Interview Requests – the Final Failed Requests

This post includes email transcripts of my contact with each interviewee that was contacted on December 15th, 2020 and that did not result in an interview.

Several of the final batch of interview requests fell through. Specifically, all of the esports interview requests in the final batch fell through. Each interviewee was contacted at 7:00 AM on December 15th.

Dr. Charlotte Woodcock responded to this first collection of emails. She asked if this interview would be recorded or shared in any way. Although, I felt that the original email very clearly stated the purpose for the interview, I confirmed that this was the case. When I confirmed this, she immediately ceased email contact with me and did not respond to my last email. She was not re-contacted due to her adverse response.

The remaining prospective interviewees — Ms. Lise Keiter, Mr. Kim Sang-soo, Mr. Anand Agarwal, Mr. Aaron Atkins — were then contacted again on December 22nd, at 8:00 AM, with the same email.

At this point, Ms. Lise Keiter responded, stating that she would like to answer my questions over email. She asked me to remind her of the questions if she had not responded by the end of first few days of the first business week in the new year.

Mr. Sang-soo, Mr. Agarwal, and Mr. Atkins

On January 4th, 2021, the remaining interviewees were contacted again. Mr. Sang-soo, Mr. Agarwal, and Mr. Atkins were all sent modified versions of the original email that politely explained that my research would be ending soon and that I would value their input. Below are the exact texts of the final emails sent to Mr. Sang-soo, Mr. Agarwal, and Mr. Atkins. Unfortunately, they did not respond.

The final request written to Mr. Agarwal was as follows:

“Dear Mr. Agarwal,

Congratulations again on rejoining TSM.

I am William Bradford, a high school student at Renaissance School in Charlottesville, Virginia, and I am conducting my Senior Thesis research on performance psychology.

I admire your ability to consistently coach teams to high placements in the highest echelons of tournament settings, especially FlyQuest. Accordingly, I would like to ask you a few questions.

Would you be open to an online interview via email? I am contacting you again because my research ends on January the 7th and I would love to have your opinion on these questions.

Thank you so much for your kind consideration,
With my highest regards,
William Bradford

1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work as a coach?

2. The Individualized Zones of Optimal Functioning (IZOF) model is used in physical sports to gain an understanding of the emotional ranges conducive to peak performance for each athlete. How do you aid in determining optimal states of mind for each player?

3. Emotional inventories including the Stress-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and Profile of Mood States (POMS) are commonly used in physical sports to measure the effects of performance events on athletes. How have you attempted to assess stress or anxiety before or during performances?

4. Runners commonly use emotional regulation techniques such as positive self-talk to remain in an optimal frame of mind when performing. What techniques do you employ with your athletes to ensure that they are at peak performance at each tournament?

5. Symptoms of overtraining can include long-term mood alterations and decreased performance quality. Have you noticed symptoms of overtraining in your competitors after multiple, consecutive, long training sessions? How did you first become aware of them?

6. Relating to the previous question, what variety of symptoms have you found? These could be small things, like missing easy shots or large things like misapplications of ingame macro decisions. What measures have you taken to mitigate this effect?”

The final request written to Mr. Sang-soo was as follows:

“Dear Mr. Sang-soo,

I am William Bradford, a high school student at Renaissance School in Charlottesville, Virginia, and I am conducting my Senior Thesis research on performance psychology.

I would like to interview you because of your work with TSM in the LCS during 2017 and 2018. I believe your guidance is incredibly strong and I would like to ask you a few questions.

Would you be open to an online interview via email? I am contacting you again because my research ends on January the 7th and I would love to have your opinion on these questions.  

Thank you so much for your kind consideration,
With my highest regards,
William Bradford

1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work as a coach?

2. The Individualized Zones of Optimal Functioning (IZOF) model is used in physical sports to gain an understanding of the emotional ranges conducive to peak performance for each athlete. How do you aid in determining optimal states of mind for each player?

3. Emotional inventories including the Stress-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and Profile of Mood States (POMS) are commonly used in physical sports to measure the effects of performance events on athletes. How have you attempted to assess stress or anxiety before or during performances?

4. Runners commonly use emotional regulation techniques such as positive self-talk to remain in an optimal frame of mind when performing. What techniques do you employ with your athletes to ensure that they are at peak performance at each tournament?

5. Symptoms of overtraining can include long-term mood alterations and decreased performance quality. Have you noticed symptoms of overtraining in your competitors after multiple, consecutive, long training sessions? How did you first become aware of them?

