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Gary L. Stein

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Gary L. Stein and Linda Petlichkoff

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Thomas D. Raedeke and Gary L. Stein

This study examined the relationship between felt arousal, thoughts/feelings, and ski performance based on recent arousal and affect conceptualizations. An eclectic integration of these perspectives suggests that to understand the arousal-performance relationship, researchers need to examine not only a felt arousal continuum (i.e., intensity or level ranging from low to high), but also a concomitant thoughts and feelings continuum (i.e., ranging from positive to negative). Recreational slalom ski racers completed a self-report measure examining felt arousal and thoughts/feelings prior to several ski runs. Results demonstrated a significant relationship between felt arousal level, thoughts/feelings, and subjective ski performance ratings, but not for actual ski times. In contrast to the inverted-U hypothesis for subjective performance ratings, high felt arousal is not associated with poor performance ratings if it is accompanied by positive thoughts and feelings.

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Gary L. Stein and Tara K. Scanlan

The present study examined a conceptual framework developed to organize and explain an athlete’s sources of enjoyment. The framework consisted of two potential underlying mechanisms: goal attainment and non-goal occurrences. Goal attainment are experiences that athletes set, strive for, and achieve. Athletes have two functionally related goal levels, labeled universal and general, which form a goal hierarchy. Non-goal occurrences are environmental events that take place but are not a priori set as goals. Participants were 13- to 16-year-old high school and park league baseball and basketball players who answered a single postseason questionnaire. Stepwise regression analyses indicated partial framework support. General goal attainment predicted both universal goal attainment and seasonal enjoyment, universal goal attainment failed to predict seasonal enjoyment, and non-goal occurrences showed no relationship to either universal goal attainment or seasonal enjoyment.

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Greg W. Schmidt and Gary L. Stein

Sport enjoyment, dropout, and burnout emerged as important areas of research in the 1980s. Smith (1986) and Gould (1987; Gould & Petlichkoff, 1988) have proposed models to account for these phenomena, and both models include elements fromThibaut and Kelley's (1959) social exchange theory. The present paper argues that previous models overlooked an important aspect of social exchange theory and may not be able to adequately account for continued involvement, dropout, and burnout. Kelley's (1983) conception of commitment is offered as an extension of previous models. Recent research examining commitment in close relationships is highlighted, and its relevance to sport is discussed. The proposed model of commitment to sport is able to distinguish between athletes who continue their participation, those who drop out, and those who burn out.

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Tara K. Scanlan, Gary L. Stein and Kenneth Ravizza

This study examined the sources of stress in elite figure skaters. Twenty-six former national-championship competitors were interviewed to identify their stressors during the most competitive phase of their athletic careers. The interviews consisted of open-ended and follow-up questions that provided an in-depth understanding of the athletes' sources of stress. Inductive content-analysis procedures established stress categories derived from the athletes' perspective. Five major sources of stress emerged from the data—negative aspects of competition, negative significant-other relationships, demands or costs of skating, personal straggles, and traumatic experiences. The results demonstrate that (a) elite athletes experience stress from both competition and noncompetition sources, (b) individual differences exist among elite athletes' sources of stress, and (c) elite and youth sport athletes have similar competition-related stressors.

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Tara K. Scanlan, Gary L. Stein and Kenneth Ravizza

This study investigated the sources of sport enjoyment for elite figure skaters. These elite athletes were 26 former national championship competitors who currently coach figure skating. The skaters were interviewed and answered an open-ended question asking them for their sources of enjoyment during the most competitive phase of their skating careers. Each source of enjoyment mentioned was probed to obtain an in-depth understanding of the source. The data, 418 quotes, were drawn from verbatim transcriptions of the interviews and were inductively content analyzed. Content analysis organizes the quotes into increasingly more complex themes and categories representing sources of enjoyment. Four major sources of enjoyment emerged from the data—social and life opportunities, perceived competence, social recognition of competence, and the act of skating. The findings (a) demonstrated that elite figure skaters derive enjoyment from numerous and diverse sources reflecting the achievement, social, and movement aspects of sport, (b) provided greater depth of understanding for new and previously indicated sources of enjoyment, and (c) uncovered new psychological constructs.

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Tara K. Scanlan, Kenneth Ravizza and Gary L. Stein

This article introduces a project focused on the sources of sport enjoyment and stress, and the role that significant others have in these experiences. These issues were studied in depth using primarily qualitative interview techniques that were then complemented by quantitative assessments. Study participants were 26 former elite figure skaters who had competed at the national level and were currently coaching. The interviews lasted an average of 2 1/2 hours and yielded over 1,000 transcribed pages. The purpose of this manuscript is to provide an underlying coherency to a series of articles through which this wealth of information will be presented. Information common to all articles and the methodological framework to the entire project are discussed. Details about the talented individuals studied, including descriptive data regarding their development of commitment to their sport, are presented. Consistent with research concerning other talent domains (Bloom, 1985), the findings show a progression from initial casual involvement to intense dedication.