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Jean M. Williams

Identification of psychological and perceptual variables which cause one athlete to be more successful than another may enable coaches to initially better select those individuals who might ultimately have the greatest prospect for success within a given sport. The purpose of the present investigation was to determine whether a relationship exists between fencing ability and psychological differentiation, as measured by a test of field dependence-independence. Because differentiating the movement of one's body and analytically diagnosing the events during a bout are critical to fencing success, it was hypothesized that higher skilled, classified fencers (N = 26) would be more field independent (as measured by a rod and frame test) than less skilled, unclassified fencers (N = 20). The results were significant and in the hypothesized direction (p < .001). There were no significant differences for age, number of years fenced, and educational background. It was concluded that any assessment of fencing potential should include a rod and frame test to measure field dependence-independence.

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Tara K. Scanlan and Michael W. Passer

Identification of factors influencing expectancies of successful performance in competitive youth sports is important to understanding the way in which children perceive and respond to this evaluative achievement situation. Therefore, in this field study involving 10- to 12-year-old female soccer players, intrapersonal factors affecting players' pregame personal performance expectancies were first identified. Soccer ability and self-esteem were found to be related to personal performance expectancies, but competitive trait anxiety was not Second, the impact of game outcome, the previously mentioned intrapersonal variables, and the interaction of game outcome and intrapersonal variables was examined by determining players' postgame team expectancies in a hypothetical rematch with the same opponent. The postgame findings showed that winning players evidenced higher team expectancies than tying and losing players. Moreover, the expectancies of tying players were low and, in fact, similar to those of losers. The results of this study successfully replicated and extended previous findings with young male athletes.

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Timothy J. Bungum and Murray Vincent

Purposes of this study included the identification of physical activity (PA) levels, and the types of activity, as well as the determination of racial differences in these factors between African-American (AA) (n=626) and White (WH) (n=226) adolescent females.

PA was measured using a one week recall. Approximately 1/2 of WH and 1/3 of AA female adolescents were sufficiently physically active (Blair, 1992) to produce health benefits. Less than twenty-five percent of study participants met a newly established guideline addressing moderate to vigorous PA (Sallis & Patrick, 1994). Younger adolescents were more active than older adolescents.

Accounting for differences in age and socioeconomic status WH females were more active than AA females. African-American and WH females participated in similar types of activity. Walking was the most frequently cited mode of activity.

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Camilla J. Knight and Nicholas L. Holt

The purposes of this study were to identify the strategies parents use to be able to support their children’s involvement in competitive tennis and identify additional assistance parents require to better facilitate their children’s involvement in tennis. Interviews were conducted with 41 parents of junior players in the United States. Data analysis led to the identification of 4 strategies parents used to be able to support to their children: spouses working together, interacting with other parents, selecting an appropriate coach, and researching information. Five areas where parents required additional assistance were also identified. These were understanding and negotiating player progression, education on behaving and encouraging players at tournaments, evaluating and selecting coaches, identifying and accessing financial support, and managing and maintaining schooling. These findings indicated that parents “surrounded themselves with support” to facilitate their children’s involvement in tennis but required additional information regarding specific aspects of tennis parenting.

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Jim Taylor

The objective of this article is to reply to Dr. Albert Ellis’s application of his rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) paradigm to the issue of exercise and sport avoidance. This article begins with a consideration of why people avoid exercise and sport participation and an identification of what needs to be modified for people to initiate and adhere to exercise and sport programs. Then, in reponse to Dr. Ellis’s discussion, some of the key elements of his proposed program are reviewed. Additionally, some of his techniques are reinterpreted in a manner with which exercise/sport psychologists may be more familiar. Also, some suggestions are offered to enhance the impact of REBT to exercise and sport avoidance.