6. Relating to the previous question, what variety of symptoms have you found? These could be small things, like missing easy shots or large things like misapplications of ingame macro decisions. What measures have you taken to mitigate this effect?”

The final request written to Mr. Atkins was as follows:

“Dear Mr. Atkins,

I am William Bradford, a high school student at Renaissance School in Charlottesville, Virginia, and I am conducting my Senior Thesis research on performance psychology.

I found your work with Dallas Fuel and your work with Team USA in the 2019 Overwatch World Cup to be awe-inspiring. After noticing a number of positive changes in the teams’ performances, I found that I had a few questions I would like to ask you.

Would you be open to an online interview via email? I am contacting you again because my research ends on January the 7th and I would love to have your opinion on these questions.    

Thank you so much for your kind consideration,
With my highest regards,
William Bradford

1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work as a coach?

2. The Individualized Zones of Optimal Functioning (IZOF) model is used in physical sports to gain an understanding of the emotional ranges conducive to peak performance for each athlete. How do you aid in determining optimal states of mind for each player?

3. Emotional inventories including the Stress-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and Profile of Mood States (POMS) are commonly used in physical sports to measure the effects of performance events on athletes. How have you attempted to assess stress or anxiety before or during performances?

4. Runners commonly use emotional regulation techniques such as positive self-talk to remain in an optimal frame of mind when performing. What techniques do you employ with your athletes to ensure that they are at peak performance at each tournament?

5. Symptoms of overtraining can include long-term mood alterations and decreased performance quality. Have you noticed symptoms of overtraining in your competitors after multiple, consecutive, long training sessions? How did you first become aware of them?

6. Relating to the previous question, what variety of symptoms have you found? These could be small things, like missing easy shots or large things like misapplications of ingame macro decisions. What measures have you taken to mitigate this effect?”

Ms. Keiter

On January 6th, Ms. Keiter was politely reminded of the questions I had sent, however she did not respond. This was done with the understanding that she would likely respond after January 7th, which was the goal end date for all interviews. Because it was only one email interview, I was willing to do undergo the extra-compressed work schedule that would result from receiving the information after my personal deadline. Below is the email transcript of our correspondence.

“Dear Ms. Keiter,

I am William Bradford, a high school student at Renaissance School in Charlottesville, Virginia who was recently admitted to Mary Baldiwn, and I am conducting my Senior Thesis on the relationship between performance psychology in multiple fields.

I admire your work with local youth performers and believe that you hold a unique perspective on performance in group settings. Accordingly, I would like to ask you a few questions.

Would you be open to an online interview sometime between now and January 6th or 7th? I am typically available on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 12:00 and 6:00 PM EST, but I would be glad to accommodate your schedule.

I am certain you are busy, so if scheduling a call does not work for you, I have attached questions below, in case you may have the opportunity to answer via email instead.

Thank you so much for your kind consideration,
With my highest regards,
William Bradford

  1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work as a professor at Mary Baldwin? Have you been able to arrange any modified performances? Did those performances inspire the same emotions as pre-pandemic performances?
  2. Have you ever worked with performers using emotion-based performance analysis tools? If not, how do you recommend identifying and maintaining an emotional state that is conducive to peak performance?
  3. Performing athletes commonly use mental tools such as positive self-talk to help remain in an optimal state of emotion during performances. What mental tools do you suggest to students for coping with performance anxiety during performances and why?
  4. Do you have any specific pre-performance routines that you use or that you instruct your students to use?
  5. Flow is essentially the feeling of complete immersion in a performance. Is there any specific way that you can recall accessing this feeling, or is out of your control? If it is out of your control, do you feel that you can influence it with proper preparation?
  6. Overtraining is a common phenomenon in sports training today. Its symptoms include long-term mood alterations and decreased physical performance in sports. Have you found that training for a performance too much can elicit these symptoms as well? Is there anything in specific that you do to mitigate this effect?” – Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

“Dear William,

Thank you for your message. My apologies for the slow reply.

I can reply to your questions via email. I’ll try to do that in the next few days. If you don’t hear from me by early next week, please send me a reminder. 🙂

Sincerely,
Dr. Keiter” – Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

“Dear Ms. Keiter,

Thank you very much! Have a wonderful week.

Thank you for your time,
William Bradford” – December 30th, 2020

“Dear Ms. Keiter,

I hope this email finds you well. Thank you again for agreeing to answer my questions. I would like to remind you about them, as per your request last week.

Thank you very much for your time,
Kind regards,
William Bradford” – January 6th, 2021

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