Bridging the Gap Podcast

Bridging the Gap Podcast brings you the latest research in sport, performance and exercise psychology in audio format. Any research that involves strengthening the mind, team dynamics, leadership or well-being, we cover it. We go straight to the researcher and bring the information straight to you, Bridging the Gap between research and your knowledge.
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Jun 26, 2017

Andy Gillham owns and operates Ludus Consulting LLC ( focusing on performance enhancement for his clients. More specifically, Dr. Gillham works primarily with coaches and athletic administrators on improving systematic coach evaluation and providing targeted coach and program professional development opportunities. His Ph.D. is in Education with a major of sport and exercise psychology from the University of Idaho and has a B.S. in Fitness and a M.S. in Human Performance from University Wisconsin-LaCrosse.  He has been a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association since 2003 and is a certified consultant through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Dr. Gillham has helped athletes, coaches, administrators and business executives in Canada and the United States improve their performance.  Dr. Gillham works across competitive levels ranging from youth through professional levels for both coaches and athletes. In addition to his applied work, Dr. Gillham has published 12 peer-reviewed academic journal articles and has been an invited author for 12 more papers. He is also an Editorial Board member for two international coaching journals: International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching and International Sport Coaching Journal where he also serves as Section Editor for Resource Reviews.

May 15, 2017

Earlynn Lauer, MS, is a doctoral student and graduate teaching associate in the Sport Psychology/Motor Behavior program in the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, & Sport Studies at The University of Tennessee. She is a certified tennis instructor through the Professional Tennis Registry, and her research interests focus on working with youth sport psychology professionals and coaches to integrate mental skills training in youth sports. In Fall 2017, she will be starting a position of Assistant Professor in Sport Psychology and Wellness at Western Illinois University.

May 8, 2017

Dr Jennifer Cumming is a Reader in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the University of Birmingham (UK) and is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.  She is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) after completing a Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education in 2010 was awarded the 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Birmingham.  Prior to this, she was received her PhD in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario in 2001 and her MA from the University of Ottawa in 1999. 


Dr Cumming’s current research focuses on community-based approaches to developing practical and culturally-tailored interventions for athletes and, more recently, individuals who are traditionally considered ‘harder to reach’.  She is interested in how individuals learn to effectively regulate their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours with mental skills training, and determine the impact of self-regulation (or dysregulation) on performance, health, and well-being.  Whereas sport psychology customarily focuses on mental skills as a regulatory capacity that athletes use in competitive and non-competitive situations, she more broadly uses this knowledge to support health-related quality of life in communities that are more challenging to engage, such as homeless adolescents. 


Dr Cumming is the Primary Investigator of large funded study (2014-2020) to co-develop, co-implement, and co-evaluate the Mental Skills Training for Life™ programme as part of community-based participatory action research with a large supported housing service.  She was nominated for the University of Birmingham’s Founders’ Award for Excellence in Policy Advancement in 2015 and Enterprising Birmingham’s Most Innovative Collaboration award in 2017.  Her work has also been recognised as good practice by Public Health England and is being used to inform interventions for preventing and reducing homelessness in the UK.  She has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and is the current co-editor of Imagination, Cognition and Personality. 

May 1, 2017
“Drive on”: The relationship between psychological variables and effective squad leadership.
By Gilson, Todd A.; Dix, Melissa A.; Lochbaum, Marc
Military Psychology, Vol 29(1), Jan 2017, 58-67.
The U.S. Reserve Officer Training Program (ROTC) conducts systematic assessments of cadets’ leadership abilities during field training exercises (FTX) to assess their leadership abilities. While cadets in ROTC programs learn specific tactical operation procedures to augment FTX performances, much less is known about the relationship between psychological variables and squad leadership performance. To this end, 220 cadets completed self-efficacy, psychological flexibility, and grit questionnaires, which were then compared to FTX performance scores. Results underscored that only self-efficacy was significantly related to cadets’ squad leadership ability. Furthermore, prior service in the U.S. Army had no effect on the performance score one attained, highlighting an interesting paradox. Therefore, while self-efficacy can be cultivated through prior experiences, it seems more prudent to educate ROTC cadets on how to apply psychological skills to bolster self-efficacy in preparation for upcoming challenging leadership experiences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Todd Gilson serves as the Director for University Honors at Northern Illinois University. In this role, Todd oversees an Honors Program with over 1,000 students from all six undergraduate colleges at NIU. Todd's line of research focuses on applying the core sport psychology principles of self-efficacy and leadership development to NCAA collegiate athletes and US Army ROTC cadets, which has resulted in over 30 peer-reviewed publications in such outlets as: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Military Psychology, and Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Professionally, Todd also serves as the Secretary-Treasurer for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP).

