The importance of sharing and dissemination to the future of applied sport psychology practice
I have recently returned from the 2016 Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) conference in Phoenix, Arizona feeling reenergised. Well, apart from the eight-hour time difference and 11 hour return flight! The conference was a fantastic event with a very applied programme of workshops, presentations and keynotes. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to be involved in a session as the inaugural editor of the new AASP / Human Kinetics journal ‘Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology’ (CSSEP). My opening comment was that “the literature does not currently reflect the breadth and depth of applied practice that is taking place out in the real world”. In between movies and meals on the plan I had time to reflect on this point, and more than ever feel this is true, and as a result currently problematic. In my opinion, part of the issue here has always been the research-driven empirical publications in the field. These are of course essential, as is the importance of this research to underpin applied practice in what Gershon Tenenbaum presented as the Scientist-Practitioner model (evidence-based practice).
However, the reality of working in the applied content is also crucial. Often it is not the intervention in isolation that works, but the intervention in the context delivered by the specific consultant that is crucial. Many articles to date have been too formulaic and have overlooked the importance of the person/people delivering the intervention(s) and programmes of support. Crucially, the experiences of these individuals in delivering these programmes have not been considered in depth. The ‘how you did it’ and ‘how you felt about it’ are fundamental aspects of the process. As a result, the sharing of this information would be extremely beneficial for the practitioner audience, as well as developmental for the author (in reflecting on their experiences and lessons learnt). The other more difficult aspect of this process is to also share the experiences of the things that did not go very well. We currently have a predominantly positive (understandably) literature in terms of delivering interventions. However, we all know the reality is that sometimes it doesn’t all go well. Now the reasons for this can be diverse, but the reality is sometimes it just doesn’t work. The sharing of these experiences could really help others to evolve their practice or to be aware of potential pitfalls. Also, the sharing of these experiences helps to relieve pressure on trainee or early career practitioners to realise it doesn’t work out all of the time.
The above further reinforces my passion for the new CSSEP journal. The journal offers colleagues and fellow consultants the opportunity to sahre their experiences and to disseminate their lessons learnt. The ‘what’ and the ‘how’ are important, but more so are the ‘who’ and the ‘why’ and the reflections on the experience. I believe that this new journal offers a chance to build a strong community of practice for the profession that is helpful to all. The first issue of CSSEP is now available online: http://journals.humankinetics.com/journal/CSSEP
Please take a look, enjoy the case studies . . . . then starting writing your own!