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Perceptions of Mental Training Needs by Elite Field Hockey Players and Their Coaches

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.

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Optimism and Sport Confidence as Correlates of Slump-Related Coping among Athletes

J. Robert Grove and N. Paul Heard

Sport performers (N = 213) completed either a questionnaire measure of dispositional optimism or a questionnaire measure of trait sport confidence and then provided information about how they cope with performance slumps. The use of task-focused, emotion-focused, and avoidance-oriented coping strategies was assessed with a slump-referenced version of the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS; Endler & Parker, 1990a). Results indicated that both personality measures were positively related to the use of problem-focused strategies and negatively related to the use of emotion-focused strategies. These findings are discussed in relation to previous research on confidence in sport and a model of sport-related coping proposed by Hardy, Jones, and Gould (1996). Practical implications for the effective management of performance slumps are also addressed.

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The Method: A Golf Success Strategy

J. Robert Grove and Harry Prapavessis

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Precompetitive Emotions and Shooting Performance: The Mental Health and Zone of Optimal Function Models

Harry Prapavessis and J. Robert Grove

This study tested the utility of Morgan’s (1980) Mental Health Model and Hanin’s (1980) Zone of Optimal Function Model in an ecologically valid environment. A sample of 12 high-performance adult clay-target shooters were tested over an entire competitive season. Precompetitive mood states were assessed using Schacham’s (1983) short version of the Profile of Mood States (POMS; McNair, Lorr, & Droppleman, 1971). Results revealed partial support for Hanin’s model but no support for Morgan’s model. Discussion focuses on the importance of multiple assessments of precompetitive emotions, recognition of individual differences, and selection of a precise measure of sport performance.

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Attributions and Performance during Competition

J. Robert Grove and David Pargman

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Teamwork: What Must Go Right/What Can Go Wrong

J. Robert Grove and Michelle Paccagnella

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Sport Psychologist’s Digest

J. Robert Grove, Anne Haase, and Andrew Sheperdson

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Hypnotic Susceptibility and the Attainment of Flowlike States during Exercise

J. Robert Grove and Michael A.E. Lewis

Hypnotic susceptibility and prior experience were investigated as correlates of flowlike states during exercise. Heart rate was also examined as a potential correlate of flow. Circuit trainers (N = 96) completed a 10-item flow questionnaire and recorded their heart rates as they moved between exercise stations. Results indicated that self-reports of flowlike states increased from early to late in the exercise sessions, but that the magnitude of change was greater for participants high in hypnotic susceptibility than for those low in hypnotic susceptibility. Prior experience was also significantly related to flow ratings, with participants having more than 6 months of prior experience providing higher ratings than those with less than 6 months of prior experience. No significant relationship was observed between exercise heart rate and self-reports of flow. The findings are discussed in relation to the model of flow proposed by Kimiecik and Stein (1992).

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Age-Related Differences in Throwing Techniques Used by the Catcher in Baseball

Shinji Sakurai, Bruce Elliott, and J. Robert Grove

Three-dimensional (3-D) high speed photography was used to record the overarm throwing actions of five open-age, four 18-year-old, six 16-year- old, and six 14-year-old high-performance baseball catchers. The direct linear transformation method was used for 3-D space reconstruction from 2-D images of the catchers throwing from home plate to second base recorded using two phase-locked cameras operating at a nominal rate of 200 Hz. Selected physical capacity measures were also recorded and correlated with ball release speed. In general, anthropometric and strength measures significantly increased through the 14-year-old to open-age classifications, while a range of correlation coefficients from .50 to .84 was recorded between these physical capacities and ball speed at release. While many aspects of the kinematic data at release were similar, the key factors of release angle and release speed varied for the different age groups.

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Timing of the Lower Limb Drive and Throwing Limb Movement in Baseball Pitching

Bruce Elliott, J. Robert Grove, and Barry Gibson

Eight international baseball pitchers were filmed in a laboratory while throwing from a pitching rubber attached to a Kistler force platform. Following a warm-up, all subjects threw fastballs (FB) until two strike pitches were assessed by an umpire positioned behind the catcher for both wind-up and set pitching techniques. Subjects then followed the same procedures for curveball pitches (CB). Both vertical (Z) and horizontal (Y) ground reaction force (GRF) data were recorded. A shutter correlation pulse was encoded so the temporal data from the film could be synchronized with the kinetic data from the force platform. Analysis of variance was used to analyze differences in force data at selected points in both pitching actions for both techniques. Vertical and horizontal GRFs increased from the first balance position to maximum levels at the cocked position for both techniques. Nonsignificant changes in GRF then occurred between the cocked position and front-foot landing. The Z GRFs were similar throughout the pitching action but higher in magnitude for the CB compared to the FB. Mean resultant forces were similar for the three fastest FB pitchers when compared to the three slowest pitchers. However, the slower group produced their peak resultant force earlier in the action, thus reducing the ability to drive over a stabilized front leg.