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Self-Efficacy in Sport: Research and Strategies for Working with Athletes, Teams, and Coaches

Melissa A. Murray

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Sources of Strain among Elite UK Track Athletes

Jane McKay, Ailsa G. Niven, David Lavallee, and Alison White

Following the theoretical framework of Lazarus and Folkman (1984), recently adapted to sport (Fletcher, Hanton, & Mellalieu, 2006), 12 elite UK track athletes (M age = 22.7; SD = 2.4 years) participated in semistructured interviews to identify sources of strain. Inductive content analysis identified 11 general dimensions of sources of strain from 664 meaning units, which were subsequently categorized into competitive, organizational, and personal domains. Several sources of strain (e.g., competitive concerns, pressure to perform) were consistent with previous research supporting the suggestion that a core group of stressors may be evident across sports although several sources of strain appeared to be more pertinent to track athletes (e.g., social evaluation and self-presentation concerns) highlighting the need to consider group differences.

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Volume 22 (2008): Issue 1 (Mar 2008)

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Athletes’ Perceived Use of Information Sources When Forming Initial Impressions and Expectancies of a Coach: An Explorative Study

Andrew J. Manley, Iain Greenlees, Jan Graydon, Richard Thelwell, William C.D. Filby, and Matthew J. Smith

The study aimed to identify the sources of information that athletes perceive as influential during their initial evaluation of coaching ability. University athletes (N = 538) were asked to indicate the influence of 31 informational cues (e.g., gender, body language or gestures, reputation) on the initial impression formed of a coach. Following exploratory factor analysis, a 3-factor model (i.e., static cues, dynamic cues, and third-party reports) was extracted. Mean scores revealed that although static cues (e.g., gender, race or ethnicity) were rated as relatively unimportant during impression formation, dynamic cues (e.g., facial expressions, body language or gestures) and third-party reports (e.g., coaching qualifications, reputation) were viewed by athletes as influential factors in the formation of expectancies about coaches. Such findings have implications for the occurrence of expectancy effects in coach-athlete relationships and the way in which coaches seek to present themselves.

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Developmental Consulting in a Professional Football Academy: The 5Cs Coaching Efficacy Program

Chris Harwood

The purpose of this article is to present practitioners and applied researchers with specific details of a developmental sport psychology program and coaching intervention at a professional football (soccer) academy in Great Britain. Based on a positive youth development agenda, initial consulting work with players and parents focused on education and monitoring of the 5Cs of football: Commitment, communication, concentration, control, and confidence. This was subsequently followed up with an educational and behavioral coaching intervention related to integrating the 5Cs in training and practice situations. The 4-month program aimed to specifically enhance a coach’s efficacy in shaping positive psychological and interpersonal skills in young players ranging in age from 9 to 14 years. Six coaches responsible for the development of 95 young players were involved in the program. The results of the intervention are presented for each individual coach and supplemented by interview data. Insights are provided into the role, value, and methodology behind applying sport psychology in youth-sport settings.

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The Effects of Image Speed on the Performance of a Soccer Task

Jenny O and Krista J. Munroe-Chandler

The current study tested the timing element of the PETTLEP approach to motor imagery (Holmes & Collins, 2001) by examining the effects of 3 imagery conditions on the performance of a soccer dribbling task. The imagery conditions were also compared with physical-practice and control-group performance. Ninety-seven participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 conditions: real-time imagery, slow-motion imagery, slow motion concluded with real-time imagery, physical practice, or control. Results indicated that all 4 experimental groups significantly improved time and error performance to the same degree after the intervention. The control group significantly improved time but not error performance from pre- to post-intervention. The results of the current study provide inconclusive findings related to the timing element of the PETTLEP approach to motor imagery, however, and do suggest that slow motion might be a viable imagery characteristic. Limitations regarding the examination of slow-motion imagery, possible implications of its use, and suggestions for future image-speed research are discussed.

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Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Exercise and Sport

Barbara Walker

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Performance Enhancement for Ballroom Dancers: Psychological Perspectives

Patsy Tremayne and Debra A. Ballinger

Ballroom dance has resurfaced worldwide as a highly popular competitive sport and might be added to Olympic medal competition for the 2012 London Games. This resurgence presents opportunities for sport psychologists to provide psychological-skills and performance-enhancement training for ballroom dancers at all competitive levels. Few sport psychologists have the personal experience, expertise, or an adequate knowledge base about the competitive-ballroom-dance environment to provide meaningful intervention strategies for participants. This article was developed to provide initial guidance for sport psychology professionals interested in working in this environment. An overview of the competitive-dance and ballroom-dance environment, strategies used by dance couples for enhanced mental preparation before and during dance competitions, and excerpts from an interview with an Australian championship-level couple provide readers insight into performance-enhancement strategies for DanceSport.

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A Qualitative Exploration of Psychological-Skills Use in Coaches

Richard C. Thelwell, Neil J.V. Weston, Iain A. Greenlees, and Nicholas V. Hutchings

The current study examined whether, where, when, and for what purposes coaches use psychological skills. A total of 13 elite-level coaches completed a structured interview using open-ended questions to examine their use of self-talk, imagery, relaxation, and goal-setting skills. Data were analyzed via deductive content analysis and indicated self-talk and imagery to be cited more frequently than relaxation and goal setting throughout the interviews. In addition, some purposes for using each skill were specific to training or competition across each time frame (before, during, and after), whereas there were several purposes consistent across each environment. Although the findings suggest that coaches employ psychological skills, it is imperative that they become aware of what skills they require and what skills they possess if they are to maximize their use across their wide-ranging coaching roles.

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The Role of Parents in Tennis Success: Focus Group Interviews with Junior Coaches

Daniel Gould, Larry Lauer, Cristina Rolo, Caroline Jannes, and Nori Pennisi

This study was designed to investigate experienced coaches’ perceptions of the parent’s role in junior tennis and identify positive and negative parental behaviors and attitudes. Six focus groups were conducted with 24 coaches. Content analysis of coaches’ responses revealed that most parents were positive influences and espoused an appropriate perspective of tennis, emphasized child development, and were supportive. In contrast, a minority of parents were perceived as negative, demanding and overbearing, and exhibiting an outcome orientation. New findings included parents’ setting limits on tennis and emphasizing a child’s total development, as well as the identification of behaviors that represent parental overinvolvement and that negatively affect coaching. Results are discussed relative to sport-parenting literature, and practical implications are outlined.