The present investigation examined athletes’ responses to a psychological skills training program spanning a 3-month period. Two studies were conducted to evaluate the degree to which a week-long psychological skills training program changed elite wrestlers’ knowledge, perceived importance, and use of relaxation, visualization/imagery, goal setting, and mental preparation techniques. In Study 1, 18 senior elite wrestlers ranging from 17 to 32 years of age participated in a week-long training camp involving a psychological skills training program and completed assessments immediately before and after camp and again 3 months later. Study 2 was identical to Study 1 except that 33 elite junior wrestlers, ages 14 to 18, were studied. Overall, the results demonstrate that the educational program was effective in changing the athletes’ knowledge, perceived importance, and use of the four psychological skills. MANOVA procedures revealed that the relaxation and visualization/imagery portions of the program were particularly effective, perhaps because they were incorporated into actual on-the-mat practice sessions. The importance of conducting evaluation research and methods of facilitating psychological skills development are discussed.
Daniel Gould is with the Dept. of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27412. Linda Petlichkoff is with the Dept. of HPER at Boise State University, Boise, ID 83725. Kenneth Hodge is with the School of Physical Education at the Univ. of Otago, Otago, New Zealand. Jeffery Simons is with the Dept. of Kinesiology at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90089.