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Jennifer L. Cumming and Diane M. Ste-Marie

The primary purpose of this study was to use synchronized skaters to examine the influence of imagery perspective on the cognitive and motivational functions of imagery during a five-week imagery training program. To this end, 16 novice synchronized skaters participated in an imagery intervention that incorporated both cognitive and motivational imagery. The Sport Imagery Questionnaire (SIQ: Hall, Mack, Paivio, & Hausenblas, 1998) was used to assess changes in the skaters’ use of cognitive and motivational images as a result of the training program. The results of a MANOVA indicated that skaters increased their use of cognitive specific and cognitive general imagery, regardless of their preferred imagery perspective. Furthermore, neither group showed changes in their use of imagery for motivational functions. The findings are discussed within the context of Hardy’s (1997) proposal that a particular imagery perspective is beneficial for the learning and performance of motor skills if it provides visual information that is otherwise not available to the performer.

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Charlotte Woodcock, Joan L. Duda, Jennifer Cumming, Lee-Ann Sharp, and Mark J.G. Holland

Drawing from the experiences of the authors in developing, conducting, and evaluating sport psychology interventions, several considerations are highlighted and recommendations offered for effective psychometric assessment. Using the Test of Performance Strategies (TOPS; Thomas, Murphy, & Hardy, 1999) as a working example, opportunities for bias to undermine a measure’s validity and reliability are discussed with reference to a respondent’s four cognitive processes: (a) comprehension, (b) retrieval, (c) decision-making, and (d) response generation. Further threats to an instrument’s psychometric properties are highlighted in the form of demand characteristics athletes perceive in the environment. With these concerns in mind, several recommendations are made relating to the process of questionnaire administration and how possible compromises to the psychometric soundness of measures used in applied interventions can be minimized.

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Charlotte Woodcock, Mark J.G. Holland, Joan L. Duda, and Jennifer Cumming

The aim of the current study was to extend previous research by Holland and colleagues (2010) into the required psychological qualities of young talented rugby players by considering the perceptions and supportive role of influential others. Perceptions of players’ parents (n = 17), coaches (n = 7), and sport administration staff (SAS; n = 2) were explored through focus group discussions. Findings show that these influential others considered the same 11 higher order themes for psychological qualities previously identified as desirable by players. Their views on how they assisted in developing these player psychological qualities were classified into three higher-order themes, namely progressive development, professional environment, and performance environment. Specific behaviors contributing to each context and deemed helpful by influential others were discussed in terms of ecological systems theory (Bonfenbrenner, 1977). Recommendations for future research and applied implications for consultants are subsequently offered.

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Lee-Ann Sharp, Charlotte Woodcock, Mark J.G. Holland, Jennifer Cumming, and Joan L. Duda

The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effectiveness of a mental skills training (MST) program for male youth elite rugby athletes. Three focus groups were held with 21 under-16 male rugby athletes and four male coaches involved in the MST program to examine the quality of service delivery, athlete responses to the MST program, the mental qualities used by athletes, and its perceived influence on athlete performance. Following inductive-deductive content analysis, 40 subcategories and 16 categories emerged. Participants believed the MST program to be an interactive, well-planned program that increased athlete understanding of MST methods and awareness of MST strategies to manage rugby performance. Athletes thought it important that their coaches develop a greater knowledge and understanding of MST methods. Finally, athletes perceived the MST skills and methods they learnt through the MST program were transferable to other sports and areas of their life outside of rugby (e.g., school).