Twitter: @ToddAGilson


Apr 24, 2017

Nick Holt is a Professor in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, where he leads the Child & Adolescent Sport & Activity lab. He is interested in psychosocial aspects of youth sport and physical activity participation, and studies issues including parenting, peer interactions, coaching, and free play. He adopted a Positive Youth Development (PYD) perspective. He is currently leading a Canada-wide knowledge translation project.



Twitter: @PYDsportNET




Apr 17, 2017

Dr. Alyson Crozier researches in the area of health, exercise and sport psychology, with a specific interest in group dynamics and social influence. Specifically, she examines how the people that surround us, and ones perceptions of those people, influence ones thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in both sport and exercise settings. One area she is particularly interested in is how social norms (i.e., what behaviour most people engage in & what behaviours others approve of) relate to athlete effort and individual physical activity patterns. Alyson completed her Ph.D. at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada in 2014, and is now a Lecturer at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, Australia.  If you have any further questions about her research, you can contact her at

Apr 10, 2017

Eric M. Martin joined the faculty at Boise State University in 2016. He earned a Ph.D. in Kinesiology with a concentration in Psychosocial Aspects of Sport and Physical Activity from the Department of Kinesiology at Michigan State University. Through his work at Michigan State, Dr. Martin was involved in a variety of projects that have investigated positive youth development programs, parent attitudes toward sport, and youth perceptions of the sport environment and how these environments impact youth development.

Dr. Martin’s primary research interests include the development and consequences of sport passion and how to best structure the youth sport environment to benefit all involved. His research has been published in a variety of journals including The Sport PsychologistThe Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, and The International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

In his spare time he enjoys playing and watching sports as well as spending time outdoors with his wife, Kristen, and son, Jamison.

Mar 20, 2017

About Matt Cuccaro, Ed.M.

Passionate about personal growth and the development of high performance team cultures, Matt has more than a decade of experience working with athletes, coaches, parents, businesses and educators on the mental aspects of elite performance.

As a Performance Consultant with Telos Sport Psychology Coaching, Matt assists the development of individuals and teams from the junior level to the highest professional ranks through workshops, individual meetings, speaking engagements and publications. He currently leads programming at Sea Pines Resort, Smith Stearns Tennis Academy and the Junior Players Golf Academy.

For nine years, he served as Director of Mental Training for Junior Sports Corporation (International Junior Golf Academy and Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy) in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina where numerous All-American student-athletes continue to emerge from the culture created under his guidance. Matt received his Master of Education from Boston University in Counseling/Sport Psychology and continues to be an active member of the Association of Applied Sport Psychology.

Follow him on Twitter & Instagram: @MentalCoachMatt

Reach him via e-mail:

Mar 13, 2017

Guest: Betsy Shoenfelt

Dr. Betsy Shoenfelt, University Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences at Western Kentucky University (WKU), is the director of the WKU Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology Graduate Program. She received her Ph.D. in 1983 from LSU in I-O Psychology with minors in Sport Psychology and Statistics. She is a licensed I-O Psychologist, a Certified Consultant and Fellow with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, and a member of the USOC Sport Psychology and Mental Skills Registry. Shoenfelt has 30+ years of consulting experience in business, industry, government, education, and sports. In sports, she works with teams and individually with coaches and athletes training mental skills, team building, and enabling performance excellence in volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, swimming, and golf at the intercollegiate, Olympic, and professional levels.






