Sports Psychology and Clinical Psychology News for 06-02-2019

James Haskell: How involved is sport psychology within rugby?

The psychology of survival: how the Thai football team can endure months trapped in a cave

Trapped underground for eleven days, unsure of whether they would starve to death or drown, the boy’s football team stuck in a labyrinthine cave system in Northern Thailand are fortunate in one regard: they are already organised as a cohesive unit. Group survival in extreme environments requires leadership, teamwork and designated roles, all of which are requirements of being part of a young squad of footballers, and will be augmented by the presence of a 25-year old coach. Advertisement Like the Chilean miners trapped in a copper mine for ten weeks in 2010, the young boys in Thailand have a history of working together and a hierarchy of roles that allow survival tasks to be divided and shared. Read next Inside the first placebo-controlled studies testing if microdosing LSD actually works. Inside the first placebo-controlled studies testing if microdosing LSD actually works. 

Key to the survival in the Chilean miner’s situation was their immediate decision to stay active, to invent daily tasks that turned the endless hours of waiting into a series of chores – creating a sense of responsibility and shared fate. The Thai team have already overcome the first severe challenge in any long-term survival, they have made it through the excruciating first three days, a timeframe in which many disaster victims succumb. Advertisement The struggle to create a microchip that can mimic the human brain and open a portal to another world Humour will now be crucial to the boys’ ability to stay united and mentally afloat, explains Leach who works extensively with hostage survivors, prisoners and kidnap victims. As medics and rescue divers map out the plans to extract the boys through flooded tunnels, psychologists and child development specialists will be called upon to ameliorate the fallout from this life-altering trauma. Although the most harrowing portion of the trapped footballer’s ordeal is likely past, managing the ongoing mental breakdowns and psychological scars is another maze that must be navigated. 

Advertisement Tipton also warns that the hours immediately after a rescue can be fatal. Returning to life above ground after ten weeks, one of the Chilean miners remembered looking in the mirror. 


Why should sport psychology practitioners attend football medicine conferences?

As a sport and exercise psychology graduate and postgraduate, I didn’t think an international medical conference would be a place I’d find myself the summer after completing my MSc. Leading up to submitting my thesis, my tutor and I had discussed the Isokinetic Conference and I was encouraged to consider attending and even submit my work. I think there is a shared understanding with those in research and academia that there is simply not one factor to explain outcomes, very much like there is not just one source of support and influence in the world of football medicine, or sports medicine in general. Taking this into consideration, I remained extremely open-minded and believed in the significance of my psychology of sports injury research in this area. I was excited, overwhelmed and nervous – there was no backing out now! 

From a sport psychology perspective, I perceived this achievement as an example of how far psychology has come in terms of being viewed and respected as a football medicine discipline in an interdisciplinary network. To present research in a way that communicates to those of different domains is a sign of a good presentation if you ask me. In sport psychology, we appreciate the important of context-specific understanding. There was always opportunity for questions and debate and it was exciting to hear the new, cutting-edge research emerging from international research centres. If your area of competence is not widely recognised – do something about it, bring your research to the table and get it spoken about. 

I definitely would like to encourage neophyte practitioners in all sport science disciplines to attend conferences such as this, because in times of injury, reconditioning and rehabilitation, I think it is pivotal to be aware and understand the context your athlete is in. Injury rehabilitation is a criterion-based process and so understanding the injury type, severity as well as the psychological factors all contribute to returning to sport. 4) Embrace the opportunity to communicate with others, whether it be about your own research or theirs. Use feedback as a means to develop yourself and your research further. 


Sports Psychology in the English Premier League: ‘It Feels Precarious and is Precarious’

Their work can be diverse, but typically includes working with athletes, coaches, teams and significant others regarding performance enhancement or performance restoration across issues such as injury, stress and emotion management, communication, leadership, motivation, confidence and career transitions. Sports psychologists might work in higher education, research, applied practice or a combination thereof. Within professional football, precarious work is often linked to the high turnover of first team managers and head coaches, 2015). John, one of the co-authors of this article, is in his mid-30s and has worked for over a decade as a sports psychologist within the English Premier League and the higher echelons of English County Cricket. Because of these connections, John facilitated the participation of his club in a study conducted by the authors concerning the impacts of managerial team change on sports science work and workers. 

While sociology of work scholars have focused on the subjective experiences of workers in other professions facing precarity, such as those working in the cultural and creative industries, agencies and vulnerable workers, studies of employees in this comparatively new profession are rare. John’s long working hours and his substantive focus on work exemplifies this project. He possesses a PhD and has professional qualifications in psychology, personal networks developed from university onwards and has expanded the remit of sports psychology work within his club. His interview highlights how precarisation is lived – made routine and habitual, with lengthy working hours, spillage of work into home and private life, with a constant need to prove himself and to please others. While openly challenging the precarised mode of being an employee would result in job loss and the loss of professional identity, the narrative illuminates the various ways in which John resists managerial claims over his work, workplace relations and ways of working. 

All of this adds to the precarious nature of the work. Google Scholar Roderick, M, Schumacker, J ‘The whole week comes down to the team sheet’: A footballer’s view of precarious work.