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Leopoldo Ariza-Vargas, Jesus López-Bedoya, Marta Domínguez-Escribano, and Mercedes Vernetta-Santana

The objective of this study has been to analyze the effect of anxiety on the level of learning of gymnastics skills, considering two types of practical strategy. The first, derived from Schmidt’s Schema Theory (1975) and termed Teaching Programs, is representative of the hypothesis of variability in practice (Moxley, 1979) and the other strategy, known as Technical Progressions, is derived from more restrictive models of the motor program and is related to the hypothesis of specificity. The sample group (n = 108) was made up of 54 boys and 54 girls, aged between 11 and 13, with no previous experience in performing skills related to gymnastics. A 3 × 3 × 2 factorial design of the independent steps was used (Practical Strategy x Trait Anxiety x Gender)—this was a fixed model, with a control group in factor A. The results showed that the main effects on the Learning Level were generated by the areas of Practical Strategy and Trait Anxiety, although their impact was lessened by the functional structure of the skills required. Trait Anxiety is shown to be the main predictor of State Anxiety levels.

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Cian Aherne, Aidan P. Moran, and Chris Lonsdale

This study investigated the relationship between mindfulness training (a nonjudgmental attentional training technique) and flow experiences in athletes. Participants were 13 university athletes (M = 21 years), assigned either to a control group or an experimental group. Flow experiences were assessed before and after the intervention. ANOVA (group x time) of global scores on the Flow State Scale-2 (FSS-2; Jackson & Eklund, 2004) showed a significant interaction (F = 11.49, p < .05). Follow-up t tests indicated no significant difference (p > .05) between the experimental and control groups’ FSS-2 global scores at the baseline training session, but a large difference (p < .05, d = 1.66) at a follow-up training session. Significant interaction effects were also observed for FSS-2 subscales scores for the flow dimensions of “Clear Goals” (F =18.73, p < .05) and “Sense of Control” (F = 14.61, p < .05). Following an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of this study, the theoretical significance of the results is assessed and the promise for the application of mindfulness training in performance enhancement is discussed.

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Itay Basevitch, Brooke Thompson, Robyn Braun, Selen Razon, Guler Arsal, Umit Tokac, Edson Medeiros Filho, Tonya Nascimento, and Gershon Tenenbaum

The aim of the current study was to test the effectiveness of pleasant odors on perception of exertion and attention allocation. A secondary purpose was to employ a placebo-control design and measure perceived smell intensity during task performance; methods that have been overlooked in previous olfaction studies in the sport and exercise domain. Seventy-six college students (35 females, 41 males) were recruited to perform a handgrip task. They were randomly assigned to one of 4 groups: control, placebo, lavender odor, and peppermint odor. Adhesive strips were placed under the noses of those in the latter three groups. The placebo group had a strip with no odor. The lavender and peppermint odor groups had a drop of concentration on the strip. After establishing a maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) level, participants performed at 30% of their MVC level for as long as they could tolerate, during which they provided ratings of perceived exertion (or effort; RPE), attention, and smell intensity at 30s intervals, and affect every 60s. MANOVA procedures failed to reveal significant differences among the treatment and nontreatment groups on rate of perceived exertion, attention allocation, and total time duration on the task. However, statistical differences were found between both odor groups and the placebo group on perceived attention diversion. The lavender group reported that the odor diverted attention to a higher degree than both the peppermint and placebo groups. Although nonsignificant, findings revealed a trend suggesting that odors may have an effect on cognitive processes, and on performance. There is a need for additional research to better capture these effects. Directions for further research, with an emphasis on methodological issues are outlined.

