Field hockey players (n=39) assessed their own psychological strengths and weaknesses by rank-ordering various mental skills. Coaches (n=5) who had daily contact with these athletes ranked the same skills on the basis of their perception of the players’ strengths and weaknesses. Comparisons indicated that the specificity of the skills being ranked influenced the amount of agreement between the responses of players and coaches. When general categories of skills were ranked, there was very little consistency between the groups. When specific skills within the general categories were ranked, there was considerable consistency between the groups. The results are discussed in relation to the nature of the questions asked when designing mental training programs. It is suggested that consultants should take care to identify potential problems in terms of specific skills rather than general categories. By doing so, they may increase the likelihood of agreement about mental training needs and increase their effectiveness. The issue of conducting selfassessments via rating-scale and rank-order formats is also addressed. Problems that the consultant may encounter in the use of a rating-scale format are noted, and the potential advantages of a rank-order format are discussed.
J. Robert Grove is with the Department of Human Movement and Recreation Studies at the University of Western Australia, Nedlands, W.A., Australia 6009. Stephanie J. Hanrahan is a doctoral student at the same institution.