Cross-Cultural Issues in Sport Psychology Consultation

Cross-Cultural Issues in Sport Psychology Consultation


Researchers found that one of the barriers facing successful sport psychology consultations is a lack of sport specific knowledge (Martin, et al., 1997). Also, more cross-cultural investigations are needed in the field (Duda & Alison, 1990). The development of knowledge would enhance the credibility and practice of sport psychology, identify trends in knowledge development, and establish a scientific basis for mental training (Vealey, 1994). Suinn (1985) believes that the visibility and recognition of the field of sport psychology by coaches and athletes are important factors in the success of athletes’ performance. Coaches and athletes would then have a better understanding of and become more receptive to sport psychology consultation. In turn, this may then encourage coaches to more readily relinquish the responsibility of psychological consultations to qualified professionals.
Research in sport psychology focuses on consultations with athletes and coaches of various performance levels and cultural backgrounds. Some researchers have specifically been directed to the needs of minorities, particularly African- American athletes (Anshel, 1990). Despite the growth of sport psychology consultations, many athletes remain reluctant to utilize the services of sport psychology consultants. Ravizza (1988) found that sport psychology consultants were faced with major hurdles, such as being viewed as “a shrink,” a lack of sport specific knowledge, and insufficient knowledge of experiences and policies related to the sport environment.
Barriers to sport psychology consultations within a cultural framework may initially be examined through the relationship between coaches and athletes. Most coaches are strongly influential and view themselves as fully capable of filling the role of mental preparation (Schell, et al., 1984). Most sport psychology consultants understand that coaches exert a major impact upon the sport context, as well as athlete behavior and development (Vealey, 1994). Potential conflict between coaches and sport psychology consultants may occur when psychological interventions are not accepted by coaches. Many coaches may feel compelled to maintain complete control over their athletes. As a result, they may become over-protective and fear that interventions will undermine interpersonal skills.
Additionally, research on white and black players’ perception of their coaches indicated that black athletes are less trusting and more distant compared to white players (Anshel & Sailes, 1990). The mistrust may be in response to white coaches’ misinterpretation of black athletes’ behavioral tendencies (Cashmore, 1982). For example, college football coaches have been found to describe black players in terms of physical speed, quickness, and high achievement motivation. White players were stereotyped as being high on reliability and having quick thinking skills (Anshel, 1990).
Studies found racial differences between blacks and whites in areas of intervention, psychological preparation, and needs or styles in the competitive environment. For example, African-American athletes’ perceptions of sport psychology consultation showed perceived racism, as well as a lack of sensitivity to the individual and sociocultural needs of black players (Anshel, 1990). Hall (1996) found that African-Americans were more cognizant of their ethnicity than white athletes. Failure to take into account the historical, cultural, and personal characteristics of minority participants hindered the effectiveness of the intervention (Partington & Orlick, 1991). Studies suggest that in relation to cultural differences, sport psychology consultants should take time to speak the athletes’ language in order to gain acceptance of the players (Ravizza, 1988). Ravizza also found that there are two obstacles white consultants must overcome: their role as a consultant and their own race-based perceptions.
Sport psychology literature that examined social-psychology differences between black and white athletes included little empirical work at the causal or explanatory level (McPherson, 1976; Wiggins, 1986). As a result, findings offered limited evidence of the effectiveness of white sport psychology consultants who consult with black athletes. In effect, understanding of the function of race and cultural differences in sport psychology consultation was limited.
In conclusion, the field of sport and exercise psychology is still changing as new knowledge in the applied areas is acquired. “Sport involvement can be a positive experience for all participants, but only if the experience is properly structured with the physical and psychological needs of the participants in mind” (Murphy, 1995, 13).
Cross-Cultural Issues in Sport Psychology Consultation Cross-Cultural Issues in Sport Psychology Consultation Reviewed by mabelinter on mai 26, 2020 Rating: 5

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