Research Gate:


Additional link:

Mar 6, 2017

Guest: Claudia Robazza

Claudio Robazza is an Associate Professor of Methods and didactics of motor activities at the Faculty of Movement Sciences, University of Chieti, Italy. He earned a master degree in Physical Education, a master degree in Psychology, and a PhD in Sciences and Techniques of Physical Activities and Sports from the University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France. As a sport psychologist, he has been working with top level athletes of different sports, including golf, archery, modern pentathlon, rugby, and he is currently involved with the Italian shooting team. He has conducted field-based studies in physical education, motor learning, and sport performance domains, and his primary research interest is in the area of performance-related emotions, performance optimization, and motor learning. He has published numerous refereed journal articles, and is the author of several book chapters and books. He is also an associate editor of Psychology of Sport and Exercise, consulting editor of Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, advisory board member of Sport Sciences for Health, and co-director of Giornale Italiano di Psicologia dello Sport (Italian Journal of Sport Psychology).


In the 2015, he received the Ema Geron Award from the FEPSAC (European Federation of Sport Psychology) in recognition of his exceptional national contribution to the development of sport and exercise psychology. In the same year, he also received the Diploma of Honour – Bronze Medal from the ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) in appreciation of his exceptional service to the shooting sports.








Research Gate:


Additional link:

Feb 27, 2017

Andreas Stenling, PhD

Current Position: Researcher, Department of Psychology, Umeå University


Research interests:

Leadership and motivational processes in various contexts (e.g., sport, work)

Transfer of training

Sport injury rehabilitation, prediction, and prevention

Physical activity, cognitive function, and mental health across the life span

Applications of statistical methods in sport and exercise psychology research


Contact and information:


Personal website:


Twitter: @AStenling



Feb 20, 2017

Guest: Edson Filho

Dr. Filho is a Lecturer is Sport and Exercise Psychology in the School of Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire. He received a doctoral degree in Sport Psychology from Florida State University (USA) and completed a post-doctoral term in Neuroscience and Psychophysiology at the Behavioral Imaging and Neural Dynamics Center at the University of Chieti (Italy). His research agenda revolves around peak performance experiences, team processes and social neuroscience in sports. Dr. Filho has published numerous peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters on topics related to performance, sport and exercise psychology. Dr. Filho also has applied experience, having served as a performance enhancement specialist for athletes and performing artists. He is a Certified Consultant by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and a member of the Sport Psychology registry of the United States Olympic Committee. Dr. Filho’s research and applied work has been recognized through several awards, including the Diversity Award by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and the Dissertation Award in Sport and Exercise Psychology by the American Psychological Association.






Research Gate:


Additional link:

Feb 13, 2017


Guest: Luc Martin


My research interests lie in the general area of sport psychology with a particular focus on group dynamics principles. More specifically, I am interested in the psychosocial influences present in sport and physical activity settings, and how individuals’ can be influenced by, but can also influence the groups to which they belong. My current projects involve the investigation of group processes such as cohesion, cliques, social identity, and leadership on both individual and team level outcomes in child/youth and elite sport populations. Generally, the main focus is to develop a better understanding of certain psychosocial factors that can be used to inform interdisciplinary and policy relevant research aimed at enriching the sporting environment.






 613-533-6000 x79140




Additional link:


Martin, L. J., Eys, M. A., & Spink, K. S. (2016). The social environment in sport organizations. In C. Wagstaff (Ed.), The Organizational Psychology of Sport: Key Issues and Practical Applications. Abingdon, UK: Routlege.

Feb 6, 2017

Study: Hardiness differentiates military trainees on behavioural persistence and physical performance



Hardiness is a personality trait that drafts courage and motivation during adversity. Research showed that hardiness differentiates elite athletes from their lower rank competitors. In the domain of sport psychology, hardiness also strongly predicts physical performance. Because the military occupation requires resilience and excellence in physical performance, researchers investigated hardiness and behavioural persistence during training. However, in those studies, hardiness’ impact was weak. Besides, military researchers seldom addressed hardiness’ effect on physical performance. We investigated the influence of hardiness on behavioural persistence and physical performance during the military basic training. Participants were 233 trainees involved in a 22-week long basic training. They completed hardiness measures at the beginning of the training and then, two months later, we registered who stayed involved and who had dropped out. The remaining trainees participated in a self-defence exercise and their trainers evaluated their performance. Our analysis indicated that hardiness significantly predicted behavioural persistence: the trainees still involved in the training after two months scored significantly higher on the hardiness scale than those who dropped out (EXP(B) = 1.08; p < .05). Our results however confirm that hardiness has a weak direct effect on persistence of military trainees. During the self-defence exercise, hardiness positively predicted physical performance ( = 9.87; p < .05). We discuss the possible relation of hardiness with other major persistence predictors in the military, such as health, health practices, and social support. Our study is the first to indicate a strong relationship between hardiness and soldiers’ physical performance.


