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Jana L. Fogaca, Jack C. Watson II and Sam J. Zizzi

A fundamental issue in applied sport psychology is the development of competent professionals who can provide effective and ethical services to clients. The current study uses a qualitative longitudinal design to track the development of five novice sport psychology practitioners in their first year of practice. The research team analyzed and integrated data from surveys, interviews, and journals to understand the participants’ experiences and compare them to previous literature on practitioner development. Participants reported increased confidence and flexibility over time, and reduced their perceived anxiety and dependence on supervision. These changes were similar in nature to what has been reported for counseling trainees, but seemed to happen more quickly. These findings highlight important developmental characteristics of first year sport psychology practitioners, which can help graduate programs to tailor their supervision and training to their students’ needs.

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Annamari Maaranen, Judy L. Van Raalte and Britton W. Brewer

Flikikammo is a troubling phenomenon in which athletes lose the ability to perform previously automatic backward moving gymnastics skills as a normal part of a routine. To better understand the effects of flikikammo over time, the confidence, perceived pressure, physical well-being, energy, and stress levels of gymnasts (n = 6) and cheerleaders (n = 4) were assessed weekly over 10 weeks. Half of the participants reported experiencing flikikammo at the start of the study, and half served as age, skill level, and sport-matched controls. Athletes with flikikammo indicated that pressure from coaches and higher energy levels were related to more severe flikikammo. For participants under the age of 18, higher levels of life stress positively correlated with flikikammo, but for those over 18, higher life stress was negatively correlated with flikikammo. These findings highlight the complexity of flikikammo and suggest that complex solutions may be needed to address flikikammo issues.

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Laurel W. Sheffield and Lauren A. Stutts

Collegiate athletes are frequently exposed to pain/injury, which has the potential to negatively impact their physical and psychological health. This quasi-experimental study investigated the influence of gender and athletic status on deciding whether pain should be reported to the head coach in a vignette. Participants included 236 undergraduates who read four vignettes describing athletes (two men, two women) who were experiencing pain while playing a sport and made recommendations about whether the athlete should report the pain. Regardless of the gender of the athlete in the vignette, women and non-Division I athletes were more confident that the pain should be reported to the coach than men and athletes. Division I athletes’ recommendations for others to report pain did not align with what they reported practicing themselves. These results suggest that athletes and coaches should receive education about the factors that may lead an athlete to choose not to report pain.

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Frank E. DiLiberto and Deborah A. Nawoczenski

Although the midfoot is recognized to have an important role in the successful performance of a single-limb heel rise, healthy heel rise performance remains primarily characterized by ankle function. The purpose of this study was to examine the contribution of midfoot region power to single-limb heel rise in healthy adults. Participants (N = 12) performed 20 single-limb heel rises. An electromagnetic motion capture system and a force plate were used to record 3-segment foot motion and ground reaction forces. Inverse dynamic calculations were performed to obtain ankle and midfoot region powers. These data were evaluated with descriptive statistics. A correlation was performed to evaluate the contribution of midfoot region power to heel height, as heel height is a clinical measure of heel-rise performance. The midfoot contributed power during single-limb heel rise (peak positive power: 0.5 [0.2] W·kg−1). Furthermore, midfoot peak power accounted for 36% of the variance in heel height (P = .04). As energy generating internal mechanisms, such as muscle activity, are attributed to power generation, midfoot tissue loading and muscle performance should be considered during clinical and modeling applications of the heel-rise task.

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Marlowe Pecora, Luc Tremblay and Matthew Heath

Reaches with overlapping stimulus-response spatial relations (propointing) adhere to speed–accuracy relations as defined by Paul Fitts’ index of difficulty equation (IDFitts: in bits of information). This movement principle is attributed to response mediation via the “fast” visuomotor networks of the dorsal visual pathway. It is, however, unclear whether the executive demands of dissociating stimulus-response spatial relations by reaching mirror-symmetrical to a target (antipointing) elicits similar adherence to Fitts’ equation. Here, pro- and antipointing responses were directed to a constant target amplitude with varying target widths to provide IDFitts values of 3.0, 3.5, 4.3, and 6.3 bits. Propointing movement times linearly increased with IDFitts—a result attributed to visually based trajectory corrections. In contrast, antipointing movement times, deceleration times, and endpoint precision did not adhere to Fitts’ equation. These results indicate that antipointing renders a “slow” and offline mode of control mediated by the visuoperceptual networks of the ventral visual pathway.

