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Yuri Hanin and Pasi Syrjä

Individual patterns of positive–negative affect (PNA) were studied in 46 ice hockey players, ages 15–17 years. Recall idiographic scaling following the methodology of the individual zones of optimal functioning (IZOF) model was used to identify subjective emotional experiences related to each player’s successful and unsuccessful game performance. Individual zones for each emotion were then estimated using Borg’s Category Ratio (CR-10) scale. Different positive and negative emotions were functionally facilitating (20.5%), debilitating (25.3%), or both (54.2%). Significant differences were revealed only at intra- and interindividual but not at the group level. Optimal and nonoptimal zones for different emotions in different players were also individual. The data support and extend Hanin’s IZOF model to the content and intensity of PNA in ice hockey. Implications for the development of sports-specific scales, idiographic assessments, and application of the IZOF model in team sports are suggested.

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Montse C. Ruiz, Yuri Hanin, and Claudio Robazza

In this investigation we describe an individualized approach in the assessment of athletes’ experiences associated with successful and poor performances. Two studies were conducted to develop a profiling procedure to assess eight modalities of performance-related states. In Study 1, six high-level athletes assessed their states before most successful and unsuccessful performances using a preliminary 71-item stimulus list developed by a panel of four emotion researchers. They also rated the intensity of their states on a modified Borg’s CR-10 scale. In Study 2, five top-level divers assessed their states before multiple dives (three successful and three unsuccessful) using a revised 74-item list. The perceived impact on performance was also examined using an open-ended question. Individual profiles reflected two typical curves discriminating successful and unsuccessful performances. High individual variability in item content and intensity was found. Athletes reported a wide range of interrelated experiences associated with their performances. Our findings support the practical utility of individualized profiling to assess athletes’ performance-related states.

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Yuri L. Hanin and Natalia B. Stambulova

This study examined feeling states prior to, during, and after best ever and worst ever competition in 85 skilled Russian athletes using metaphor-generation method (Hanin, 2000). Six situations elicited 510 idiosyncratic and functionally meaningful metaphors (67% animate and 33% inanimate agents) and 922 interpretative descriptors. Metaphors and descriptors reflected high action readiness in best ever competition and low action readiness in worst ever competition. Athletes used different metaphors to describe their feelings prior to, during, and after performance. Accompanying idiosyncratic descriptors had multiple connotations with different components of psychobiosocial state. Aggregated content of descriptors had high scores on optimal and low scores on dysfunctional state characteristics in best ever competition but not in worst ever competition. Future research directions and practical implications are suggested.

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Yuri Hanin, Tapio Korjus, Petteri Jouste, and Paul Baxter

Exploratory studies examine the effectiveness of old way/new way, an innovative meta-cognitive learning strategy initially developed in education settings, in the rapid and permanent correction of established technique difficulties experienced by two Olympic athletes in javelin and sprinting. Individualized interventions included video-assisted error analysis, step-wise enhancement of kinesthetic awareness, reactivation of the error memory, discrimination, and generalization of the correct movement pattern. Self-reports, coach’s ratings, and video recordings were used as measures of technique improvement. A single learning trial produced immediate and permanent technique improvement (80% or higher correct action) and full transfer of learning, without the need for the customary adaptation period. Findings are consistent with the performance enhancement effects of old way/new way demonstrated experimentally in nonsport settings.