Author: Salvatore Lo Bue


Captain-Commandant (OF-3) Salvatore Lo Bue is Head of the Chair of Psychology at the Belgian Royal Military Academy (RMA). He holds a PhD degree in Psychology (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven – KUL) and in Social and Military Sciences (RMA). In 2003, he starts his professional career as researcher for the Medical Psychology Service of the University Hospital of Liège. In 2004, he joins the Belgian Defense as Mental Readiness Advisor. As such, he deploys three times in Kosovo (KFOR), two times in Afghanistan (ISAF) and one time off the coast of Somalia (EU NAVFOR) to advise commanders on the psychological aspects of a deployment (leadership, cohesion, job satisfaction, and psychosocial support). In 2011, he was appointed to the RMA where his main task is to teach psychology to military cadets and to conduct research in the domain of military psychology.

Today, as a lecturer in Psychology, his main occupation is teaching elements of psychology to the cadets of the RMA. The courses he teaches include “Military Psychology”, “Communication Psychology”, “Human Factors Engineering” and “Didactics”. His main pedagogical objective is how the future officer can use principles of psychology to improve performance and wellbeing among the member of his troop. 

Although the theme of his PhD addressed the relevance of hardiness in the military context, his research interests are broader and concern the whole domain of military psychology, in other words all topics helping to improve performance and wellbeing among military service members. At the time being, his main efforts lie on a study concerning the sense of agency and of responsibility (in collaboration with Université Libre de Bruxelles), the strategies of minority groups to cope with a identity-threatening environments (in collaboration with KUL) and a European Defense Agency project on resilience screening for selecting military solicitants.







Feb 2, 2017

Study: An empirical examination comparing the Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment approach and Psychological Skills Training for the mental health and sport performance of female student athletes

Abstract: The present study was a randomised controlled trial investigating the effectiveness of the Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) approach compared to traditional Psychological Skills Training (PST) for the mental health and sport performance of female collegiate athletes. Two hypotheses were proposed: (a) participants in the MAC group would demonstrate reduced behavioural issues, emotional distress, and psychological symptoms, and increased athletic performance when compared to those in the PST group; (b) MAC participants would exhibit reduced emotion dysregulation and increased psychological flexibility and dispositional mindfulness, compared to PST participants. Participants included 18 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III female student athletes who were randomly assigned into either the MAC or PST group based upon pre-intervention levels of distress; and were assessed pre-intervention, post-intervention, and at 1-month follow-up. A mixed-model ANOVA analysis revealed that the MAC effectively reduced Substance Use, Hostility, and Emotion Dysregulation over time when compared to the PST group. Several within-group differences also emerged, as MAC participants demonstrated reduced Generalised Anxiety, Eating Concerns, and Psychological Distress, as well as increased psychological flexibility from post-intervention to one-month follow-up. As per coach ratings, MAC participants also evidenced improved sport performance from pre-intervention to post-intervention. Results suggest that the MAC is an effective intervention for the mental health and sport performance needs of female collegiate athletes.


