Analysis of sport psychology consultancy at three Olympic Games: Facts and figures

Birrer, Daniel; Wetzel, Jörg; Schmid, Jürg; Morgan, Gareth (2012). Analysis of sport psychology consultancy at three Olympic Games: Facts and figures. Psychology of sport and exercise, 13(5), pp. 702-710. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.psychsport.2012.04.008

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Despite many reports on best practises regarding onsite psychological services, little research has attempted to systematically explore the frequency, issues, nature and client groups of onsite sport psychology consultancy at the Olympic Games. The present paper will fill this gap through a systematic analysis of the sport psychology consultancy of the Swiss team for the Olympic Games of 2006 in Turin, 2008 in Beijing and 2010 in Vancouver.

Descriptive research design.

The day reports of the official sport psychologist were analysed. Intervention issues were labelled using categories derived from previous research and divided into the following four intervention-issue dimensions: “general performance”, “specific Olympic performance”, “organisational” and “personal” issues. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, chi square statistics and odds ratios.

Across the Olympic Games, between 11% and 25% of the Swiss delegation used the sport psychology services. On average, the sport psychologist provided between 2.1 and 4.6 interventions per day. Around 50% of the interventions were informal interventions. Around 30% of the clients were coaches. The most commonly addressed issues were performance related. An association was observed between previous collaboration, intervention likelihood and intervention theme.

Sport psychologists working at the Olympic Games are fully engaged with daily interventions and should have developed ideally long-term relationships with clients to truly help athletes with general performance issues. Critical incidents, working with coaches, brief contact interventions and team conflicts are specific features of the onsite consultancy. Practitioners should be trained to deal with these sorts of challenges.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Sport Science II [discontinued]

UniBE Contributor:

Schmid, Jürg


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Elsevier Science




Corinne Ammann

Date Deposited:

09 Jul 2014 09:47

Last Modified:

09 Sep 2017 05:01

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Olympic games, Onsite interventions, Brief contact intervention, Crisis intervention, Critical incident, Psychology consultancy




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