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Kylie McNeill, Natalie Durand-Bush and Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre

While coaches are considered at risk of experiencing burnout, there is an absence of intervention studies addressing this syndrome. The purpose of this qualitative study was to conduct a self-regulation intervention with five Canadian developmental (n = 2) and elite (n = 3) sport coaches (three men, two women) experiencing moderate to high levels of burnout and examine the perceived impact of this intervention on their self-regulation capacity and experiences of burnout and well-being. The content analysis of the coaches’ outtake interviews and five bi-weekly journals revealed that all five of them learned to self-regulate more effectively by developing various competencies (e.g., strategic planning for their well-being, self-monitoring) and strategies (e.g., task delegation, facilitative self-talk). Four of the coaches also perceived improvements in their symptoms of burnout and well-being. Sport psychology interventions individualized for coaches are a promising means for helping them manage burnout and enhance their overall functioning.

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Jessica Ross and Peter D. MacIntyre

Flow is a desirable state of consciousness and absorption in an optimally challenging activity. Prior research has investigated individual differences in flow. The present study investigates flow by contrasting physical versus mental activities, using a mixed-methods, sequential explanatory design. The sample from the quantitative phase included 205 undergraduate university students assessed on measures of personality, difficulties in emotion regulation, and flow. The big-five traits intellect and conscientiousness, as well as the emotion regulation subscale “lack of emotional clarity” predicted flow during mental activities, but unexpectedly no variables significantly predicted physical flow activities. The second phase used semi-structured interviews with 10 participants. Analyses of the interviews helped further explain the statistical findings, revealing four main themes: role of stress, source of guilt, presence of others, and satisfaction and fulfillment. We conclude that flow is especially relevant in physical activities which have advantages over mental activities in opportunities to experience flow.

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Luke Wilkins, Jen Sweeney, Zoella Zaborski, Carl Nelson, Simon Tweddle, Eldre Beukes and Peter Allen

The purpose of the present study was to address perceptions towards Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in soccer. Twenty-four male, elite academy soccer players (M age = 20.04) completed a custom-made questionnaire which included education on CBT. The results found that: i) initially, only 8% of players had heard of CBT whilst only 4% of players knew what CBT was, ii) players strongly agreed that CBT should be offered to all players, iii) not knowing how/where to seek help was identified as the main barrier to CBT, iv) players indicated a preference for one-to-one and face-to-face CBT, as opposed to small-group or online-CBT, and v) players perceived they would receive most support from family/friends, and least support from teammates, if they were to undertake CBT. These findings demonstrate that whilst initial awareness and knowledge of CBT is low, general perceptions towards CBT are positive once athletes are educated on the area.

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Nicole T. Gabana, Aaron D’Addario, Matteo Luzzeri, Stinne Soendergaard and Y. Joel Wong

Salient aspects of an athlete’s identity hold implications for how sport psychology practitioners conceptualize and intervene on both the mental health and performance realms of the athlete person. Given that spirituality, religiosity, and gratitude have been associated in previous literature, the current study examined whether athletes differed in dispositional gratitude based on their spiritual and religious identification. Results indicated that among 331 NCAA Division I-III athletes, those who identified as both spiritual and religious scored significantly higher in dispositional gratitude than self-identified spiritual/non-religious and non-spiritual/non-religious athletes. Non-spiritual/non-religious and spiritual/non-religious athletes did not significantly differ in levels of gratitude. Findings and limitations of the current study warrant further investigation on this topic, and recommendations for future research and practice are provided.

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Shelby Waldron, J.D. DeFreese, Brian Pietrosimone, Johna Register-Mihalik and Nikki Barczak

Sport specialization has been linked to multiple negative health related outcomes including increased injury risk and sport attrition, yet a gap remains in our understanding of potential psychological outcomes of early specialization (≤ age 12). The current study evaluated the associations between retrospective athlete reports of sport specialization and both retroactive and current psychological health outcomes. Early specializers reported significantly higher levels of multiple maladaptive psychological outcomes (e.g., global athlete burnout, emotional and physical exhaustion, sport devaluation, amotivation). Overall, findings suggest that specialization environment factors, in addition to the age of specialization, are potentially critical factors in determining health and well-being outcomes. Findings support prominent position statements suggesting early specialization may be associated with increased health risks. Study findings may also inform the development of guidelines and recommendations to aid parents, coaches, and athletes in positively impacting athlete psychosocial outcomes.