"How do I know I’m doing a good job?”: a poetic representation of stakeholder interactions on the development of practitioner identity within applied sport psychology

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractpeer-review


Contemporary research has identified identity as being an
under-researched area within applied sport psychology.
Concurrently, recent research has identified the micro-political nature of sport psychology contexts and the significance of
stakeholder interactions in shaping the professional selfunderstanding of applied practitioners. Utilizing a multi-theoretical perspective, this study aimed to explore how interactions with key stakeholders shape and inform practitioner
identity in relation to the practitioner’s current roles and
responsibilities. With the institutions’ ethical approval, purposive sampling identified 7 UK-based practitioners (5 male and
2 female) who gave informed consent to participate in the
research. All were either registered with the Health Care
Professions Council or engaged on a professional accreditation pathway. Practitioners outlined their career histories on
a timeline, highlighting key stakeholders within their current
environment. These timelines informed semi-structured interviews, accruing over 18 hours of data that were then transcribed verbatim and analysed using reflexive thematic
analysis. The analysis process generated three themes: Out
of sight, out of mind; left to my own devices; feeling a part and
apart. These themes encapsulate the impact of practitioners’
interactions with key stakeholders, including athletes, coaches, support staff, and management. The themes also highlight the practitioners’ experiences of a lack of proximal line
management, and their own perceived importance and contribution to their respective organisations as a result of the
interactions with key stakeholders. The findings, articulated
through a poetic representation, both aim to capture the
emotional nature of applied sport psychology practice and
identify the contextually bound nature of practitioner identity
and professional self-understanding. Recommendations are
made on how supervisory and peer-support processes can
develop practitioner understanding around stakeholder interactions, and the subsequent impact that these can have on
forming and maintaining practitioner identity. Subsequently,
practitioners are encouraged to consider how the manage
their interactions with key-stakeholders and line management
processes. Further, through utilising Thoits (2011) notion of
social ties as mechanisms for health, suggestions are made to
consider how such interactions with key stakeholders can
impact practitioners’ health through such mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-54
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue numberSup 1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2023
EventBASES Annual Conference 2023 - Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Nov 202317 Nov 2023


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