Author: Mike Gross

Dr. Mike Gross is a Certified Consultant for the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (CC-AASP) who runs a private practice in Somerset, NJ offering both mental health and performance enhancement services to athletes. Using techniques from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and other mindfulness-based approaches, Dr. Gross seeks to help athletes optimize performance both inside and outside of sport. In addition to his private practice work, Dr. Gross is the Coordinator of Sport Psychology and adjunct professor at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). Dr. Gross is also the Senior Associate Editor of the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology (JCSP).  He can be reached at







Jan 23, 2017

Practitioner: Derrek Falor

  • Certified Consultant for The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (CC-AASP #599)
  • Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology
  • 20 Years College Soccer Coaching Experience across the NCAA D2 and D1 levels (18 years as a head coach)
  • 3 Years as a High School Soccer Coach (2016 Seattle Times Star Coach of the Year)
  • Mental Skills Coach for the Seattle Sounders U23 Team
  • 20 Years working as a performance enhancement consultant
    • Clients include Pro Athletes, College Teams, High School Athletic Departments, High School Teams, Individual Athletes


Twitter: @DerrekFalor


Crowdfunding for: PLAY ON! Project Details

Our project, entitled 'PLAY ON! How can a sport program better the lives of young people with mental illness? ' has been chosen to be part of a mental health grant challenge through Experiment. The funding campaign just launched on January 10. works on an all-or-nothing funding model. We have 30 days to reach our goal of $6,000. Backers won’t be charged unless we reach that goal. We have already raised 34% of our goal in the first week and hope to keep this momentum going! 

Interested in being part of this project? You can by:

  1. donating directly at
  2. sharing the link ( with other friends and colleagues through email, Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  3. checking back often as we we will be posting lab notes on the progress
  4. sharing your feedback on the project itself, or letting me know if you are doing similar work so we can chat
  5. asking any questions you may have (either directly though e-mail or via the discussion board on Experiment)

I really encourage you to check out the tool and think about if any of your work could be funded this way. Experiment is all about creating a community – just think of all the amazing work this listserv could get off the ground if we band together! Side note – I just found out from Dr. Michael Sachs that AASP offers an incentive for us to engage in crowdfunding – check it out:

Thank you for your valuable time and support! 

Be well, 

Lauren Brooke, M.A. 
PhD Candidate
School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science
Curtin University

Jan 16, 2017

Study: Preparing to Take the Field: A Temporal Exploration of Stress, Emotion, and Coping in Elite Cricket

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to explore the stress, emotion, and coping (SEC) experiences of elite cricketers leading up to and on the day of their first competitive fixture of the season. Four elite male cricketers (M = 21.25, SD = 1.5) completed Stress and Emotion Diaries (SEDs) for the 7-day period leading up to and on the day of their first competitive fixture of the season. We then interviewed the cricketers to explore the content of the SEDs in more detail. We used semistructured interviews to glean insight into the stressors, cognitions, emotions, coping strategies, and behaviors. Inductive and deductive content data analysis provided a holistic and temporal exploration of the SEC process underpinned by the cognitive-motivational-relational theory of emotions (Lazarus, 1999). The results highlighted the ongoing and continuous nature of the SEC process while illustrating the coping strategies the cricketers used leading up to and on the day of competition.


Author: Adam Miles

Adam Miles is a PhD candidate in Sport Psychology at the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago, New Zealand. His research focuses primarily on the psychosocial effects of participation in sport. In particular, his current research involves developing, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of a life skills intervention with elite athletes. He has also investigated issues such as stress, emotion, and coping in elite sport and the mediating effects of self-talk during skilled motor performance.






Jan 9, 2017

Guest: Jean Côté


Dr. Jean Côté is professor and Director in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University at Kingston (Canada).  His research interests are in the areas of youth sport, coaching, positive youth development, and sport expertise.  Dr. Côté is regularly invited to present his work to both sport governing organizations and academic conferences throughout the world.  In 2009, Dr. Côté was the recipient of the 4th EW Barker Professorship from the Physical Education and Sport Science deparment at the National Institute of Education in Sinpapore.  He received the Queen’s University Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision for 2013.  Dr. Côté’s recent line of research involves the use of observation techniques to examine the influence of different types of coach-athletes relationships on athletes’ outcomes.  This work aims at the development of an evidence-based Transformational Coaching training workshop to help coaches create optimal sport environment for the development of better people and athletes. 




