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Lois A. Butcher-Poffley

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Nadav Goldschmied, Max Nankin, and Guy Cafri

Icing is a common strategy used in American football during the last moments of a close game when a coach may ask for a time-out to allow an opposing kicker, who is about to attempt a decisive field-kick, an extended period of time possibly to contemplate the negative outcomes if he fails to score (i.e., rumination). Using archival data of pressure kicks from six consecutive National Football League seasons (2002—2008), a mixed-effects hierarchical linear model was applied. It was found that icing was successful in reducing scoring while other environmental factors such as experience, game location or game score were not associated with conversion success. In a secondary analysis it was demonstrated that if a time-out before the pressure kick is requested by the coaches of the kicking team, kickers are not subjected to the debilitating effects of icing. Theoretical and applied implications are also discussed.

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Vikki Krane and Diane E. Whaley

To read the written history of U.S. sport and exercise psychology, one easily could assume that women were absent from the field. Yet, indisputably women have assumed influential leadership roles through their research, leadership in professional organizations, editing major journals, and mentoring graduate students and novice professionals. Based on life history interviews, grounded in standpoint and feminist cultural studies perspectives, we present the collective contributions of 8 women who greatly affected the development of the field of sport and exercise psychology in the U.S. Although traveling different paths and having varied strengths and weaknesses, certain attributes distinguished their journeys; most notably, they were driven, selfless, dignified, humble, competent, and passionate about developing the field. Their legacy includes generations of students who have carved their own careers in sport and exercise psychology; lines of research that have established the field as rigorous, theory-based, practical, and relevant; and caring and competent leadership in our professional organizations.

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Kate Hays, Owen Thomas, Ian Maynard, and Joanne Butt

This study examined the applicability of confidence profiling to the development of an individualized intervention designed in accordance with Murphy and Murphy’s (1992) eight step cognitive-behavioral model. The case study design illustrated the potential uses and benefits of confidence profiling when developing an athlete driven intervention to enhance the sport confidence of a female swimmer. Specifically, it showed how confidence profiling can act as an applied measure to accurately assess sport confidence from the athlete’s own perspective, provide the basis of an intervention targeted toward the athlete’s individual confidence needs, and provide feedback to the sport psychologist concerning the effectiveness of the intervention. A postintervention interview with the athlete highlighted the usefulness of the confidence profiling process. Specifically, the profiling process helped to raise the athlete’s awareness of the factors that facilitated and debilitated her sport confidence. Furthermore, the athlete reported feeling more confident and very satisfied with the mental skills training, which she perceived resulted in performance gains.

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Tim Rees and Paul Freeman

This study examined the impact of a social support manipulation on performance. Participants with high and low levels of perceived support were randomly assigned to an experimental support or control condition, before completing a golf-putting task. Participants with high levels of perceived support performed at a higher level than those with low levels of perceived support. Participants in the support condition performed at a higher level than those in the control condition. A significant interaction was primarily attributable to the low perceived support participants in the support condition performing better than the low perceived support participants in the control condition. Participants in the support condition also experienced less frequent and distracting task-irrelevant thoughts compared with those in the control condition. These results suggest that experimentally manipulated support may lead to improvements in the performance of novices completing a golf-putting task, and that such support may be particularly important for those low in perceived support.

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Kieran Kingston, Andrew Lane, and Owen Thomas

This study examined temporal changes in sources of sport-confidence during the build up to an important competition. Elite individual athletes (N = 54) completed the Sources of Sport-Confidence Questionnaire (SSCQ) at five precompetition phases (6 weeks, 4 weeks, 3 weeks, 2 weeks and 1 week before competition). A two-factor (gender x time-to-competition) MANOVA revealed no significant interactions, but highlighted both time-to-competition and gender main effects. Time-to-competition main effects indicated the importance placed upon demonstration of ability, physical/mental preparation, physical self-presentation and situational favorableness sources of sport-confidence changed during the precompetition phase. Gender main effects revealed that female athletes demonstrated a significantly greater reliance on sources associated with mastery, physical self-presentation, social support, environmental comfort and coach’s leadership than male athletes. These findings emphasize the benefit of considering sources of sport-confidence as competition approaches; they may have implications for the design and timing of confidence based interventions.

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Paul Salmon, Scott Hanneman, and Brandon Harwood

We reviewed and summarize the extant literature on associative/dissociative cognitive strategies used by athletes and others in circumstances necessitating periods of sustained attention. This review covers studies published since a prior publication by Masters and Ogles (1998), and, in keeping with their approach, offers a methodological critique of the literature. We conclude that the distinction between associative and dissociative strategies has outlived its usefulness since initially proposed in an earlier era of ground-breaking research by Morgan and Pollock (1977) that was influenced to some extent by psychodynamic thinking. In recent years there has been an evolutionary shift in concepts of sustained attention toward mindfulness—moment-by-moment attention—that has had a significant impact on conceptual models and clinical practice in diverse areas including stress management, psychotherapy, and athletic performance. We propose that future research on cognitive activity in sustained performance settings be embedded in a mindfulness-based conceptual model.

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Declan Connaughton, Sheldon Hanton, and Graham Jones

Eleven superelite participants (7 performers, 2 coaches and 2 sport psychologists) were interviewed regarding the development and maintenance of mental toughness. Findings revealed that this process occurred over four distinct career phases: three developmental phases, and one maintenance phase. Factors influencing development and maintenance included: skill mastery, competitiveness, successes, international competitive experience, education and advice, the use of psychological skills, access to an understanding social support network, and reflective practice. In addition, positive and negative critical incidents were perceived by participants to act as catalysts in initiating or enhancing specific components of mental toughness. Practical implications highlight the importance of a mental toughness attitude/mindset to development, while future directions are discussed in relation to measurement and intervention strategies.

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Mark S. Allen, Marc V. Jones, and David Sheffield

The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of postcompetition positive reflection on attributions, emotions, and self-efficacy. Following a golf putting competition, participants (n = 80) were randomly assigned to either an experimental or control group. In the experimental group participants completed a modified version of the performance evaluation sheet (Holder, 1997). In the control group participants completed the concentration grid exercise (Harris & Harris, 1984). All participants subsequently completed measures of causal attribution, emotion, and self-efficacy. Findings showed that participants in the experimental condition made attributions that were significantly more internal and personally controllable than participants in the control group irrespective of competition outcome. No differences were observed between groups on measures of emotion and self-efficacy. This study suggests that reflecting back on positive elements of performance is a useful strategy for developing desirable attributions in sport performers, but may not necessarily promote self-efficacy or positive emotions.