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Erich J. Petushek, Edward T. Cokely, Paul Ward and Gregory D. Myer

Instrument-based biomechanical movement analysis is an effective injury screening method but relies on expensive equipment and time-consuming analysis. Screening methods that rely on visual inspection and perceptual skill for prognosticating injury risk provide an alternative approach that can significantly reduce cost and time. However, substantial individual differences exist in skill when estimating injury risk performance via observation. The underlying perceptual-cognitive mechanisms of injury risk identification were explored to better understand the nature of this skill and provide a foundation for improving performance. Quantitative structural and process modeling of risk estimation indicated that superior performance was largely mediated by specific strategies and skills (e.g., irrelevant information reduction), and independent of domain-general cognitive abilities (e.g., mental rotation, general decision skill). These cognitive models suggest that injury prediction expertise (i.e., ACL-IQ) is a trainable skill, and provide a foundation for future research and applications in training, decision support, and ultimately clinical screening investigations.

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Jesse A. Steinfeldt, Leslie A. Rutkowski, Ellen L. Vaughan and Matthew C. Steinfeldt

In order to identify factors associated with on-field moral functioning among student athletes within the unique context of football, we examined masculine gender role conflict, moral atmosphere, and athletic identity. Using structural equation modeling to assess survey data from 204 high school football players, results demonstrated that moral atmosphere (i.e., the influence of coaches and teammates) was significantly associated with participants’ process of on-field moral functioning across the levels of judgment, intention, and behavior. Neither masculine gender role conflict nor athletic identity significantly predicted moral functioning, but the results indicated that participants’ identification with the athlete role significantly predicted conflict with socialized gender roles. Results suggest that in the aggressive and violent sport of football, coaches can have a direct influence on players’ moral functioning process. Coaches can also have an indirect effect by influencing all the players so that a culture of ethical play can be cultivated among teammates and spread from the top down.

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Patricia S. Miller and Gretchen A. Kerr

This study examined the role experimentation of university student athletes using in-depth interviews. The results revealed participants’ role experimentation was limited to three spheres: athletic, academic, and social. Participants’ exploration of and commitment to roles revealed a two-stage model of identity formation. The first stage, Over-Identification with the Athlete Role, revealed a singular focus on athletics that persisted throughout much of the participants’ university careers. The second stage, Deferred Role Experimentation, reflected an increased investment in academic and social roles in the participants’ upper years. Results were consistent with previous findings of an athletic identity among intercollegiate student-athletes (Brewer, Van Raalte, & Linder, 1993), but supported Perna, Zaichkowsky, and Bocknek’s (1996) suggestion that identity foreclosure may have been overgeneralized.

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Leen Haerens, Nathalie Aelterman, Lynn Van den Berghe, Jotie De Meyer, Bart Soenens and Maarten Vansteenkiste

According to self-determination theory, teachers can motivate students by supporting their psychological needs for relatedness, competence, and autonomy. The present study complements extant research (most of which relied on self-report measures) by relying on observations of need-supportive teaching in the domain of physical education (PE), which allows for the identification of concrete, real-life examples of how teacher need support manifests in the classroom. Seventy-four different PE lessons were coded for 5-min intervals to assess the occurrence of 21 need-supportive teaching behaviors. Factor analyses provided evidence for four interpretable factors, namely, relatedness support, autonomy support, and two components of structure (structure before and during the activity). Reasonable evidence was obtained for convergence between observed and student perceived need support. Yet, the low interrater reliability for two of the four scales indicates that these scales need further improvement.

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Jean Côté, John H. Salmela and Storm Russell

An expert system approach (Buchanan et al., 1983) was used to identify and conceptualize the knowledge of 17 Canadian expert high-performance gymnastic coaches. By using a qualitative research methodology based on the traditions of cognitive anthropology and grounded theory, the first two stages of the knowledge acquisition process for building an expert system (identification and conceptualization) were examined. Open-ended questions and various questioning methods were used to unveil, explore, and probe important information (Patton, 1990; Spradley, 1979) about various coaching situations. All coaches’ interviews were transcribed verbatim, and the unstructured qualitative data were inductively analyzed following the procedures and techniques of grounded theory (Côté, Salmela, Baria, & Russell, 1993; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1990). This article provides the underlying methodological framework used for the entire project. Details about the coaches studied and the methodological framework used to collect and analyze the data are presented.