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Applying Sport Psychology: Four Perspectives.

Michelle Joshua

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Coping and Emotion in Sport

Christina Johnson

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Examining the Direction of Imagery and Self-Talk on Dart-Throwing Performance and Self Efficacy

Jennifer Cumming, Sanna M. Nordin, Robin Horton, and Scott Reynolds

The study investigated the impact of varying combinations of facilitative and debilitative imagery and self-talk (ST) on self-efficacy and performance of a dart-throwing task. Participants (N = 95) were allocated to 1 of 5 groups: (a) facilitative imagery/facilitative ST, (b) facilitative imagery/debilitative ST, (c) debilitative imagery/facilitative ST, (d) debilitative imagery/debilitative ST, or (e) control. Mixed-design ANOVAs revealed that performance, but not self-efficacy, changed over time as a function of the assigned experimental condition. Participants in the debilitative imagery/debilitative ST condition worsened their performance, and participants in the facilitative imagery/facilitative ST condition achieved better scores. These findings demonstrate that a combination of facilitative imagery and ST can enhance performance whereas debilitative imagery and ST can hamper it.

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Guidelines for Delivering Personal-Disclosure Mutual-Sharing Team Building Interventions

Nicholas L. Holt and John G.H. Dunn

The overall purpose of this study was to provide professional guidance to practitioners who may wish to deliver Personal-Disclosure Mutual-Sharing (PDMS) team building activities. First we replicated and evaluated a PDMS intervention previously used by Dunn and Holt (2004). Fifteen members (M age = 25.4 yrs) of a high performance women’s soccer team provided evaluative data about the intervention they received via reflective interviews. Benefits of the PDMS activity were enhanced understanding, increased cohesion, and improved confidence. Guidelines for professionals who may wish to use this team building approach are provided in terms of (a) establishing group communication practices during the season, (b) delivering the meeting, and (c) demonstrating contextual sensitivity.

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A Qualitative Study of Moral Reasoning of Young Elite Athletes

Thierry Long, Nathalie Pantaléon, Gérard Bruant, and Fabienne d’Arripe-Longueville

Based on game reasoning theory (Shields & Bredemeier, 2001) and related research, the present study aimed at describing young elite athletes’ perceptions of rules compliance and transgression in competitive settings, as well as the underlying reasons for these actions. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 young elite athletes. The qualitative analysis showed that respect and transgression of rules in competitive settings were perceived to depend upon the athletes’ individual characteristics (e.g., desire to win), their social environment (e.g., coach’s pressure, team norms), sports values and virtues (e.g., fair play, the effort ethic), and modern sports rewards (e.g., media recognition, financial rewards). These results confirmed and expanded game reasoning theory and illustrated moral disengagement mechanisms (Bandura et al., 1996) in the sport domain.

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Sport Psychology Consultants’ Experience of Using Hypnosis in Their Practice: An Exploratory Investigation

Jason S. Grindstaff and Leslee A. Fisher

The purpose of this study was to explore sport psychology consultants’ experiences of using hypnosis in their practice. Specifically a better understanding of hypnosis utilization as a performance enhancement technique in applied sport psychology was sought. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with six sport psychology consultants (all PhDs) who each possessed training and experience related to hypnosis. Analysis of the interview data revealed a variety of major themes and subthemes related to the guiding interview questions: (a) hypnosis training and experience, (b) stereotypes and misconceptions related to hypnosis, (c) utilizing hypnosis as a performance enhancement technique, (d) advantages and disadvantages of using hypnosis with athletes, and (e) cultural considerations related to using hypnosis.

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Sport Psychology in Practice

Rob Smith

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Stressors, Coping, and Coping Effectiveness among Professional Rugby Union Players

Adam R. Nicholls, Nicholas L. Holt, Remco C.J. Polman, and Jonny Bloomfield

The overall purpose of this study was to examine stressors, coping strategies, and perceived coping effectiveness among professional rugby union players. Eight first class professional male rugby union players maintained diaries over a 28-day period. The diaries included a stressor checklist, an open-ended coping response section, and a Likert-type scale evaluation of coping effectiveness. Total reported stressors and coping strategies were tallied and analyzed longitudinally. The most frequently cited stressors were injury concerns, mental errors, and physical errors. The most frequently cited coping strategies were increased concentration, blocking, positive reappraisal, and being focused on the task. The most effective coping strategies were focusing on task and increasing effort. Professional rugby players use a variety of different coping strategies in order to manage the stressors they experience, but the effectiveness of their coping attempts can vary.

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Team Process and Players’ Psychological Responses to Failure in a National Volleyball Team

Jonathan R. Males, John H. Kerr, Joanne Thatcher, and Emma Bellew

The present study investigated the psychological experiences of elite athletes in a team that failed using qualitative methods informed by reversal theory. Five athletes, from a national men’s volleyball team, playing in a European tournament completed a post-game review after each of 6 games. After the tournament, each player took part in in-depth semi-structured interviews, prompted by their post-game reviews. The results indicated that unrealistic expectations, poor team motivation, a negative coaching style, and faulty team process around game performance played an important role in the failure of this team. Also, inappropriate metamotivational states and state reversals were found to have had a negative impact on team performance. Several consultant recommendations for enhancing team motivation and functioning are identified.

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Toward Two Grounded Theories of the Talent Development and Social Support Process of Highly Successful Collegiate Athletes

Taryn K. Morgan and Peter R. Giacobbi Jr.

The purpose of this study was to utilize multiple perspectives to describe the major influences and experiences during the development of highly talented collegiate athletes. Eight NCAA Division I collegiate athletes, 12 parents, and 6 coaches participated in this study. In-depth semi-structured interviews analyzed through grounded theory analytic procedures (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) were used. Overall, it was ascertained that a favorable interaction between perceived genetic dispositions, practice, situational factors, and mental characteristics facilitated and nurtured the participants’ talent development. The importance of social support for overcoming adversity was a salient theme and should be addressed by sport psychology consultants and coaches.