A group of students from the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts participated in a mental skills training program that focused on goal setting, self-confidence development, and team building. There were 13 two-hour sessions held over a 20-week period. The participants, cultural issues, and the basic structure of the program are described. The author’s observations regarding competition, displays of affection, collective values, and the importance of family and nature are provided. The participants qualitatively evaluated the program. Conclusions related to group process, program structure, and diversity are presented. These conclusions should be of value in terms of shaping future group mental skills training programs.
Stephanie J. Hanrahan
Stephanie J. Hanrahan
This paper presents general considerations for working with athletes with disabilities and the usefulness and possible modification of specific mental skills for those athletes. Common concerns for athletes with specific disabilities are discussed. Specific disabilities are considered under the headings of amputees, blind and visually impaired, cerebral palsy, deaf and hearing impaired, intellectual disabilities, and wheelchair. Arousal control, goal setting, attention/concentration, body awareness, imagery, self-confidence, and precompetition preparation are discussed in terms of disability-specific issues as well as suggestions for application.
Stephanie J. Hanrahan
People who live in the villas (i.e., slums) of Buenos Aires are confronted with poverty, poor and dangerous living conditions, and discrimination. Ten weeks were spent in the villas delivering a program designed to enhance life satisfaction and self-worth through games and the development of mental skills. The purpose of this paper is not to report on the content or the effectiveness of the program, but rather to explore the variables within Argentina and the villas as well as my own cultural biases that may have influenced the delivery of a psychological intervention program. Argentine factors include a high prevalence of psychologists and a psychoanalytic focus. Characteristics of the villas include environmental factors (e.g., transportation issues, sanitation), logistical issues (e.g., venues, access to writing implements), and psychological matters (e.g., hopelessness, different perceptions of confidence). Practitioner concerns included limited familiarity with life in the villas and having values that might be different from those of the participants. The discussion includes recommendations for others who are considering working in similar cultural and contextual situations.
John Mahoney and Stephanie J. Hanrahan
The purpose of this study was to research the experiences of four injured athletes during their rehabilitation from ACL injuries and to examine the potential usefulness of an adapted ACT intervention in addressing individuals’ adherence to rehabilitation protocols and their general psychological well-being. We investigated the usefulness of a brief, 4-session ACT program adapted for educational purposes and presented data as case studies. The case studies suggested that (a) the injured athletes experienced a multitude of private events immediately following injury, throughout their recovery, and when approaching a full return to sport; (b) the injured athletes typically avoided these private events and engaged in emotion-driven behaviors; (c) an adapted ACT approach for educational purposes could be useful on at least a basic level to help injured athletes accept private events, commit to rehabilitation behaviors, and have some certainty about returning to sport; and (d) more could be done to address the needs of injured athletes beyond the structure of our 4-session educational intervention. We concluded that the ACT-based intervention, to a certain extent, educated injured athletes about how to meet the challenges of their recoveries and how to commit to their rehabilitations, as well as to exhibit behaviors that would potentially permit their successful reentries to sport.
J. Robert Grove and Stephanie J. Hanrahan
Field hockey players (n=39) assessed their own psychological strengths and weaknesses by rank-ordering various mental skills. Coaches (n=5) who had daily contact with these athletes ranked the same skills on the basis of their perception of the players’ strengths and weaknesses. Comparisons indicated that the specificity of the skills being ranked influenced the amount of agreement between the responses of players and coaches. When general categories of skills were ranked, there was very little consistency between the groups. When specific skills within the general categories were ranked, there was considerable consistency between the groups. The results are discussed in relation to the nature of the questions asked when designing mental training programs. It is suggested that consultants should take care to identify potential problems in terms of specific skills rather than general categories. By doing so, they may increase the likelihood of agreement about mental training needs and increase their effectiveness. The issue of conducting selfassessments via rating-scale and rank-order formats is also addressed. Problems that the consultant may encounter in the use of a rating-scale format are noted, and the potential advantages of a rank-order format are discussed.
Clifford J. Mallett and Stephanie J. Hanrahan
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a specific cognitive race plan on 100 m sprint performance. Twelve elite sprinters (11 male and 1 female) performed 100 m time trials under normal (control) conditions and then under experimental conditions (use of race cues). In the experimental condition, participants were asked to think about specific thought content in each of three segments of the 100 m. A multiple baseline design was employed. A mean improvement of 0.26 s was found. Eleven of the 12 participants showed improvement using the specific cognitive race plan (p < .005). Participants also produced more consistent sprint performances when using the cues (p < .01). Subjective evaluations made by the participants unanimously supported the use of the race plan for optimizing sprint performance. Environmental conditions, effort, and practice effects were considered as possible influences on the results.
Stephanie J. Hanrahan, Rachel Pedro, and Ester Cerin
The purpose of this study was to determine if the use of structured self-reflection in community dance classes would influence achievement goal orientations, levels of intrinsic motivation, or perceived dance performance. The Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire (TEOSQ) and the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) were modified slightly to reflect involvement in salsa dancing rather than sport and then were administered to 139 Latin dance students at the beginning and end of an 11-week term. The dance classes were divided into control and intervention groups, balanced in terms of sample size and level of instruction. The intervention group completed a salsa self-reflection form during or after class for 9 weeks. At the posttest all students rated their salsa performance and the intervention group evaluated the self-reflection process. Results indicate that although achievement goal orientations were not affected, structured self-reflection is perceived to be a positive tool and may be a useful technique to enhance perceived performance and maintain effort and perceived importance. The participants’ perceptions of the self-reflection process were positive, with no negative effects of engaging in the process reported.
Rebecca K. Dickinson and Stephanie J. Hanrahan
This study investigated the properties of the Athens Insomnia Scale (Soldatos et al., 2000), the Fatigue Severity Scale (Krupp et al., 1989), and subscales of the SLEEP-50 Questionnaire (Spoormaker et al., 2005) in elite Australian athletes, to determine their appropriateness for this population. Fifty-nine athletes (29 male, 30 female, M = 21.86 yrs, SD = 7.44) from elite basketball, rowing, netball, beach volleyball, and sailing squads completed measures. A subset (n= 20) completed measures again at a 1-month interval, and a further subset (n= 5) were interviewed about their thoughts regarding the measures and their understanding of sleep. All scales and subscales displayed high internal consistency, apart from that which contained items not theoretically related, and all displayed good 1-month test-retest reliability. All measures were significantly correlated, demonstrating convergent validity. Athletes reported few sleep problems, but moderate fatigue. Athletes stated the measures produced accurate reflections of their sleep and fatigue, but also suggested improvements. Research limitations and implications are discussed.
Katharina Geukes, Christopher Mesagno, Stephanie J. Hanrahan, and Michael Kellmann
Trait activation theorists suggest that situational demands activate traits in (pressure) situations. In a comparison of situational demands of private (monetary incentive, cover story), mixed (monetary incentive, small audience), and public (large audience, video taping) high-pressure situations, we hypothesized that situational demands of private and mixed high-pressure conditions would activate self-focus traits and those of a public high-pressure condition would activate self-presentation traits. Female handball players (N = 120) completed personality questionnaires and then performed a throwing task in a low-pressure condition and one of three high-pressure conditions (n = 40). Increased anxiety levels from low to high pressure indicated successful pressure manipulations. A self-focus trait negatively predicted performance in private and mixed high-pressure conditions, and self-presentation traits positively predicted performance in the public high-pressure condition. Thus, pressure situations differed in their trait-activating situational demands. Experimental research investigating the trait–performance relationship should therefore use simulations of real competitions over laboratory-based scenarios.