Developing the Effectiveness of Applied Sport Psychology Service Delivery: A Reflective Practice Intervention

Brendan Cropley, Sheldon Hanton, Andy Miles, Ailsa Niven, Lea-Cathrin Dohme

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Little empirical evidence exists to corroborate the proposed benefits that reflective practice may have for service delivery effectiveness in Applied Sport Psychology (ASP). To systematically address this gap, we collected data over a five-year period via a staggered, single-subject multiple-baseline intervention that aimed to: (a) investigate the effectiveness of a training program designed to enhance practitioners’ abilities to engage in higher levels of reflection; and (b) explore whether developments in level of reflection influenced practitioner effectiveness. Eight trainee and four professionally qualified, UK based practitioners participated in an individualized 14-week study, which contained a two week intervention and a two month post-study retention assessment. All participants demonstrated immediate improvements in the level they were able to reflect at, as well as augmented reflective learning following the intervention. Measures of effective practice (e.g., client feedback, self-assessments) also demonstrated improvements post-intervention. In-depth social validation procedures substantiated these findings, with participants reporting that through more critical levels of reflection they experienced enhanced self-awareness, approaches to meeting client needs, professional judgement and decision making, and a range of other characteristics associated with effective consultants. Our findings offer novel support for the links between reflective practice and service delivery effectiveness, as well as a better understanding of the mechanisms through which such adaptations occur. This study makes a significant contribution by providing an in-depth, longitudinal insight into the value of focusing practitioner training on reflective practice as a meta-cognitive strategy to enhance ASP practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-60
Number of pages22
JournalSport and Exercise Psychology Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020


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