Twitter: @jeancote46




Additional link:

Jan 2, 2017

Author: Katrien Fransen


Dr. Katrien Fransen has start up a research line on shared leadership within sports teams at KU Leuven (Belgium). As assistant professor, she is eager to continue this research line and further extend her expertise. While most previous research solely focused on the coach of the team, Prof. Fransen’s research established a broad foundation for the leadership of athletes within the team. She continues this research line by designing an athlete leadership development program and identifying the moderators underlying the effectiveness of shared leadership. Besides her academic track record, she has also built up significant coaching experience. As former assistant-coach of the national youth teams and head coach of the university team, a strong motivation drives her to keep her research closely connected to the needs of the field.



Twitter: @KatrienFransen

Dec 19, 2016

Nikola Milinkovic has extensive experience in Professional Athletics in the field of High Performance and Sports Psychology, focusing on elite junior, ATP and WTA tennis players across several countries, including the United States, the Netherlands and his home country Serbia. Nikola spent the last ten years Directing Sport Psychology programs in high performance tennis academy settings in both the US (Florida and Connecticut) and the Netherlands. Nikola played ITF and college tennis and is a certified Sport Psychology Consultant through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and is a certified Professional Level Coach through the United States Professional Tennis Registry (USPTR).

Nikola has worked extensively with sports organizations in Serbia. He is a visiting consultant at Belgrade Sports Academy and UNICEF Serbia. Nikola additionally extended his psychology work across the United Nations in The Netherlands where he served as a Staff Welfare/Development and Learning and Development Coordinator.

Nikola appeared on national television in Serbia and is an international published author. Nikola presented at The US Department of State within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and across the New England Region at various conferences. Nikola is a recipient of the 2006 Clark University Senior Class Award, given annually to the senior student-athlete of highest impact on his/her sport development, who best exemplifies class, spirit and integrity in athletic endeavors. Nikola earned his BA degree in Psychology and Theater Arts from Clark University and his EdM degree in Counseling with focus on Sport Psychology from Boston University.

Dec 12, 2016

Researcher: Sam Vine


I am an Experimental Psychologist, with a broad range of interests in the area of skill learning, expertise and performance under pressure. I am particularly interested in how visual attention (examined through eye tracking) and other physiological processes mediate motor skill and decision making performance. I apply my research to a range of different domains (e.g., sport, surgery, military, and aviation) and populations (e.g., children, elite performers and patient groups).






Twitter: @samueljamesvine

Eye tracking Consultancy:

Virtual Reality Human Factors Training:

Dec 5, 2016

Practitioner: Toby Larson

Toby Larson runs a private practice, Fit Mind Training where he works with athletes and performers to develop, enhance or support their mental skills that enable peak performance. Toby has a M.S. in Kinesiology from California State University East Bay and is a Certified Consultant with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Toby's clients include athletes at the elite professional level to the recreational level and high school sports as well. Toby's contact information can be found at

Nov 28, 2016

Study: Psychological Factors in Ultrarunning


The psychological processes of ultramarathon runners are not well-understood in the current literature. Previous studies have primarily focused on the physical and physiological components of ultrarunning and the few studies exploring the psychological components of ultrarunning have relied predominantly on retrospective inquiry. The purpose of this study was to use a mixed-methods, multimodal approach to examine the psychological aspects of ultrarunning. “Live” in-task quantitative and video data were collected during the course of a 100 mile and 100 km ultramarathon races that spanned 32 hours of data collection. These data were supplemented with an immediate, short postrace interview directly following the runner completing or withdrawing from the race, and then a second, in-depth interview approximately six weeks following race weekend. For the quantitative data collection, single-item, in-task measures assessed runners’ pain, fatigue, affective valence (i.e., a feeling state of “bad” or “good”), energy, attentional focus, confidence to finish, and perceived exertion. Video cameras were also used to visually record changes the runners experienced during the run. Both postrace interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed with a phenomenological lens. A total of 11 runners in the 100 mile race and five runners in the 100 km race participated in this study; six runners completed the 100 mile race and four runners completed the 100 km race. Due to the lower number of participants in the 100 km race, inferential statistics were completed only with the 100 mile runners. Independent samples t-tests were conducted to examine the mean in-task ratings of finishers and non-finishers in the 100 mile run. Finishers had significantly higher confidence ratings than non-finishers at mile 65 and at mile 75. A series of repeated-measures analyses of variance (ANOVAs) assessed changes in in-task measures over the course of the ultramarathon race for the six finishers in the 100 mile race. There was a significant effect of time on the in-task measures of pain, affective valence, fatigue, energy, and exertion, with pain, fatigue, and exertion increasing and affective valence and energy decreasing over the course of the race. The videos taken during the race were used as memory prompts during the runners delayed postrace interview following race weekend. Phenomenological analysis of the interview transcripts revealed eight major chronological phases depicting the psychological aspects of the runners’ race experience: pre-race, the start, chugging along, getting dark, it gets real, final push, the finish, and post-race reflections. There were also two overarching subthemes identified in analysis that went beyond the chronological phases: the natural environment of the race and the social community of ultrarunning. Implications for theory and practice, as well as suggestion for future studies, are identified and explored.