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Matthew A. Pain, Chris Harwood, and Rich Anderson

This article describes an intervention on the precompetition routines of soccer players during a 19-week phase of a competitive season. Specifically, we worked with players to develop an enhanced understanding of the effectiveness of personalized preperformance music and imagery scripts in facilitating flow states and performance. Five male players (M age = 20.5; S.D = 1.6) participated in a single-subject multiple baseline across individuals design with multiple treatments and without reversal. Following a preintervention phase, participants undertook the intervention during their prematch warm-up. Flow and perceived performance were assessed immediately after each match. Results indicated that asynchronous music and MG-M imagery when combined had a facilitative effect on flow and perceived performance. Postexperimental player comments supported these findings and suggest that the intervention strategy has great potential for athletes during precompetition. Consultancy guidelines for the use of music and imagery within competitive soccer are presented in the discussion.

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Thelma S. Horn, Patrick Bloom, Katie M. Berglund, and Stacie Packard

This study was based on Chelladurai’s (1978, 2001, 2007) Multidimensional Model of Leadership and was designed to determine whether athletes’ preferred coaching behavior would vary as a function of their psychological characteristics. Study participants (N = 195 collegiate athletes) completed questionnaires to assess their sport anxiety (SAS), motivational orientation (SMS), as well as their preferred coaching styles (LSS) and feedback patterns (CFQ). Canonical correlation procedures revealed that athletes who were high in self-determined forms of motivation and in somatic trait anxiety preferred coaches who exhibited a democratic leadership style and who provided high amounts of training, social support, and positive and informational feedback while athletes who were high in amotivation indicated a preference for coaches who exhibited an autocratic style and who provided high amounts of punishment-oriented feedback. In addition, high cognitive sport anxiety was linked to greater preference for high frequencies of positive and informational feedback and lower preference for punishment-oriented feedback.

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Roy David Samuel and Gershon Tenenbaum

Throughout their careers, athletes may encounter various changes that interfere with their existing “athletic status quo.” During these transitional periods, change can occur in diverse levels of the athletic experience. In this paper we introduce a “scheme of change for sport psychology practice” (SCSPP) to describe typical characteristics of athletes’ change-events and processes. The SCSPP focuses on: (a) the stages that unfold as athletes encounter and address changes in their careers, and (b) the psychological-therapeutic process that might facilitate an effective personal change. The process of change is evaluated in terms of its meaning and significance for athletes, the associated decisions athletes make, and fluctuations in cognition and affect. In addition, we describe a therapeutic framework that includes a number of processes of change as interventions, which may facilitate consultants’ attempts to guide athletes who experience change-events, and factors that moderate these attempts. Avenues for research and practical implications are also provided.

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Alexander T. Latinjak, Miguel Torregrosa, and Jordi Renom

The main purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of a strategy that combined self talk and performance feedback. Therefore, three groups of adult tennis players performed a forehand groundstroke task. The first group (n = 16) applied an instructional self talk and self feedback combination, the second (n = 16) used regular instructional self talk, and the third (n = 16) performed without any specific aid. The hypothesis was that the performance and concentration scores of both self talk groups would improve from the pretest to the posttest, while the scores from the control group would remain unchanged. The analysis of variance with repeated measures confirmed this hypothesis. Further, the players who used self feedback perceived the effectiveness of their intervention to be significantly higher compared with the other intervention group. Overall, the combination of self talk and feedback seems to be an alternative to the original instructional self talk intervention.

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Fabrice Dosseville, Sylvain Laborde, and Markus Raab

We studied the influence of contextual factors and the referees’ own motor experience on the quality of their perceptual judgments. The theoretical framework combined the social cognition approach with the embodied cognition, and enabled us to determine whether judgments were biased or not by using a combination of contextual and internal factors. Sixty fully-qualified and aspiring judo referees were tested in a video-based decision-making task in which they had to decide when to stop the ground contact phase. The decision task differed depending on whether one contestant dominated the other or whether they were equal in the prior phase. Results indicated that the referees’ motor experience influenced perceptual judgments and interacted with contextual factors, enhancing the need for a combination of social and embodied cognition to explain biases in referees’ judgments. Practical considerations were discussed in this paper, such as, whether referees need recent motor experience and how this could influence rules of governing bodies for officiating.