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David Collins

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Martin Sharp and David Collins

A growing body of literature associates anabolic-androgenic steroids (AS) with psychological and behavioral disturbance. Studies report marked increases in aggression, and authors have suggested a causal relationship with the pharmacological properties of AS. There are, however, contradictions, methodological shortcomings, and variability within the literature that indicate a need to reevaluate the interpretation of these findings. After considering limitations in the pharmacological-oriented approach when compared to wider theory, a previously unconsidered social-psychological literature base regarding this problem is examined. The paper explores the role of social mediation in the relationship between AS use and aggression, demonstrating how psychosocial factors may bring about the aggressive behavior. Although these alternatives aim to place the nature of effects firmly back in the field of psychological explanation, it is proposed that the true nature of the effects will only become evident by adopting a complex biopsychosocial approach to the study of this problem.

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Benjamin James and David Collins

A qualitative investigation was conducted to identify sources of stress and the self-presentational mechanism that may underpin them during competition. Twenty athletes described factors they perceived as stressful during competition. Content analysis revealed eight general sources of stress, including significant others, competitive anxiety and doubts, perceived readiness, and the nature of the competition (e.g., importance). Two thirds (67.3%) of all stress sources appeared to heighten the athletes’ need to present themselves in a favorable way to the audience. Factors that increased perceived likelihood of poor personal performance lowered the athletes’ ability to convey a desired image to their audience. Social evaluation and self-presentation was also identified as a general source of stress in its own right. These findings suggest that (a) these athletes were sensitive about the impressions people form of them during competition, and (b) stress responses maybe triggered by factors that primarily influence the self-presentational implications of performance.

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Richard Bailey and David Collins

Despite evident differences between approaches to talent development, many share a set of common characteristics and presumptions. We call this the Standard Model of Talent Development (SMTD). This model is articulated and the relevant literature drawn out to highlight the model's strengths and weaknesses. The SMTD has been enormously influential, in terms of both policy documentation and practice, and it retains an obvious common sense appeal. However, we will argue that not only is its attractiveness illusionary and inconsistent to the emerging evidence base from research, but it is also undesirable from a variety of perspectives and desired outcomes. In short, we suggest that the most common system for identifying talent is unsubstantiated from both a process and an outcome perspective.

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David J. Collins, Loel Collins and Tom Willmott

In a recent paper in ISCJ, Ojala and Thorpe offered a culturally based observation that questions the role and application of coaching in action sports. Their critique is focused on the action sport of snowboarding which, despite its’ comparatively recent inclusion in the Olympics, retains a different, almost collaborative rather than competitive culture more akin to other action sports such as skateboarding and surfing. Ojala and Thorpe then present Problem Based Learning (PBL) as the solution to many of these perceived ills, describing the positive characteristics of the approach and promoting its cultural fit with action sport environments and performers. In this paper we offer a different perspective, which questions the veracity of the data presented and the unquestioningly positive view of PBL as the answer. Our alternative, data-driven perspective suggests that action sport athletes are increasingly positive, or even desirous of good coaching, of which PBL is a possible approach; suitable for some athletes some of the time.

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Stacy Winter and David J. Collins

Although the field of applied sport psychology has developed, it faces further challenges on its way toward gaining greater professional status. The following principal criteria of professionalism are proposed as a test of such status: (a) provides an important public service, (b) has a knowledge-base underpinning, (c) has organizational regulation, (d) has a distinct ethical dimension, and (e) has professional autonomy. This article undertakes to explore the nature of implications for practice and the extent to which the suggested principal criteria justify a distinctive applied sport psychology profession. In doing so, we hope to stimulate debate on these and other issues in order that an even greater professionalization of our applied discipline may emerge.

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David Collins and Graham Powell and Ian Davies

Electroencephalographic recordings were taken from eight high-level male karate performers as they performed an easy and a hard karate training task, namely the breaking of one and three inch-thick boards of wood. Examination of activity in the alpha waveband provided only partial support for a differential pattern of engagement between the left and right hemispheres. There was stronger evidence for an overall increase in alpha waveband activity immediately prior to performance that was most noticeable during the hard task. Some alternative explanations for these observations were eliminated by the design and electrode montage used. The results and implications were discussed in light of other sport related studies and work in the field of hemispheric specialization.

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David Collins, Bruce Hale and Joe Loomis

Studies of sport participation that include emotional responses, particularly anger, are frequently flawed because measures consist of associative paper–pencil inventories and archival data. In the present study, startle response (an aversive reflex) was enhanced during an unpleasant emotional state and diminished in a pleasant emotional context. Nonsignificant differences on this dispositional measure between 36 athletes and nonathletes did not replicate findings differing normals and psychopaths (Patrick, Bradley, & Lang, 1993) on emotional responsivity. Similarity was also apparent in experiential aspects of anger responsivity as revealed by the check for differences in attributional style. No significant intergroup differences were found in participants’ responses to realistic situations (termed vignettes), in evaluation of the anger/provocation inherent in the situation, in the reasons attributed to the “frustrater,” or in self-reported intended response. Implications for future sport research on emotional responsivity, anger and aggressive behavior are discussed.

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David Collins, Michael Doherty and Steven Talbot

Using an exemplar case study of an intervention completed in the sport of motocross, the authors attempt to demonstrate the advantages inherent in using integrated multidisciplinary approaches in the application of sport sciences to performance enhancement. The need for comprehensive, detailed, and well-planned interventions, which of necessity take time to both set up and implement, is also highlighted. In addition, the authors furnish examples of practical techniques that can be used to facilitate cognitive behavioral strategies in this type of sport. Implications for the preparation and training of applied sport psychology consultants are briefly discussed.