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Richard C. Thelwell and Iain A. Greenlees

The present study examined the effects of a mental skills training package on competitive gymnasium triathlon performance and evaluated the utilization and impacts of the mental skills during performance. Four participants competed against each other on ten occasions in a single-subject multiple baseline across individuals design, which was used to evaluate an intervention package including goal setting, relaxation, imagery, and self-talk. The results indicated the mental skills package to be effective in enhancing all participants’ competitive triathlon performance and usage of mental skills from baseline to intervention phases. Qualitative data revealed that each of the mental skills were employed both prior to and during each triathlon and had varying impacts depending on when they were utilized. Issues regarding mental skill effectiveness and usage within competitive endurance performance are discussed.

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Jamie Barker, Marc Jones and Iain Greenlees

This study evaluated the effects of hypnosis on self-efficacy and soccer performance. Fifty-nine collegiate soccer players were randomly allocated to either a hypnosis (n = 30) or video attention-control group (n = 29). A pretest–posttest design with an additional 4-week follow-up was used. Self-efficacy was measured via a task-specific questionnaire comprising 10 items relating to good performance on a soccer wall-volley task. The hypnotic intervention comprised three sessions using ego-strengthening suggestions. The control group watched edited videos of professional soccer games. Results indicated that, following the intervention, the hypnosis group were more efficacious and performed better than the control group. These differences were also seen at the 4-week follow-up stage. Although changes in self-efficacy were associated with changes in performance, the effect of hypnosis on performance was not mediated by changes in self-efficacy. The study demonstrates that hypnosis can be used to enhance and maintain self-efficacy and soccer wall-volley performance.

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Richard C. Thelwell and Iain A. Greenlees

The present study examined the effects of a mental skills training package on gymnasium triathlon performance. Five participants took part in a single-subject multiple baseline across individuals design, which was used to evaluate an intervention package including goal setting, relaxation, imagery, and selftalk. The results of the study indicated the mental skills package to be effective in enhancing triathlon performance for all five participants. Additionally, all participants increased their usage of mental skills from baseline to intervention phases. Follow-up social validation checks indicated all participants to have perceived the intervention to be successful and enjoyable, and all were satisfied with delivery and content of the package. In conclusion, the findings provide further evidence to suggest mental skills training packages to be effective for endurance performance.

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Iain A. Greenlees, Ben Hall, Andrew Manley and Richard C. Thelwell

Nelson (2002) proposed that ageism occurs as a result of the negative perceptions individuals have of older adults. This study examined whether information about an older person’s exercise habits would influence such perceptions. Participants (N = 1,230) from 3 age categories (16–25, 26–55, and 56+ yr) read a description of a 65-year-old man or woman describing 1 of 7 exercise statuses. Participants rated their perceptions of 13 aspects of the target’s personality. A 3-way (Target Exercise Status × Target Gender × Participant Age) MANOVA revealed significant main effects for target exercise status. Nonexercisers were perceived less positively than the control target and the exercising targets. The results suggest that there are self-presentational costs associated with being a nonexerciser at an older age, but few self-presentation benefits accrued to older adults who engage in regular exercise.

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Iain Greenlees, Hayley Webb, Ben Hall and Andrew Manley

This study examined whether information about an older person’s exercise habits influences the impressions formed of them by others. British participants (N = 360) from three age categories (16-25 years old, 26-55 years old, and 56+ years old) were asked to read a description of a 65-year-old man or woman described as either an exerciser, a nonexerciser, or a person with no exercise status information. Participants rated the target on 13 personality and 10 physical appearance dimensions. MANOVAs revealed significant main effects for target exercise status and participant age. Exercisers received more favorable ratings than either the nonexercisers or the controls on the majority (15/23) of the personality and physical appearance dimensions (p < 0.05). Participants aged over 56 tended to rate targets more favorably than the other two age categories but only on the physical appearance ratings. The results suggest that there are self-presentational benefits associated with being an exerciser at an older age.

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Jamie B. Barker, Marc V. Jones and Iain Greenlees

High levels of self-efficacy have been documented to be associated with optimal levels of sport performance. One technique, which has the potential to foster increased self-efficacy, is hypnosis. Hypnosis is based upon the power of suggestion and, while often shrouded in myth and controversy, has been used in a number of domains including medicine, dentistry, and psychotherapy. In contrast, sport psychology is one domain where the use of hypnosis has yet to be fully explored. The aim of this review is to add to the extant literature and delineate how hypnosis potentially can enhance self-efficacy. By drawing on neodissociation and nonstate theories of hypnosis, a combined theoretical basis is established to explain how hypnosis may be used to influence sport performers’ sources of self-efficacy information. Furthermore, the review examines these theoretical postulations by presenting contemporary research evidence exploring the effects of hypnosis on sport performers’ self-efficacy. The review concludes with future research directions and suggestions for sport psychologists considering the use of hypnosis within their practice.

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Andrew J. Manley, Iain Greenlees, Jan Graydon, Richard Thelwell, William C.D. Filby and Matthew J. Smith

The study aimed to identify the sources of information that athletes perceive as influential during their initial evaluation of coaching ability. University athletes (N = 538) were asked to indicate the influence of 31 informational cues (e.g., gender, body language or gestures, reputation) on the initial impression formed of a coach. Following exploratory factor analysis, a 3-factor model (i.e., static cues, dynamic cues, and third-party reports) was extracted. Mean scores revealed that although static cues (e.g., gender, race or ethnicity) were rated as relatively unimportant during impression formation, dynamic cues (e.g., facial expressions, body language or gestures) and third-party reports (e.g., coaching qualifications, reputation) were viewed by athletes as influential factors in the formation of expectancies about coaches. Such findings have implications for the occurrence of expectancy effects in coach-athlete relationships and the way in which coaches seek to present themselves.

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Richard C. Thelwell, Neil J.V. Weston, Iain A. Greenlees and Nicholas V. Hutchings

The current study examined whether, where, when, and for what purposes coaches use psychological skills. A total of 13 elite-level coaches completed a structured interview using open-ended questions to examine their use of self-talk, imagery, relaxation, and goal-setting skills. Data were analyzed via deductive content analysis and indicated self-talk and imagery to be cited more frequently than relaxation and goal setting throughout the interviews. In addition, some purposes for using each skill were specific to training or competition across each time frame (before, during, and after), whereas there were several purposes consistent across each environment. Although the findings suggest that coaches employ psychological skills, it is imperative that they become aware of what skills they require and what skills they possess if they are to maximize their use across their wide-ranging coaching roles.

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Iain Greenlees, Richard Buscombe, Richard Thelwell, Tim Holder and Matthew Rimmer

The aim of this study was to examine the impact of a tennis player’s body language and clothing (general vs. sport-specific) on the impressions observers form of them. Forty male tennis players viewed videos of a target tennis player warming up. Each participant viewed the target player displaying one of four combinations of body language and clothing (positive body language/tennis-specific clothing; positive body language/general sportswear; negative body language/tennis-specific clothing; negative body language/general sportswear). After viewing the target player, participants rated their impressions of the model’s episodic states and dispositions and gave their perceptions of the likely outcome of a tennis match with the target player. Analyses of variance revealed that positive body language led to favorable episodic impressions and low outcome expectations. Analysis also indicated that clothing and body language had an interactive effect on dispositional judgments. The study supports the contention that nonverbal communication can influence sporting interactions.