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.
Social Support and Performance in a Golf-Putting Experiment
Tim Rees and Paul Freeman
A Temporal Examination of Elite Performers Sources of Sport-Confidence
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.
Volume 24 (2010): Issue 2 (Jun 2010)
Associative/Dissociative Cognitive Strategies in Sustained Physical Activity: Literature Review and Proposal for a Mindfulness-Based Conceptual Model
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.
The Development and Maintenance of Mental Toughness in the World’s Best Performers
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.
The Influence of Positive Reflection on Attributions, Emotions, and Self-Efficacy
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.
Practicing a Motor Task in a Lucid Dream Enhances Subsequent Performance: A Pilot Study
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.
A Qualitative Analysis of Holistic Sport Psychology Consultants’ Professional Philosophies
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.
Sports Mania: Essays on Fandom and the Media in the 21st Century
Ryan K Zapalac
Time Management in the Context of Elite Sport Training
This article reports on time management in an elite sports context. It aims at characterizing how coaches experience dealing with athletes’ time management in a sport and academic institute and their constraints. Ten male coaches participated in this study. Each coach was asked to describe his time management activity during the season. Inductive and deductive analysis revealed two main results. The first showed the coaches dealt with a stringent set of constraints concerned with: (a) season organization, (b) training period and task sequencing, (c) the institute’s set times, and (d) the uncertainty linked to the evolution of training. The second emphasized that the coaches used three complex operating modes: (a) the use of organizational routines based on reference to past experience, (b) season shared time management, and (c) time management based on flexible plans. The results are discussed in relation to research that has considered planning and time management.