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Flow Experience and Athletes’ Performance with Reference to the Orthogonal Model of Flow

Nektarios A. Stavrou, Susan A. Jackson, Yannis Zervas, and Konstantinos Karteroliotis

The purposes of the current study were to examine (a) the differences in Flow State Scale (FSS) subscales between the 4 experiential states of the orthogonal model (apathy, anxiety, relaxation, and flow), (b) the relationship between challenge, skills, and flow experience; and (c) the relationship between flow experience and athletes’ performance. Two hundred twenty athletes volunteered to participate in this study. Challenge of the game and skills of the athlete were measured before and after competition. Thirty minutes after the competition, the FSS was used to measure flow experience. In addition, subjective and objective measures of athletes’ performance were assessed. Athletes in the flow and relaxation states revealed the most optimal states, whereas the athletes in the apathy state showed the least optimal state. There were positive associations between athletes’ flow experience and their performance measures, indicating that positive emotional states are related to elevated levels of performance. On the other hand, there were low or no correlations between athletes’ performance and reported challenge of the game, whereas skills of the athlete were moderately correlated with flow. Multiple-regression analysis demonstrated significant prediction of athletes’ performance based on flow experience during competition. Future research should examine the relationship between flow, athletes’ performance, and additional dispositional and state variables.

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Improving the Delivery of Applied Sport Psychology Support through Reflective Practice

Brendan Cropley, Andrew Miles, Sheldon Hanton, and Ailsa Niven

This article offers an exploration of factors that influence the effectiveness of applied sport psychology delivery through reflection on a series of consulting experiences. Knowledge gained by a British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) trainee sport psychologist (Cropley), through a process of reflective practice during the first year of supervised experience, is presented around a number of themes that have emerged from current literature regarding the characteristics of effective service providers (A. Anderson, A. Miles, P. Robinson, & C. Mahoney, 2004). It is argued that reflection improves self-awareness and generates knowledge in action that can enhance the delivery of applied sport psychology. Support is therefore provided for the adoption of reflective practice as a tool for personal and professional development.

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Multiple Goal Orientations as Predictors of Moral Behavior in Youth Soccer

Luke Sage and Maria Kavussanu

The purpose of this study was to examine task-, ego-, and social-goal orientations as predictors of prosocial and antisocial behavior in youth soccer. Participants were 365 male (n = 227) and female (n = 138) youth soccer players M age = 13.4 years, SD = 1.8), who completed questionnaires measuring task and ego orientation; the goals of social affiliation, social recognition and social status; prosocial and antisocial behavior; and demographics. Regression analyses revealed that prosocial behavior was predicted positively by task orientation and social affiliation and negatively by social status. In contrast, antisocial behavior was predicted positively by ego orientation and social status and negatively by task orientation. Findings for task and ego orientation are consistent with previous work. Social-goal orientations explained further variance in prosocial and antisocial behavior, and their inclusion in future moral research is encouraged.

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Psychological Bases of Sport Injuries (3rd Ed.)

Lois Butcher-Poffley

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A Qualitative Study of Sport Enjoyment in the Sampling Years

Paul J. McCarthy and Marc V. Jones

This focus group study examined the sources of enjoyment and nonenjoyment among younger and older English children in the sampling years of sport participation (ages 7–12). Concurrent inductive and deductive content analysis revealed that, consistent with previous research, younger and older children reported sources of enjoyment such as perceived competence, social involvement and friendships, psychosocial support, and a mastery-oriented learning environment. Nonenjoyment sources included inappropriate psychosocial support, increasing competitive orientation, negative feedback and reinforcement, injuries, pain, and demonstrating a lack of competence. Differences between younger and older children’s sources of enjoyment and nonenjoyment also emerged. Younger children reported movement sensations as a source of enjoyment and punishment for skill errors and low informational support as nonenjoyment sources. Older children reported social recognition of competence, encouragement, excitement, and challenge as sources of enjoyment with rivalry, overtraining, and high standards as sources of nonenjoyment. These differences underscore the importance of tailoring youth sport in the sampling years to the needs of the child.

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Should the Coaches of Elite Female Handball Teams Focus on Collective Efficacy or Group Cohesion?

Jean-Philippe Heuzé, Grégoire Bosselut, and Jean-Philippe Thomas

The purpose of this study was to examine the direction of the effect between cohesion and collective efficacy in elite female handball teams. A total of 84 female handball players completed 2 questionnaires at 2 time periods during the competitive season (i.e., early and midseason). Relationships were examined across time at an individual level after statistically controlling for previous group performance. Regression analyses including the autoregressive influence indicated that early-season collective efficacy positively predicted variance in midseason individual attractions to the group-task (ATG-T) after controlling for early-season ATG-T scores. In elite female handball teams, findings only supported collective efficacy as an antecedent of task cohesion and suggested that coaches should promote strategies dedicated to foster athletes’ beliefs about their team efficacy.

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Volume 21 (2007): Issue 3 (Sep 2007)

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The Effects of a Mental Skills Training Package on Equestrians

Marsha L. Blakeslee and Dennis M. Goff

The present study examined the effectiveness of a mental skills training (MST) package employing relaxation, imagery, goal setting, and self-talk (strategies for improving performance and perceptions through cognitive-somatic techniques) on equestrian performance. A stratified random sample of 17 competitive collegiate horseback riders participated in this study: 8 received MST and 9 were controls. Riders’ goal orientation was also assessed and used to determine if there might be a relationship with performance change over time. Assessment of participants via performance in 2 horse shows revealed no interaction effect for group by time in either flat or show-jumping performance, but there was a significant main effect of time for performance improvement. Riders demonstrated a dominant mastery-approach goal orientation as hypothesized, but no significant correlations with performance change emerged. Findings do not rule out MST as a possible performance enhancing technique, but more research is needed to assess nomothetic MST package effects.

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In Pursuit of Congruence: A Personal Reflection on Methods and Philosophy in Applied Practice

Pete Lindsay, Jeff D. Breckon, Owen Thomas, and Ian W. Maynard

The chosen methods of applied sport psychology practitioners should be underpinned by their personal core beliefs and values (Poczwardowski, Sherman, & Ravizza, 2004). However, many novice practitioners unquestioningly adopt the dominant method of the field (Fishman, 1999), and thus might find themselves incongruent in terms of their professional philosophy (Tudor & Worrall, 2004). This article aims to highlight questions that practitioners might reflect on to achieve greater congruence in terms of their philosophy of practice. Autoethnographic accounts of consultancies by a recently qualified practitioner are used to explore one practitioner’s journey toward congruence in professional philosophy. Insights arising from these consultancies for the practitioner are provided, and the wider implications for the training and certification and accreditation of practitioners are considered.

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Learning Experiences Contributing to Service-Delivery Competence

David Tod, Daryl Marchant, and Mark B. Andersen

Graduates (n = 16) and teaching staff (n = 11) of Australian master’s of applied psychology programs (sport and exercise) participated in interviews about learning experiences that they believed contributed to service-delivery competence. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically content analyzed. The authors sought to enhance research credibility through data source and analyst triangulation. Participants thought the main contributions to service-delivery competence were client interactions; relationships among teaching staff, supervisors, and students; and specific events outside of the training programs. Participants considered sport psychology research and theory to be helpful when applicable to clients. The authors discuss issues arising under the major themes relating to practitioner development, such as supervisor-supervisee relationships. The results of the study have implications for future training in sport psychology, such as the mentoring of students, the grounding of practice in research and theory, and how anxiety can be minimized during role-plays.