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Judy L. Van Raalte, Lorraine Wilson, Allen Cornelius and Britton W. Brewer

Theory suggests that matching self-talk to sport demands can result in performance benefits, but the effects of self-talk in adventure-sport contexts that feature high risk (e.g., self-contained underwater breathing apparatus [SCUBA] diving) have not been studied. This research explored the effects of instructional and motivational self-talk in a high-risk adventure-sport context. Students (N = 78) enrolled in SCUBA diving courses were randomly assigned to self-talk (instructional, motivational) or control conditions; practiced self-talk and SCUBA diving skills; rated their levels of effort, confidence, and focus; and were evaluated during certification dives. Results indicated that participants gained confidence over time. The instructional-self-talk group reported being significantly more focused and confident during certification dives than the motivational-self-talk group. These results demonstrate the efficacy of matching self-talk to task demands in the high-risk context of adventure sports.

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Julia Allain, Gordon A. Bloom and Wade D. Gilbert

Competitions in many team sports include short breaks (e.g., intermissions, halftime) where coaches have a unique opportunity to make tactical adjustments and communicate with athletes as a group. Although these breaks are significant coaching moments, very little is known about what successful coaches do during this time. The purpose of this study was to examine intermission routines and knowledge of highly experienced and successful National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) ice hockey coaches. A thematic analysis was used to analyze semistructured and stimulated-recall interview data. Results revealed that coaching during intermissions was a continuous process influenced by the coaches’ history and personal characteristics. Drawing on these factors, the coaches created an intermission routine that guided them as they analyzed unpredictable situational factors such as their team’s performance and the athletes’ emotional state. Overall, the results offer a rare glimpse into the intermission strategies of successful coaches in a high-performance setting.

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Christoph Szedlak, Matthew Smith, Melissa Day and Bettina Callary

This study explored which strength and conditioning (S&C) coaching behaviors and characteristics are perceived as effective by elite athletes and how these influence the athletes. A secondary aim was to consider the development and usefulness of vignettes to elicit new knowledge. Ten elite athletes reflected on scenarios presented in vignettes. Resulting themes were divided into the processes and factors influencing athletes and how the athletes are affected. The athletes considered these themes effective because the coach had built an environment of trust and respect. How coaches might influence athletes were divided into cognitive influences and behavioral influences. The results are discussed in light of current sport coaching literature, and the way vignettes enhance the richness of the data collection is reflected on. Practically, the results suggest that S&C coaches can build trust and respect to influence athletes’ development through effective instruction, communication, and motivation.

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Moira Lafferty and Caroline Wakefield

The aim of this study was to explore female student athletes’ participation in initiation activities, specifically to examine whether activities in the United Kingdom followed trends similar to those reported elsewhere. A sample of 8 female athletes representing both traditional and nontraditional team and individual sports (M age = 20 yr 3 mo, SD = 1 yr 3 mo) who met inclusion criteria of having taken part in an initiation ceremony consented to participate in a semistructured interview. Thematic content analysis resulted in the emergence of 6 higher order themes represented by 2 general dimensions: the initiation event and initiation outcomes. Findings indicated that female student athletes’ initiation activities encompassed discrete stages as they moved from team newcomers to accepted team members. Of particular concern is the direct and indirect role of alcohol in these events and the health and behavioral risks.

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Paul A. Sellars, Stephen D. Mellalieu and Camilla J. Knight

This study explored stakeholders’ perceptions of Welsh adolescent participation in rugby union. A Straussian grounded-theory approach was adopted and data collection was conducted via semistructured interviews with 15 individuals involved in Welsh adolescent rugby union. Data were analyzed through open and axial coding procedures and theoretical integration. Stakeholders perceived that continued rugby participation resulted from a positive evaluation of one’s participation in the sport and one’s ability to cope with the demands experienced throughout transitions during adolescence. Overall, the findings provide a substantive grounded theory of stakeholders’ perceptions of continued adolescent participation in Welsh rugby union, and applied implications, in an aim to promote continued sport participation.

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Paul A. Davis, Louise Davis, Samuel Wills, Ralph Appleby and Arne Nieuwenhuys

The present study examines cricketers’ perceptions of emotional interactions between competitors. Semistructured interviews with 12 male professional cricketers explored experiences (i.e., emotions, cognitions, behaviors) relating to incidents during competition where they or an opponent attempted to evoke an emotional reaction (e.g., sledging). Cricketers described their use of sledging as aggressive actions and verbal interactions with the aim of disrupting concentration and altering the emotional states of opponents. They described experiencing a variety of emotions (e.g., anxiety, anger) in response to opponents’ attempts at interpersonal emotion regulation; linguistic analyses indicated that both positive than negative emotions were experienced. A range of strategies in response to competitors’ deliberate attempts at interpersonal emotion regulation were outlined. The present study extends previous research investigating interpersonal emotion regulation within teams by indicating that professional cricketers are aware of the impact of cognitions and emotions on performance and attempt to negatively influence these factors in competitors.

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Carolyn E. McEwen, Laura Hurd Clarke, Erica V. Bennett, Kimberley A. Dawson and Peter R.E. Crocker

The purpose of this study was to examine elite Canadian individual-sport athletes’ experiences with an Olympic team-selection process. Six nonselected Canadian individual-sport athletes who were attempting to qualify for the Olympics took part in 3 semistructured interviews during the Olympic team-selection process, after they gained knowledge of their selection status, and after the Olympic Games. Data were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Three major themes emerged from the interpretation of the athletes’ experiences: (a) pursuing and expressing the Olympic athlete identity; (b) navigating the Olympic team-selection process: expectations, barriers, and tensions; and (c) moving on: reactions, life-goal reinvestment, and athletic-goal adjustment. Participants’ experiences were shaped by personal motivation and social expectations, with changes shifting across the 3 interview periods. Athletes attempted to manage the discontent of nonselection through processes of positive reappraisal, athletic-goal adjustment, and accentuating other life goals and identities.

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Cassidy Preston and Jessica Fraser-Thomas

Performance success and positive development are goals of youth sport coaching that need not but often do find themselves in conflict with each other, yet there is a dearth of research that has inquired into the tensions between these 2 goals for sport coaches. Adopting an autoethnographic research design, this study explored the first author’s coaching experiences with a focus on his attempts to facilitate players’ personal development and the team’s performance success in a Canadian elite minor ice hockey context. Framed in a positive-youth-development approach, the first author’s philosophy and behaviors were informed by key tenants of achievement goal theory and self-determination theory. Three key areas were problematized: pursuing personal development and performance success, creating a task-oriented environment, and implementing autonomy-supportive behaviors. Practical implications for elite youth coaches and coach educations programs are discussed.