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This study explored the views of Canadian Masters athletes (MAs; Mage = 51, range 38–62; three men and five women) from 12 sports (10 individual and two team sports) on sport psychology for performance, experiential, and lifestyle enhancement. Using Braun and Clarke’s procedures for thematic analysis, the authors interpreted data from semistructured interviews deductively in relation to five strategic themes in which psychological skills are applied for performance enhancement. Deductive results demonstrated MAs used goal setting, imagery, arousal regulation, concentration, and self-confidence to enhance performance and obtain competitive advantages. The authors also analyzed data inductively to reveal themes related to experiential and lifestyle factors. Inductive results showed that MAs “placed priorities on sport,” which involved cognitively justifying the priority and framing sport as an outlet and as the embodiment of the authentic self. Social strategies associated with continued sport pursuit included cultivation of supportive social environments, social contracts/negotiations, social signaling, and social accountability. Strategies “to fit sport in” included integrating/twinning, scheduling, and managing commitment. Managing age-related concerns involved mindfulness and compensation strategies. Results show how MAs uniquely apply sport psychology to enhance their performance and to support sport adherence.
Makepeace and Young are with the School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada. Rathwell is with the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB, Canada.