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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jürgen Beckmann and Michael Kellmann
In this paper we discuss some of the factors sport psychologists should consider before administering questionnaires or other formal assessment instruments to athletes. To be used effectively, assessment instruments need to be (a) reliable and valid for the individual athlete or sport group in question, (b) seen as useful by the athlete(s) completing the instrument, and be (c) completed honestly by the athlete(s). Additional objectives sport psychologists should strive to achieve include a clear identification of the purpose of the assessment instrument, the commitment of athlete and coach to the assessment process, and the maintenance of a clear channel of communication with coaches and athletes throughout the period of psychological assessment, training, feedback, evaluation, and adjustment.
Áine MacNamara, Angela Button and Dave Collins
Given the complexity of the talent development process, it seems likely that a range of psychological factors underpin an athlete’s ability to translate potential into top-class performance. Therefore, the purpose of part one of this two-part investigation was to explore the attributes that facilitate the successful development of athletes from initial involvement to achieving and maintaining world-class status. Seven elite athletes and a parent of each of these athletes were interviewed regarding their own (their son’s/daughter’s) development in sport. Data were content analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Although sporting achievement was conceptualized as being multidimensional, psychological factors were highlighted as the key determinants of those who emerged as talented and maintained excellence. Accordingly, we suggest that talent identification and development programs should place greater emphasis on the advancement and application of psychological behaviors at an early stage to optimize both the development and performance of athletes.
David Yukelson, Robert Weinberg and Allen Jackson
The purpose of the present study was to develop a valid and reliable group cohesion instrument that measures both task-related and social-related forces that are presumed to exist in interacting sport groups. Male and female intercollegiate basketball players (N = 196) completed a 41-item sport cohesion instrument. Results from two different factor analytical techniques revealed four robust common factors which accounted for greater than 80% of the variance of the total common factor structure. The four derived common factors were labeled Attraction to the Group, Unity of Purpose, Quality of Teamwork, and Valued Roles. In addition, the internal consistency of the adjusted 22-item sport cohesion instrument was found to be high, yielding a .93 alpha reliability coefficient. The findings suggest that group cohesion in intercollegiate basketball teams is multidimensional in nature, consisting of common goals, valued roles, teamwork that is complimentary to the goals the group is striving to achieve, and feelings of satisfaction and/or identification with group membership.