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Stressors and Expected Performance of Soccer Athletes: The Role of Sport Confidence and Cognitive Appraisal

Catarina Morais, Clara Simães, A. Rui Gomes, and Beatriz M. Gonçalves

This study aimed to provide a framework for how athletes evaluate stress before a competition and how stress relates to cognitive appraisal, sport confidence, and expectations of performance. Participants were 327 youth male athletes, aged 15–19 years (M = 16.90; SD = 1.00), who competed in the Portuguese National Football League and completed a questionnaire 24–48 hr before their match, using the critical incident methodology. Results revealed that opponents were the main source of stress for athletes and that the more athletes stress about their opponents, the more they tend to perceive the situation as threatening (and less challenging), the lower their perceptions of coping and sport confidence which, in turn, predicted lower expectations of individual and collective performance. In sum, perceiving the stressful situation as either a challenge or a threat predicts young athletes’ sport confidence and, consequently, expected performance when dealing with stressful competitive situations.

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Shooting Free Throws Under Pressure: A Social Media Self-Talk Intervention

Sabrina Gomez Souffront, Angeliki M. Mavrantza, and Marcelo Bigliassi

The present study sought to investigate the effects of a self-talk intervention on free-throw performance under pressure. The experimental manipulation was designed using a video from a social media platform. Thirty male college basketball players were randomly assigned into two groups (i.e., control and experimental). The experimental protocol incorporated three trials of three free throws each. Psychophysiological stress was assessed by use of heart rate variability. The illusion of pressure was created using arena recordings of large crowds along with instructions for participants to visualize a high-pressure scenario. The results indicate that the self-talk intervention was sufficient to improve free throw shooting accuracy during the postintervention phase. Short-term heart rate variability reduced significantly for the control group and remained relatively stable for the experimental group. Self-talk appears to influence free throw accuracy during situations of psychosocial stress by inhibiting the influence of negative thoughts on peripheral physiological reactions and movement automaticity.

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Eras of Burnout Research: What Does the Past Tell Us About the Future of Burnout in Sport?

J.D. DeFreese, Daniel J. Madigan, and Henrik Gustafsson

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The Influence of Social Support Provider on Adolescent Athlete Burnout and Engagement

Kathleen T. Mellano and Christine Pacewicz

The purpose of the current research was to examine the interaction of teammate and coach support on athlete burnout and engagement, and determine how type of teammate and coach support links with athlete burnout and engagement. Adolescent athletes (N = 176) completed measures of support, burnout, and engagement. Total teammate and coach support accounted for 14.9%–26.0% and 22.4%–36.7% explained variance across dimensions of burnout and engagement, respectively. No meaningful significant interaction was found. Teammate esteem support predicted reduced accomplishment, devaluation, confidence, and vigor (β = −0.31, −0.36, 0.28, and 0.28), while emotional and tangible support predicted dedication (β = 0.29 and 0.20) and enthusiasm (β = 0.30 and 0.22). Coach esteem support predicted reduced accomplishment (β = −0.59) and devaluation (β = −0.27). Findings suggest that support from one key agent can enhance youth athlete well-being, but types of support provided by agents differ in salience.

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Volume 17 (2023): Issue 3 (Sep 2023)

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The Influence of Athletes’ Psychological Needs on Motivation, Burnout, and Well-Being: A Test of Self-Determination Theory

Stephen Shannon, Noel Brick, Garry Prentice, and Gavin Breslin

Sport provides a significant role in the lives of athletes; however, both positive and negative mental health effects may occur from sporting experiences, including burnout and/or well-being. A cross-sectional survey was conducted including 685 athletes (M age = 23.39, SD = 6.22, 71% = male), testing multiple, complementary, self-determination theory hypotheses linked to well-being, and burnout. A multistage modeling approach encompassing confirmatory factor and path analysis was utilized, with results showing significant variance explained for well-being (R 2 = .30) and burnout (R 2 = .35). Several direct effects were found in line with self-determination theory, including between; needs-support and needs-satisfaction (β = 0.48), and needs-control and needs-frustration (β = 0.44); needs-satisfaction and motivational orientation (β = 0.25); needs-satisfaction and well-being (β = 0.37), and needs frustration and burnout (β = 0.25); and motivational orientation and burnout (β = −0.27), and motivational orientation and well-being (β = 0.18). Indirect effects were found for well-being and burnout via coach needs-support, needs-satisfaction, and motivational orientation in sequence (β = 0.24 and β = −0.22, respectively), in addition to burnout via coach needs-control, needs frustration, and motivational orientation in sequence (β = −0.12). To conclude, coach-based, sporting mental health interventions that promote the utilization of needs-supportive behaviors, while also highlighting the need to minimize needs-controlling behaviors, are recommended for the prevention of burnout and the promotion of well-being in athletes.

