Principal Investigator

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schack

Responsible Investigators

Dr. Konstantinos Velentzas

Psychological support and consultancy
of the German female Youth Volleyball
National Team on its way to the
European and World Championship

2014/09/01 - 2015/09/01 9.750 Euro

New methods aimed at helping athletes stabilize and optimize their skills are of utmost importance in elite sports. Several psychological models and theories have been formulated to clarify the guidelines of a perfect competitive mental preparation on the one hand, and to evaluate diverse psychological skill development on the other hand (Taylor, 1995; Wrisberg & Anshel, 1989). The systematical application and refining of such skills are conceptualized as performance routines (Cohn, 1990). Recent studies have shown that the use of regulatory strategies (psyching up or down) is beneficial also for team sports athletes (vgl. Schack & Velentzas, 2009; Velentzas, Heinen, Tenenbaum, & Schack, 2010; Velentzas, Heinen, & Schack, 2011). Several authors recommend that athletes should learn to apply and individualize their regulative strategies in order to enhance performance early in their careers (i.e. Cumming & Hall, 2002; Kitsantas & Zimmerman, 2002).

The main objective of the present project was the psychological support and supervision of the German female volleyball national team (under 18) on their way to European and World championships. Focuses of the psychological consulting were on learning, application and individualization of psychoregulatory strategies (routine), which were conducted especially for volleyball and beach volleyball (vgl. Schack & Velentzas, 2009; Velentzas, Heinen, Tenenbaum, & Schack, 2010; Velentzas, Heinen, & Schack, 2011). Pre- and between performances routines were part of the everyday training?s agenda in the preparation phase of major tournaments. During times of high pressure (qualification?s tournament as well as during the European championship-EM) the main focus of the supervision was the individual consultation of players and coaches regarding state related coping or communications and planning strategies.

The collaboration with the team and the coaches was very successful. The team won the EM qualification?s tournament and qualified for the youth Olympic Games as well as the youth volleyball World championship through a sensational 6th place finish in the EM championship. Coaches and officials acknowledged the contribution of the Bielefeld University to the successful performance of the national team and made an effort to find sponsors in order to extend the cooperation for future events.
The project was funded by the Federal Institute for Sport Science (BISp- ZMV I 1 - 071612/14-15