In this paper we discuss some of the factors sport psychologists should consider before administering questionnaires or other formal assessment instruments to athletes. To be used effectively, assessment instruments need to be (a) reliable and valid for the individual athlete or sport group in question, (b) seen as useful by the athlete(s) completing the instrument, and be (c) completed honestly by the athlete(s). Additional objectives sport psychologists should strive to achieve include a clear identification of the purpose of the assessment instrument, the commitment of athlete and coach to the assessment process, and the maintenance of a clear channel of communication with coaches and athletes throughout the period of psychological assessment, training, feedback, evaluation, and adjustment.
Jürgen Beckmann and Michael Kellmann
Peter Gröpel and Jürgen Beckmann
Researchers suggests that a pre-performance routine (PPR) can improve performance in competitions. The effectiveness of left-hand contractions, a PPR to trigger facilitative cortical processes for skilled motor performance, was tested in two studies. In Study 1, gymnasts competing at the German university championships in artistic gymnastics performed their routines with or without the PPR. In Study 2, gymnasts performed the balance beam exercise either using the PPR or the control task (right-hand contractions) under simulated competition pressure. The qualification performance (Study 1) and the pressure-free performance (Study 2) were controlled. In both studies, participants in the PPR group performed better than control participants. The results indicate that left-hand contractions may be a useful PPR in the field.
Peter Gröpel, Christopher Mesagno, and Jürgen Beckmann
Evidence shows that using a preshot routine (PSR) improves performance in self-paced, closed-skill tasks. A PSR is a set of cognitive and behavioral elements an athlete systematically engages in prior to performance execution. The present study describes the implementation and evaluation of a PSR intervention with elite pistol shooters in the 10-m air-pistol discipline. Individualized PSRs were developed with the shooters in individual psychological sessions, and the PSRs were then practiced in subsequent training sessions. Intervention effectiveness was evaluated by analyzing the shooters’ competition performance. Overall, the shooters improved on average by 2.5 points from before to after the intervention. This improvement was unlikely due to seasonal effect, as the league average (scores of league shooters not included in the intervention sample) remained stable during the study time. These results indicate that using a PSR before a shooting series has benefits for subsequent shooting performance.
Raphael Frank, Insa Nixdorf, and Jürgen Beckmann
Findings on burnout and depression in athletes highlight their potential severity. Although both constructs are discussed in similar, stress-based concepts, it is unclear how they relate to each other. To address this issue, we conducted a crosssectional multiple linear regression analysis (MLR; N = 194) and a longitudinal analysis of a three-wave cross-lagged panel (CLP; n = 92) in German junior elite athletes. MLR showed that depression and burnout were both associated with chronic stress. Stress was a significant better predictor for both burnout and depression than each was for the other. CLP analysis on the constructs of burnout and depression revealed support for cross-paths in both directions. Thus, burnout and depression might cause each other to some degree, with no distinct direction of this link. However, as both syndromes do not fully explain each other, interchanging both terms and syndromes should be avoided. Preferably, future research might consider the transfer of knowledge between both syndromes to draw founded conclusions.
Jahan Heidari, Jürgen Beckmann, Maurizio Bertollo, Michel Brink, K. Wolfgang Kallus, Claudio Robazza, and Michael Kellmann
Monitoring recovery in the context of athletic performance has gained significant importance during recent years. As a systematic process of data collection and evaluation, the monitoring of recovery can be implemented for various purposes. It may help prevent negative outcomes of training or competition, such as underrecovery, overtraining, or injuries. Furthermore, it aims to establish routines and strategies necessary to guarantee athletes’ readiness for performance by restoring their depleted resources. Comprehensive monitoring of recovery ideally encompasses a multidimensional approach, thereby considering biological, psychological, and social monitoring methods. From a biological perspective, physiological (eg, cardiac parameters), biochemical (eg, creatine kinase), hormonal (eg, salivary cortisol), and immunological (eg, immunoglobulin A) markers can be taken into account to operationalize training loads and recovery needs. Psychological approaches suggest the application of validated and reliable psychometric questionnaires (eg, Recovery–Stress Questionnaire for Athletes) to measure a subjective perception of recovery, as well as the subjective degree of training- or competition-induced fatigue. Social aspects also play a role in performance monitoring and may hence provide essential performance-related information. The implementation of a monitoring routine in athletic environments represents a continuous process that functions as an effective addition to training and depends on a range of conditions (eg, organizational regulations, commitment of athletes). Current research in the field of monitoring aims to establish individualized monitoring regimens that refer to intraindividual reference values with the help of innovative technological devices.
Christopher Maechel, Todd M. Loughead, V. Vanessa Wergin, Tom Kossak, and Jürgen Beckmann
Shared leadership is an emergent team phenomenon, emphasizing that it originates from the interaction of all team members. However, previous athlete leadership studies have focused on the individual level, omitting the role of team member interaction. In order to develop shared athlete leadership as an emergent team phenomenon, we utilized a solution-focused brief therapy paradigm, which uses coconstruction to engender change for social systems (e.g., sport teams). Sixty athletes from six sport teams (three in the experimental condition and three in the control condition) participated in a mixed-methods experimental design consisting of parallel quantitative and qualitative data collection along with a combined interpretation of these data. The quantitative results support a difference in development of shared leadership between groups, while the qualitative analysis resulted in four themes that indicate changes in interactional patterns and relational structures within the teams.
Michael Kellmann, Maurizio Bertollo, Laurent Bosquet, Michel Brink, Aaron J. Coutts, Rob Duffield, Daniel Erlacher, Shona L. Halson, Anne Hecksteden, Jahan Heidari, K. Wolfgang Kallus, Romain Meeusen, Iñigo Mujika, Claudio Robazza, Sabrina Skorski, Ranel Venter, and Jürgen Beckmann
The relationship between recovery and fatigue and its impact on performance has attracted the interest of sport science for many years. An adequate balance between stress (training and competition load, other life demands) and recovery is essential for athletes to achieve continuous high-level performance. Research has focused on the examination of physiological and psychological recovery strategies to compensate external and internal training and competition loads. A systematic monitoring of recovery and the subsequent implementation of recovery routines aims at maximizing performance and preventing negative developments such as underrecovery, nonfunctional overreaching, the overtraining syndrome, injuries, or illnesses. Due to the inter- and intraindividual variability of responses to training, competition, and recovery strategies, a diverse set of expertise is required to address the multifaceted phenomena of recovery, performance, and their interactions to transfer knowledge from sport science to sport practice. For this purpose, a symposium on Recovery and Performance was organized at the Technical University Munich Science and Study Center Raitenhaslach (Germany) in September 2016. Various international experts from many disciplines and research areas gathered to discuss and share their knowledge of recovery for performance enhancement in a variety of settings. The results of this meeting are outlined in this consensus statement that provides central definitions, theoretical frameworks, and practical implications as a synopsis of the current knowledge of recovery and performance. While our understanding of the complex relationship between recovery and performance has significantly increased through research, some important issues for future investigations are also elaborated.