). Psychosocial factors and sport injuries: meta-analyses for prediction and prevention. Sports Medicine, doi:10.1007/s40279-016-0578-x

Madrigal, L., Wurst, K. & Gill, D.L. (2016). The role of mental toughness in coping and injury response in female roller derby and rugby athletes. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 10(2), 137-154.

Putukian, M. (2016). The psychological response to injury in student athletes: a narrative review with a focus on mental health. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50(3), 145-148.

Roy-Davis, K, Wadey, R. & Evans, L. (2016, in press). A grounded theory of sport injury-related growth. Exercise and Performance Psychology.

Sheinbein, S. (2016). Psychologcal effect of injury on the athlete: a recommendation for psychological intervention. AMAA Journal, Fall/Winter, 8-10.

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, 51(5), 0-0 (online first). doi:10.4085/1062-6050-51.5.13

 

Are we teaching our physiotherapists enough about psychology?

By Caroline Heaney

Physiotherapists are healthcare professionals involved in the treatment and rehabilitation of a broad range of patients in a variety of settings (e.g. hospitals, clinics, and sports clubs). This means that physiotherapy training and practice needs to cover a diverse spectrum of areas. Physiotherapy, as suggested by its name, is primarily concerned with the physical condition and has traditionally focused on just the physical aspects of injury and impairment. More recently however, consideration of the psychological condition during treatment has grown in importance. In line with this in recent years there has been a move away from the biomedical model towards the biopsychosocial model in physiotherapy practice.

Although UK bodies such as the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) acknowledge that an understanding of psychology is important to effective physiotherapy practice, and research has consistently shown the importance of psychological factors in physiotherapy, there appeared to be little known about psychology education within UK physiotherapy programmes and how effective this education is. A literature search failed to find any recent investigations examining the psychology content of UK programmes. In fact the most recent detailed investigation was published in 1989. We therefore decided to undertake our own investigation titled ‘A Qualitative and Quantitative Investigation of the Psychology Content of UK Physiotherapy Education Programs’.

The aim of this investigation was to examine current psychology provision within UK physiotherapy programmes to see if progress has been made since Baddeley and Bithell’s investigation in 1989. Specifically, the investigation aimed to examine the nature and extent of psychology covered in physiotherapy programmes. Representatives from seventeen UK universities that run physiotherapy programmes endorsed by the CSP and HCPC were interviewed regarding the psychology content of their physiotherapy programmes.

What did we find?

All of the universities claimed to include some degree of psychology content within their physiotherapy programmes, with health psychology being the most commonly cited topic area taught. It was largely agreed that psychology is an important component in the education and training of physiotherapists. However, there appeared to be great diversity both within and between universities in the provision of psychology education, and an underlying inconsistency between the reported importance of psychology and the demonstrated importance of psychology through its visibility within physiotherapy programmes. Such diversity and inconsistency was also reported by Baddeley and Bithell (1989), perhaps indicating that limited progress has been made in standardising the psychology curriculum for physiotherapy students over the last twenty-five years.

With regard to the delivery of psychology content, most universities used an integrated approach where psychology content was embedded into other aspects of the curriculum rather than delivered in discrete chunks or modules. The key reason cited for this was that of contextual relevance; it was largely felt that an integrated approach to the delivery of psychology content would lead to a more applied understanding of the topic. It was beyond the scope of the study to accurately determine whether or not the integrated approach to psychology content delivery is effective, however, it is possible that such an approach could sideline or de-emphasise the importance of psychology in physiotherapy practice. It has been suggested that an integrated approach may have a negative impact on confidence in using psychology. Another concern is that this approach can lead to vast inconsistencies in the volume and quality of psychology taught, both between and within universities, and difficulties in quantifying the amount of psychology covered. In line with this, when questioned regarding the amount of psychology in their physiotherapy programme, most were unable to provide an estimate and those who did varied greatly with responses ranging from 5-80%.

Key to a thorough understanding of psychology in an applied context is an understanding of the theoretical underpinning. Therefore, it would be reasonable to expect that the psychology content of physiotherapy programmes would contain a strong theoretical underpinning. However, this was not the case for all universities, with 41% of participants indicating that their psychology provision did not contain any theoretical underpinning. This is suggestive of a degree of superficial coverage of psychology amongst these institutions, which could potentially disadvantage students. One way of improving this situation would be for bodies such as the CSP and HCPC to set more prescriptive guidelines in this area.

The majority of participants rated psychology as highly important in the training of physiotherapists, stating the need for a holistic approach and an understanding of people and behaviour as the key reasons for this. However, this begs the question as to why its coverage is often hidden and why such inconsistency remains between universities in the nature and extent of their coverage. One answer to this may lie in the sheer volume of content required to be covered in physiotherapy programmes. Whilst this study focussed on the psychology content of physiotherapy programmes it is important to note that physiotherapy students have to cover a vast number of other topic areas. When asked what factors dictate the amount of psychology that is covered, time/space in the curriculum was the most commonly cited answer. The second most common answer related to staff; namely the quality, enthusiasm and availability of staff. It seemed that universities were only able to provide good psychology provision when they had access to staff able to facilitate this, which was not always possible.

Conclusion

It is clear that many physiotherapy programmes in the UK provide students with an appropriate grounding in psychology that will positively impact upon their professional practice and that these universities contain strong advocates for psychology amongst their staff. However, this is not always the case and there appears to be great variance in the psychology provision within physiotherapy programmes, which could potentially disadvantage some students. The findings from our study suggest that more needs to be done to standardise the psychology content of physiotherapy programmes in order to ensure that students at all institutions receive a similar level of training in psychology, which will have a positive impact on their professional practice.

The Final Goodbye

I have shared my heartache at the prospect of retiring from athletics on this blog before (see Goodbye…a letter to my sport and When is the right time to retire from sport?), but now the time has finally arrived. Two weeks ago I decided to retire. I started the season with no intention of retiring and was focused on the new challenge of being an 800m runner, but after a highly disappointing first race I know that now is the right time. In that race I ran significantly slower than I wanted to and with that came the realisation that I would not be able to hit the targets I had set myself. As I ran down the final 100m of the 800m race in last place I realised that I want to be remembered for being the athlete that I was and not the athlete that I’ve become.

SEAA 2006 400mH

Two years ago when I retired from the 400m hurdles I wasn’t ready to fully retire, but now I am. There is no doubt that my phased retirement has made this final decision easier to take, but I do still feel great sadness to be saying goodbye to the competitive side of the sport that has been my life for more than 20 years. I will still stay involved in the sport – I can’t let it go completely. I will continue to train and will eventually move into coaching, but I know it will never be same. Nothing will ever replace the feeling of competing on the track and that’s something I will have to come to terms with, but I look forward to the prospect of doing so.

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