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Relationships Between Throwing Yips in Baseball, Experiential Avoidance, Cognitive Fusion, Values, and Social Factors

Kazuya Inoue, Tatsuto Yamada, and Tomu Ohtsuki

Despite the high prevalence of yips, a psychoneuromuscular impairment affecting fine motor skills in sports performance, the specific aspects of its causality and treatment have not been identified or verified. This cross-sectional study examined psychosocial factors relating to throwing yips in baseball. Amateur baseball players (N = 292) living in Japan completed a self-report questionnaire on their anxiety/fear about throwing the ball, the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II, the Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire, the Short Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale, and self-reports evaluating values and social factors relevant to baseball. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that a low values-based throwing score, a high Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire score, and overreprimanding others’ mistakes were positively associated with baseball players’ yips symptoms. These results suggest that changing the context of playing baseball, reducing cognitive fusion, and improving coaching methods could reduce the risk of baseball players’ throwing yips.

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Screening of Depression and Mental Health in Elite Youth Sports: Differences in Risk Estimation Between the PHQ-2 and the WHO-5

Jens Kleinert, Jeannine Ohlert, and Marion Sulprizio

This study aims to examine whether the risk for depression differs between using a disease- and a health-oriented instrument in elite youth sport and to uncover relationships of risk with concern to age, sex, type of sport, and level of performance. A sample of 549 eleven- to twenty-one-year-old elite athletes were screened using the German versions of the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) and the WHO Well-Being Index-5 (WHO-5). For external validity, the state of physical well-being and mood state, as well as recovery measures, were assessed. The proportions of athletes at high risk for mental health problems were 11.3% (PHQ-2) and 12.8% (WHO-5) of the participants. Young athletes (<15 years old) and male athletes showed lower risk values compared with older or female athletes. Moreover, PHQ-2 and WHO-5 values correlated with physical well-being and subjective sleep parameters. Both instruments were practical and diagnostically conclusive. Further studies on the validation of the instruments are recommended.

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The Well-Being of Elite Volleyball Athletes: A Scoping Review of Methods Using Wellness Questionnaires

André Rebelo, João R. Pereira, Diogo V. Martinho, and João Valente-dos-Santos

The purpose of the current review was to systematically and critically evaluate the subjective methods used to evaluate well-being of elite volleyball athletes. According to the results of this scoping review, there is a lack of comprehensive well-being assessment within the volleyball literature as the questionnaires used with these athletes primarily focus on stress, recovery, mood states, and anxiety. While general well-being measures can provide valuable insights, there is a need for measures that consider the unique experiences, challenges, and contexts of athletes. Also, there is an inconsistent definition of well-being in the volleyball literature. This can lead to a piecemeal approach, where different aspects of well-being are assessed in isolation, without a clear understanding of how they fit together. Therefore, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of volleyball athletes’ well-being, it is important to incorporate measures that assess subjective, psychological, and social well-being. In conclusion, while current assessment tools provide important insights into volleyball athletes’ well-being, there is a clear need for more holistic and sport-specific measures. By expanding an understanding and assessment of well-being, there can be better support for athletes’ overall health, satisfaction, and performance.

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Collegiate Athletes’ Perceptions of the Connection Between Mental Health and Sport Performance: A Qualitative Investigation

Kelzie E. Beebe, Trent A. Petrie, Heather R. Kiefer, Lindsey E. Slavin, and Macey L. Arnold

Prevalence of mental health (MH) concerns among young adults is high and continues to increase. As a specific subset of young adults, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes seem to experience these concerns at a similar or greater prevalence rate than their nonathlete, age-matched peers. Yet, how MH affects sport performance has not been robustly studied, and existing studies have not included the diversity of identities present in the collegiate athlete population. Thus, via online survey, this study explored the beliefs of 249 collegiate athletes representing diverse identities and sports regarding how MH affects sport performance. Regardless of demographic variable, 96.4%–100.0% of participants believed that MH affects sport performance. Three themes were identified: (a) collegiate athletes affirm that MH affects sport performance, (b) collegiate athletes’ perceptions of how MH affects sport performance, and (c) collegiate athletes believe that being a collegiate athlete exacerbates their MH concerns. The universality of endorsement and the themes represent novel findings that warrant further exploration of the MH–sport performance connection.