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Determinants of Elite Disability Sport Performance

in Kinesiology Review
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In the last 10-20 years sport psychologists have started to emphasize the value of mental strengths such as self-confidence for disability sport athletes (Martin, 2012). The pinnacle of disability sport competition, the Paralympics, is becoming increasingly competitive, suggesting a strong need for athletes to possess effective mental skills. Like the Olympics there is intense pressure to win at the Paralympics. In the current review article I discuss the body of knowledge in sport psychology that focuses on potential direct and indirect determinants of performance in elite disability sport. The review is organized around a personnel developmental model used by Martin (1999, 2005, 2012). This model is a humanistic model and revolves around foundation qualities, psychological methods and skills, and facilitative and debilitative factors. The premise of the model is also similar to McCann's sentiment that “at the Olympics [Paralympics], everything is a performance issue” (2008, p. 267).

Martin is with Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.

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