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.
Kate Hays, Owen Thomas, Ian Maynard, and Joanne Butt
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Daniel Erlacher and Michael Schredl
Nocturnal dreams can be considered as a kind of simulation of the real world on a higher cognitive level. Within lucid dreams, the dreamer is able to control the ongoing dream content and is free to do what he or she wants. In this pilot study, the possibility of practicing a simple motor task in a lucid dream was studied. Forty participants were assigned to a lucid dream practice group, a physical practice group and a control group. The motor task was to toss 10-cent coins into a cup and hit as many as possible out of 20 tosses. Waking performance was measured in the evening and on the next morning by the participants at home. The 20 volunteers in the lucid dream practice group attempted to carry out the motor task in a lucid dream on a single night. Seven participants succeeded in having a lucid dream and practiced the experimental task. This group of seven showed a significant improvement in performance (from 3.7 to 5.3); the other 13 subjects showed no improvement (from 3.4 to 2.9). Comparing all four groups, the physical practice group demonstrated the highest enhancement in performance followed by the successful lucid dream practice group. Both groups had statistically significant higher improvements in contrast to the nondreaming group and the control group. Even though the experimental design is not able to explain if specific effects (motor learning) or unspecific effects (motivation) caused the improvement, the results of this study showed that rehearsing in a lucid dream enhances subsequent performance in wakefulness. To clarify the factors which increased performance after lucid dream practice and to control for confounding factors, it is suggested that sleep laboratory studies should be conducted in the future. The possibilities of lucid dream practice for professional sports will be discussed.
Andrew Friesen and Terry Orlick
Incorporating the holistic development of the athlete into an applied sport psychology intervention has been addressed in the literature (e.g., Bond, 2002; Ravizza, 2002). How sport psychology consultants actually practice holistic sport psychology remains unclear. The purpose of this research was to provide a clarification as to what holistic sport psychology is and examine the beliefs, values, theoretical paradigms, and models of practice of holistic sport psychology consultants’ professional philosophies (Poczwardowski, Sherman, & Ravizza, 2004). Qualitative interviews with five purposefully selected holistic sport psychology consultants were conducted. In general, holistic consulting can be interpreted to mean: (a) managing the psychological effects to the athlete’s performance from nonsport domains; (b) developing the core individual beyond their athletic persona; and (c) recognizing the dynamic relationship between an athlete’s thoughts, feelings, physiology, and behavior. The corresponding beliefs, values, theoretical paradigms, and models of practice of holistic consultants were also presented.