Author: Dolores Christensen

Dolores Christensen was born and raised in Northern California. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology and political science from Southern Oregon University (Ashland, OR) where she was a member of the women's volleyball team. She then went on to earn her master's degree in Sport and Performance Psychology from the University of Denver. Dolores is currently a fifth-year student in the Counseling Psychology PsyD program at Springfield College (Massachusetts) and is completing her internship at the University of California, Davis in the eating disorders emphasis area. Dolores has focused her clinical training on collegiate student-athletes and her dissertation is on the psychology of ultramarathon runners. She enjoys running on mountain trails in her free time.


Nov 21, 2016

Study: Predicting Sport Experience during Training: The Role of Change-Oriented Feedback in Athletes’ Motivation, Self-Confidence and Needs Satisfaction Fluctuations


 Change-oriented feedback (COF) quality is predictive of between-athletes differences in their sport experience (Carpentier & Mageau, 2013). This study extends these findings by investigating how training-to-training variations in COF quality influence athletes’ training experience (within-athlete differences) while controlling for the impact of promotion-oriented feedback (POF). In total, 49 athletes completed a diary after 15 consecutive training sessions to assess COF and POF received during training, as well as situational outcomes. Multivariate multilevel analyses showed that, when controlling for covariates, COF quality during a specific training session is positively linked to athletes’ autonomous motivation, self-confidence and satisfaction of their psychological needs for autonomy and relatedness during the same session. In contrast, COF quantity is negatively linked to athletes’ need for competence. POF quality is a significant positive predictor of athletes’ self-confidence and needs for autonomy and competence. Contributions to the feedback and SDT literature, and for coaches’ training, are discussed.


Author: Joelle Carpentier

I am a Social and Sport Psychologist. I am interested in the explicit and implicit impacts of social environments on athletes’ experience, performance and goals pursuit. My current research focuses on the provision of change-oriented feedback (aka negative feedback) by coaches and between teammates. Can change-oriented feedback be autonomy-supportive? Can it lead to positive consequences? Should it be given or avoided? Should teammates give feedback to one another? Obviously, this line of research can also be extended to other learning contexts. I am also interested in people’s implicit perception of autonomy-supportive and controlling environments. 



Nov 14, 2016

Study: Sensorimotor Rhythm Neurofeedback Enhances Golf Putting Performance.



Sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) activity has been related to automaticity during skilled action execution. However, few studies have bridged the causal link between SMR activity and sports performance. This study investigated the effect of SMR neurofeedback training (SMR NFT) on golf putting performance. We hypothesized that preelite golfers would exhibit enhanced putting performance after SMR NFT. Sixteen preelite golfers were recruited and randomly assigned into either an SMR or a control group. Participants were asked to perform putting while electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded, both before and after intervention. Our results showed that the SMR group performed more accurately when putting and exhibited greater SMR power than the control group after 8 intervention sessions. This study concludes that SMR NFT is effective for increasing SMR during action preparation and for enhancing golf putting performance. Moreover, greater SMR activity might be an EEG signature of improved attention processing, which induces superior putting performance.


Author: Ming-Yang Cheng

Ming-Yang Cheng is a PhD student in Bielefeld University, Germany and specializes in sport psychophysiology. He grew up in Taiwan and earned his master degree there. Now, he’s conducting a line of research regarding how to fine-tune athletes’ focused attention by using electroencephalography (EEG), so called neurofeedback training. The results are very encouraging.



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