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Daniel Gould and Laura Finch

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Daniel Gould, Susan Jackson, and Laura Finch

This investigation examined stress and sources of stress experienced by U.S. national champion figure skaters. Seventeen national champions, who held their titles between 1985 and 1990, were interviewed about the stress they experienced as national champions and were asked to identify specific sources of stress. Qualitative methodology was used to inductively analyze the interview transcripts and revealed that 71% of the skaters experienced more stress after winning their title than before doing so. Stress source dimensions were also identified and included: relationship issues, expectations and pressure to perform, psychological demands on skater resources, physical demands on skater resources, environmental demands on skater resources, life direction concerns, and a number of individual specific uncategorizable sources. In general, these findings parallel the previous elite figure skaters stress source research of Scanlan, Stein, and Ravizza (1991), although there were several points of divergence relative to the type of stressors experienced by this sample of national champion athletes.

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John M. Siva III, Allen E. Cornelius, and Laura M. Finch

This study used a laboratory setting and a novel motor skill to investigate psychological momentum and its relationship to performance. Subjects were paired» placed in competition in a novel motor task, and given false feedback concerning the outcome of games. Positive or negative momentum conditions were imposed by manipulating their experiences of victory or defeat as the match progressed. The actual performance and error scores for each subject were recorded after each game. The results indicated that subjects in positive conditions felt they had a high frequency of positive psychological momentum and that subjects in negative conditions felt they had a high frequency of negative psychological momentum. However» comparing mean performance and error scores of subjects in the two momentum conditions over the entire contest; comparing them in the last two games of a set, winners versus losers; and examining the predictive power of set outcome on performance and error scores in the next two games of the following set failed to demonstrate a significant performance effect.

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Daniel Gould, Susan A. Jackson, and Laura M. Finch

This study was designed to better understand the positive and negative aspects of being a national champion athlete, to uncover difficulties encountered in defending a championship title, and to solicit recommendations for achieving and maintaining national champion status. Seventeen U.S. national champion figure skaters who held titles between 1985 and 1990 participated in in-depth interviews. A number of positive and negative experiences were identified. Difficulties encountered in defending a championship were associated with increased expectations and responsibilities, a shift in motivational orientation from chasing to being chased where arousal was increased and interpreted negatively, and athletic injuries and the stress related to those injuries. Recommendations focused on such things as not being afraid to grow and take risks, filtering feedback and advice, not falling into the trap of feeling one has to be perfect, and seeking and utilizing social support.