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CASE STUDY #1 There were sixteen weeks remaining before the Regional Figure Skat

by | Apr 28, 2022 | Psychology


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There were sixteen weeks remaining before the Regional Figure Skating
Championships, when Lexi and her mother called a mental performance consultant, Lisa.
Lexi’s mother was concerned about her daughter’s mental readiness and wanted someone to
assist her in getting some things sorted out before the competition.
“Why don’t you start by telling me what the problem is,” Lisa suggested.
“I feel like I’m a rubber band that is totally stretched out. My coach and our trainer have
one end, and my mom and Audrey, my physical therapist, have the other. I’m getting yanked
from side to side, which is totally freaking me out. I’m afraid that I’m going to bomb at the
Regional Championships.” Lexi proceeded to describe how stressful her training environment
had become, and her words became punctuated by weak, but audible, sobs.
Lisa, Lexi, and Lexi’s mom met the next day to provide Lisa with some more information.
Lexi, a 12-year-old, was a little ball of fire on the ice. Her mother described her as
“Fearless. She goes out on the ice and will attempt any jump. Even if she falls down, she will
immediately get back up and try again. She loves the sport and loves to practice. Sometimes we
even need to force her off the ice to come home and do her homework. She doesn’t want to do
any other sports and she dreams of being in the Olympics. We all believe, and so does Lexi,
that she has the talent to get there.” Lexi had started taking lessons from her coach, Karen (a
former competitive figure skater) at the age of five and had been with her ever since. Karen had
a reputation as a very driven, overbearing, and disciplined coach whose control over her
athletes was taken to the extreme. Karen believed in home schooling and off-ice training in
ballet, weight lifting, and jazz dance. Whenever possible Karen had her athletes live with her. If
one athlete did not follow her regimen, then none of the athletes would be coached until the
athlete (or his or her parents) conformed. Her control extended to the wallets of the parents, as
well. Karen’s agreement was that no parent would ever receive a bill from her unless an athlete
tried to change coaches.
Everything had been fine until Lexi suffered a torn hamstring injury four months ago. The
sport medicine doctor told her to stop skating for a couple of weeks to allow the tear to heal.
Unfortunately, the rest wasn’t enough and Lexi immediately reinjured the muscle when she
began training again. The doctor referred Lexi to Audrey, a well-known physical therapist, for
additional treatment.
Audrey began working with Lexi three times a week and revised her training schedule to
eliminate all stretching, ballet, on-ice jumping, and weight training with the trainer. To maintain
her endurance, Audrey had Lexi ride an exercise bike in place of running. Lexi’s mom was
completely supportive of the rehabilitation regimen. Lexi was pleased with the improvements
she was making. She was beginning to regain her confidence and started to think that maybe
she had the strength to make it through this challenge.
Karen, on the other hand, was considerably upset. She insisted that Lexi continue with
her ballet classes if she wanted to maintain her coaching services. Lexi and her mom trusted
Audrey’s advice and decided to follow her revised training program.
After two weeks, Karen approached Lexi’s mom in the lobby of the rink. “This treatment
is nonsense,” she told her. “All skaters need to stretch. The ballet will keep Lexi’s muscles
loose. I insist that she join the ballet classes again, or I will refuse to train her.” After Lexi’s mom
tried to tell Karen that she believed Audrey knows what she is doing, Karen continued, “I know
what’s best for my skaters, and I don’t need someone like Audrey trying to ruin all I’ve done to
make Lexi the skater she is today! Since I’m not getting any support or cooperation from you or
your daughter, I’ll take this up with Audrey. I feel like I’m the only one concerned about Lexi’s
future.” Karen’s anger was visible as she stormed back toward the rink, muttering under her
breath. Lexi’s mom was not the type to back down when it came to Lexi’s well-being. Though Lexi loved figure skating with an almost obsessive passion, her mom was a significant driving
force behind Lexi’s success.
During the conversation between Karen and Audrey, Karen became defensive as she
realized that she wasn’t going to easily regain control over Lexi’s life. Audrey had an alternative
recommendation for every suggestion that Karen made. In an attempt to calm Karen, Audrey
explained to her that she wasn’t a threat but was only trying to do her job.
As the weeks passed, Karen became more critical and emotional, frustrated by her lack
of control over Lexi. The young skater couldn’t help but feel the pressure and anger from her
coach’s feedback. Karen made a point of telling Lexi each day how this change in her training
was destroying all the progress they had made and would ultimately result in a very poor
showing at the Regional Championships. Lexi trusted her mother and Audrey completely and
wanted her leg to be 100 percent for the competition as much as her coach did. Karen,
however, tried to make Lexi feel guilty and disloyal at every turn.
“I’ve given you so much of my time and energy,” Karen said, “and this is the thanks I
get? I could have been spending my time with a skater who wants to win. You won’t have a
chance against the other competitors unless you allow me to guide your training. Just stop
wasting my valuable time!”
Lexi was in tears by the time Karen finished her angry lecture. Although Lexi was healing
physically, she was deteriorating emotionally.
After Lexi completed her eighth week of rehab, Audrey gave her permission to begin
working on her double axel jump again. Karen was outraged when she learned that Lexi was
not given clearance to perform any flexibility moves – spirals, camel spins, etc. Karen showed
her displeasure by refusing to work with Lexi on her double axels. In fact, Karen wasn’t
coaching Lexi on much of anything.
There was a local competition about four weeks before the Regional Championships,
which Lexi and her mom decided to use as a dress rehearsal for the more important regional
competition. They decided that Lexi would only skate her long program. They agreed that to
skate the short program as well might cause too much strain on her leg and they wanted to play
it safe with the Regional Championships so close. When Lexi and her mom informed Karen of
