Developing and Supporting Athlete Wellbeing : Person First, Athlete Second book cover
1st Edition

Developing and Supporting Athlete Wellbeing
Person First, Athlete Second

ISBN 9780367254629
Published September 29, 2021 by Routledge
304 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This pioneering book in elite athlete wellbeing brings together the narratives of athletes and wellbeing practitioners in high-performance sport with cutting-edge theorizing from world-leading academics to explore pertinent mental wellbeing matters that present for elite athletes both during and after their careers.

The journey of the elite athlete is considered from entering the high-performance system as a youth performer through to retirement, with contributions illuminating the ways in which mental wellbeing can be impacted – both negatively and positively – through common place experiences.  Methods of creating holistic high-performance sports cultures along with common mental wellbeing influencers, such as parents, education, faith, injury and (de)selection are explored, as well as the ramifications of uncommon events on mental wellbeing, such as whistleblowing, legal disputes, psychological disorders and COVID-19. Drawing on this analysis, the book then proffers thought-provoking strategies for how the mental wellbeing of both athletes and staff can be understood, developed and supported, ultimately driving elite sport cultural transformation to put the person first and the athlete second. 

Each chapter presents the wellbeing experience from the vantage of the athlete or the wellbeing practitioner, followed by an academic unpacking of the situation. This makes the book a must read for students and researchers working in sport coaching, sport psychology, applied sport science or sport management, as well as practitioners interested in facilitating a duty of care for high performing athletes, and working in coaching, sport science support, athlete development programs, NGB policy and administration or welfare services.

Table of Contents

1. Introducing Holistic Wellbeing Within the Athlete Journey

Abbe Brady


2. The Holistic Wellbeing of Elite Youth Performers: U MATTER

Tony Ghaye, Luke Allen and Neil Clark


3. The Role of Parents and Family in the Wellbeing of Athletes

Camilla J. Knight, Katie S. Uzzell and Catherine Shearer


4. Dual Careers and Athlete Wellbeing

Lindsay Woodford and Claire-Marie Roberts


5. The Role of Coach Leadership in Promoting Athlete Wellbeing and Performance

James Matthews and David Passmore


6. Supporting Athletes from Different Cultures and Nationalities: The Case of Women’s Football

Claire-Marie Roberts and Katie Rood          


7. The Impact of Selection and Deselection on Athlete Wellbeing: Australian Women’s Cycling

Jenny McMahon, Kerry R. McGannon and Chris Zehntner


8. Supporting the Wellbeing for Athletes of Faith

Charles H. Wilson, Jr., Christina M. Gipson and Natalie Campbell


9. The Ableism of Athlete Wellbeing Support: Additional Needs of the Paralympic Athlete

Natalie Campbell and Danielle Brown


10. The Implementation of an Integrated Psychological Support Programme for Injured Athletes: 'Stopping Athletes from Falling Off the Edge of the Cliff'

Misia Gervis


11. Developing Caring Cultures in Football: A Model for Practice and Change

Colm Hickey and Colum Cronin


12. Supporting an Athlete through Legal Action

Seema Patel, Samantha Rippington and Pam Boteler


13. Wellbeing and Whistleblowing: What Happens?

Pim Verschuuren and Silke Kassner


14. Supporting Athlete Careers and Retirement from the Vantage Point of Smaller National Governing Bodies

Niels B. Feddersen and Laurence Halstead


15. Athlete Welfare, Stakeholder Responsibility, and Ethics of Care in Elite Sport: An Examination of Para-sport Organisation Approaches in France

Geoffery Z. Kohe, Laura G. Purdy, and Arnaud Litou


16. Fighting a System Built to Exclude Queer(ing) Bodies: An Imperative for Athlete Wellbeing

Sheree Bekker and Katlego K. Kolanyane-Kesupile


17. The Role of Athletic Identity Foreclosure in the Development of Poor Athlete Mental Health

J. D. DeFreese and Jeni Shannon


18. Supporting Athlete Wellbeing During a Global Pandemic: The Case of COVID-19

Natalie Campbell and Josh Rudd



David Lavallee

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Natalie Campbell is a BPS-registered social psychologist and lifestyle management practitioner.  She is also a senior lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire, UK.

Abbe Brady is an HCPC-registered sport psychologist and head of the Department of Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences at St Mary’s University, UK.

Alison Tincknell-Smith is an International Athlete Commission Member and lecturer at the University of Bath, UK.