Embracing the Richness of Athletesí Emotional Experiences: Intersections between Coping Research and Mental Training Consulting
Authors: Kent C. Kowalski
Abstract: In this article I discuss intersections between coping in sport literature and my mental skills training work as a consultant with elite athletes. To this end, I provide an overview of my approach to mental training consulting and how it has been significantly shaped by Lazarusís (1991, 2000a) cognitive-motivational-relational theory of emotion and current coping in sport research. I argue for the strengths of prioritizing the emotional experiences of athletes in applied sport psychology work, as well as an approach that emphasizes the development of athletesí self-awareness, the need to disentangle athletesí coping strategies from the goals underlying those strategies, and the importance of seeing athletesí emotional experiences as a process. I also encourage caring and compassionate relationships between consultants and clients that respect boundaries of professional competence. I end with a discussion of relevant ethical questions that are entwined with mental skills consulting embedded within coping in sport framework.