their decision, Karen stated, “It doesn’t really matter what she skates, she is not going to go
anywhere anyway.”
Lexi was devastated by this final comment from her coach and she started to believe
some of the comments Karen had been making. Even though Audrey had reassured Lexi that
she was physically ready to compete, if Karen thought she was going to do so poorly at the
Regional Championships, why should she even try?
1. Describe and explain the main issues in this case with respect to the two main
protagonists, Lexi and Karen.
2. How do the factors interact to explain both Lexi’s and Karen’s thoughts, feelings, and
3. What advice could you provide to Karen regarding her coaching strategies and why?
4. What advice could you provide to Lexi and Lexi’s mom regarding her continued
participation in figure skating and why?
5. Add and explain any other information you feel is important and why.
Explain your rationale for your answers in detail. Your rationale is as important as your
actual response
Nancy is a 38-year-old mother of three (ages 12, 10, and 8), who has been relatively
sedentary most of her adult life. Nancy was on the swim team as a child and was a cheerleader
during high school, but she has done no regular exercise since. Family finances have always
necessitated that Nancy work most of her married life, never taking a full 12-month maternity
leave after the birth of any of her children. Nancy enjoys her work as a real estate agent, as it
fills her need to meet people, be on the go, and compete with the other real estate agents;
however, she does find the fact that her finances depend solely on the commission from her
sales rather stressful. She tells her colleagues that this busy work schedule along with her
family responsibilities leave her with little time to exercise. When they aren’t working and
feeding the family, she and her husband, are driving the kids to swimming, gymnastics, or flag
Recently, Nancy’s 64-year-old mother was told that she needed to undergo surgery to
combat the possibility of a severe cardiac event. This diagnosis has made Nancy seriously
scrutinize her lifestyle and she doesn’t like what she sees. Despite not being seriously
overweight, Nancy realizes that she spends at least six hours of her work day sitting behind her
desk, more time sitting while watching her kids at practice, and then when not cooking meals for
the family, she prefers to have time to read romance novels and the news on the internet.
Every day, on her car route home from work, Nancy passes a new fitness centre a
couple of blocks from her home. One day, she decides to stop in. As she walks in, the area
looks new, clean, and patrons are wearing masks and social distancing. There are areas of free
weights, of weight machines, of aerobic equipment (treadmills, etc.), a matted area for
stretching, and another where it looks like group sessions could be held. Nancy also smells the
faint scent of chlorine, so assumes there is a pool attached to the building. Mirrors line every
wall, heavily muscled men are mainly working with weights, and women in short shorts and
sport bras can be spotted in every area. With a look of utter dismay on her face, Nancy turns
around and walks out of the gym. Spencer, one of the owners of the fitness centre, notices the
look on Nancy’s face and runs after her as she exits the building.
“Excuse me, I haven’t seen you here before and I noticed that you left the building rather
abruptly without asking any questions. I’m Spencer, and I am one of the owners of this facility.
Can I help you with anything?”
“No, I am afraid not. I was seriously contemplating buying a membership to your facility
because it is so convenient, but, I do not think it is the place for me,” Nancy said without her
usual confidence.
“I would really appreciate it if you came back in and we could have a discussion. My
partners and I realized that when we decided to build here, we were smack in the middle of a
primarily residential area of families with young children on one side, and on the other the
homes seem to be owned by individuals who have lived there for quite some time, their children
have left the home, and most are retired. Yet, we don’t seem to be attracting either of these
demographics. Would you be willing to share your insights so we can provide services to those
young families with children and to those who are retired?”
As Nancy’s mother lives close by as well, Nancy agreed to share her experiences, and
possibly her mother’s, with Spencer. When Nancy left, Spencer started to think of ways to help
Nancy begin and maintain an exercise program. He also went to talk with his other partners
about programs they could start to try to attract more people from the surrounding
1. Describe and explain the main issues in the case for both of the protagonists, Nancy and
2. How do the factors interact to explain both Nancy’s and Spencer’s thoughts, feelings,
and behaviours?
3. What advice can Nancy give Spencer regarding ways to increase his clientele?
4. What are some ideas Spencer may have to help Nancy start and maintain an exercise
program? Why does he think these programs may work?
5. What ideas do you think Spencer talked about with his partners for initiating new
programs? Why would he suggest these programs?
Explain your rationale for your answers in detail. Your rationale is as important as your
actual response
In this case study, the main protagonist is you. Describe and explain an achievementbased situation that occurred in your life. Ideally, because this is an introduction to sport and
exercise psychology class, it would be most appropriate if the setting was in sports or exercise;
however, the experience can be in any setting where you feel you had something to gain (or
lose), like sports or school. Then, identify and explain at least four of the constructs (and
appropriate theory if applicable) that we have talked about during the semester to help you
understand your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Keep in mind a good discussion of these
constructs will also include how they interact and influence each other.
Please do not disclose any personal information that you are uncomfortable sharing.
Know that all information you share when answering this question will be kept confidential.
However, if you do share information that suggests you may be experiencing feelings where you
may harm yourself or others, the teaching assistant will inform the instructor and we will contact
you to assist you in obtaining help.
Please see the Guidelines for Reflective Writing to help you with this assignment.
Explain your rationale for your answers in detail. Your rationale is as important as your
actual response


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