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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.

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Rebecca L. Vivrette, Laurence Z. Rubenstein, Jennifer L. Martin, Karen R. Josephson and B. Josea Kramer

Objective:

To determine seniors’ beliefs about falls and design a fall-risk self-assessment and educational materials to promote early identification of evidence-based fall risks and encourage prevention behaviors.

Methods:

Focus groups with community-dwelling seniors, conducted in two phases to identify perceptions about fall risks and risk reduction and to assess face validity of the fall-risk self-assessment and acceptability of educational materials.

Results:

Lay perception of fall risks was in general concordance with evidence-based research. Maintaining independence and positive tone were perceived as key motivators for fall prevention. Seniors intended to use information in the educational tool to stimulate discussions about falls with health care providers.

Implications:

An evidence-based, educational fall-risk self-assessment acceptable to older adults can build on existing lay knowledge about fall risks and perception that falls are a relevant problem and can educate seniors about their specific risks and how to minimize them.

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Clive J. Brewer and Robyn L. Jones

The purpose of this paper is to propose a five-stage process for establishing both validity and reliability in new systematic observation instruments. The process is contextualized within the working behaviors of elite level rugby union coaches within the practice setting. The sequential stages began with observer training and progressed through the identification of coaching behaviors through induction (to establish content validity), to establishing face validity through a domain-referenced test. The objectivity and reliability of the developed behavioral classifications are determined through an interobserver agreement test while, finally, the researcher’s ability to reliably reproduce data with the developed instrument is determined using a test/retest intraobserver reliability check. The developed instrument (the Rugby Union Coaches Observation Instrument: RUCOI) is deemed able to record the situationally unique behaviors arising from the nature of the sport and of the elite standard, both of which were considered to impinge upon the pedagogical process in the said context.

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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.

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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.

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Charles H. Hillman, Bruce N. Cuthbert, Margaret M. Bradley and Peter J. Lang

Psychophysiological responses of two rival sport fan groups were assessed within the context of Lang’s biphasic theory of emotion. Twenty-four participants, placed in two groups based on their identification with local sport teams, viewed 6 pictures from 6 categories: team-relevant pleasant sport, team-irrelevant sport, team-relevant unpleasant sport, erotica, household objects, and mutilation. Fans rated appetitive sport pictures higher in pleasure and arousal compared to aversive sport pictures. Physiological measures (startle probe-P3, the startle eye-blink reflex, slow cortical potentials to picture onset, and skin conductance) differentiated both appetitive and aversive team-relevant categories from team-irrelevant pictures, and increased orbicularis oculi EMG was found only for team-relevant appetitive pictures. These results suggest there are differences between rival sport fans in response to the same pictorial stimuli, and further suggest that fans provide an ideal population in which to measure motivation toward appetitive stimuli.

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Roel Vaeyens, Matthieu Lenoir, A. Mark Williams, Liesbeth Mazyn and Renaat M. Philippaerts

We examined differences in visual search behaviors and decision-making skill across different microstates of offensive play in soccer using youth participants (13.0-15.8 years) varying in skill and experience. We used realistic film simulations of offensive play, movement-based response measures, and an eye movement registration technique. Playing experience, skill level, and the unique constraints of the task, expressed by the number of players and relative proportion of offensive and defensive players, determined both the observed search behavior and processing requirements imposed on players in dynamic offensive team simulations. Significant differences in performance were observed between players and nonplayers and across three groups of soccer players who differed in skill level. Implications for talent identification and development are considered.

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Susan S. Levy

Using a qualitative design, the purpose of this study was to investigate the personal meaning of competition to the female mountain bike racer. Interviews were conducted with nine female mountain bike racers of varying levels of experience, and were designed to elicit information relevant to the athlete’s understanding of her experience of competition, as well as, the personal meaning she attached to that experience. The codification of participant responses resulted in the identification of eight main themes including self-fulfillment, perceived competence, social support and camaraderie, health and fitness, joy of the experience, focus and self-control, external benefits derived from racing, and goal-direction. The findings of the study were, in general, supportive of the components of meaning posited by Personal Investment Theory (Maehr & Braskamp, 1986). Practical implications from this study include developing strategies for increasing the meaningfulness of the competitive experience for females in order to promote participation in physical 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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Jean Côté

The purpose of the present study was to describe patterns in the dynamics of families of talented athletes throughout their development in sport. Four families, including three families of elite rowers and one family of an elite tennis player were examined. The framework provided by Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch-Römer (1993) to explain expert performance served as the theoretical basis for the study. Ericsson et al. suggested that the acquisition of expert performance involves operating within three types of constraints: motivational, effort, and resource. In-depth interviews were conducted with each athlete, parent, and sibling to explore how they have dealt with these three constraints. A total of 15 individual interviews were conducted. Results permitted the identification of three phases of participation from early childhood to late adolescence: the sampling years, the specializing years, and the investment years. The dynamics of the family in each of these phases of development is discussed.