Physical, Cognitive, Emotional, and Interpersonal Requirements of Different Athletic Activities

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Dennis A. Kelly United States Naval Academy

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Based on the working hypothesis that optimal psychological strategies for athletic performance can be employed only when the nature of the task is understood, an instrument was developed that identified systematically the varying physical, cognitive, emotional, and interpersonal requirements of a wide range of athletic activities, A sample of 753 Naval Academy midshipmen with experience and expertise in different sports rated their sport along a number of dimensions, constituting the items in the instrument. These ratings were submitted to a principal-component factor analysis, and 41' items were retained and organized into eight subscales based on the component loadings. Items and subscales were psychometrically stable and homogeneous. Standardized profiles were then constructed for the rated requirements of 48 sports. An additional principal-component analysis yielded second-order components which led to the combining of sports with similar profiles. The 48 sports were thereby reduced to 18 clusters. Some applications of this approach are offered, as well as ideas for future research.

This study was supported by a grant from the Naval Academy Research Council. Opinions expressed are those of the author and are not to be construed as reflecting the official view of either the Naval Academy or the Department of the Navy.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dennis A. Kelly, LCDR, MSC, USN, Dept. of Psychiatry, Naval Hospital, Naval Submarine Base, New London, Groton, CT 06349.

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