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James Hardy, Ross Roberts and Lew Hardy

This study examined the effectiveness of a logbook and paperclip technique on awareness of the use and content of negative self-talk as well as the motivation to change negative self-talk. Participants (n = 73) completed a questionnaire measuring these variables, and were assigned to either a control, paperclip or logbook group. Participants performed three typical training sessions over a three-week period. The logbook group completed a self-talk logbook after each session whereas the paperclip group carried out a paperclip exercise during each session. Upon completion of the training sessions, the questionnaire was readministered. ANCOVAs revealed no significant differences between the groups for motivation to change and awareness of the content of negative self-talk. However, the logbook group had significantly greater awareness of their use of negative self-talk compared with the control group. A qualitative analysis of the logbook group’s use of negative self-talk provided insights into the situations that prompted negative self-talk, the content of the self-talk, and also the consequences of using negative self-talk. Collectively, the findings offer some support for the use of the logbook technique in the applied setting.

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James Hardy, Kimberley Gammage and Craig Hall

In this descriptive study, the four Ws (i.e., where, when, what, and why) of the use of self-talk were examined. Varsity athletes (78 male, 72 female), with a mean age of 20.68 years (SD = 1.90) read a self-statement oriented definition of self-talk and then answered the four questions in an open-ended format. Athletes reported using self-talk most frequently while partaking in their sports (when), at sport related venues (where). The “what” or content of self-talk use was categorized into five themes: nature, structure, person, task instructions, and miscellaneous. With regard to why athletes use self-talk, two main themes emerged from the data: cognitive and motivational. It was possible to further classify the two themes into seemingly specific and general levels, similar to Paivio’s (1985) classification of athletes’ use of mental imagery. Results for the present study provide descriptive data for the development of a conceptual frame work for the use of self-talk.

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Eduardo Bellomo, Andrew Cooke and James Hardy

This study was designed to test the theorized link between reinvestment, motor chunks, and conscious processing, to provide a thorough examination of reinvestment theory. The authors measured electroencephalographic power and connectivity alongside self-reported conscious processing and behavioral indices of chunking in a 2 (group) × 5 (block) mixed-model design. A total of 55 individuals acquired a motor sequence (blocks A1, A2, A3, and A4) by relatively explicit (errorful) or implicit (errorless) paradigms. Then they performed in a pressure condition (block T). Results confirmed that chunking characterizes both modes of acquisition. However, explicit acquisition resulted in quicker chunking, reduced conscious processing, and increased cortical efficiency (left-temporal high-alpha power). In support of reinvestment theory, self-reported conscious processing tended to increase under pressure among explicit trainees only. In contrast to reinvestment theory, this had no adverse effect on performance. The results endorse explicit acquisition as an effective mode of training and provide a new neurophysiological explanation of this phenomenon.

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James Hardy, Nikos Comoutos and Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis

Over the last 20 years research investigating self-talk in the context of sport has expanded rapidly enhancing our understanding of the construct. In the present article, we provide a brief historical review of the sports-oriented self-talk literature. In so doing we identify landmark investigations and review conceptual, research, and measurement themes present within the literature. We review this empirically based literature, distinguishing between three time periods: (1) the early foundations of self-talk research, up to the end of the 1990s; (2) the developmental years of systematic self-talk research during the 2000s; and (3) the modern day maturation of self-talk research, post-2011.

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David Tod, James Hardy and Emily Oliver

This article presents a systematic review of the literature examining the relationship between self-talk and performance. “Second-generation questions” regarding potential mediators and moderators of the self-talk–performance relationship were also examined. A total of 47 studies were analyzed. Results indicated beneficial effects of positive, instructional, and motivational self-talk for performance. Somewhat surprisingly, two evidence-based challenges to popular current viewpoints on self-talk emerged. First, negative self-talk did not impede performance. Second, there was inconsistent evidence for the differential effects of instructional and motivational self-talk based on task characteristics. Results from the mediation-based analysis indicate that cognitive and behavioral factors had the most consistent relationships with self-talk. The findings are discussed in the context of recent theoretical advances, and the article includes recommendations for future research (e.g., the use of designs allowing the testing of meditational hypotheses) and for current applied practice (e.g., avoiding the use of thought-stopping techniques).

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Craig R. Hall, James Hardy and Kimberley L. Gammage

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Lorcan Donal Cronin, Calum Alexander Arthur, James Hardy and Nichola Callow

In this cross-sectional study, we examined a mediational model whereby transformational leadership is related to task cohesion via sacrifice. Participants were 381 American (M age = 19.87 years, SD = 1.41) Division I university athletes (188 males, 193 females) who competed in a variety of sports. Participants completed measures of coach transformational leadership, personal and teammate inside sacrifice, and task cohesion. After conducting multilevel mediation analysis, we found that both personal and teammate inside sacrifice significantly mediated the relationships between transformational leadership behaviors and task cohesion. However, there were differential patterns of these relationships for male and female athletes. Interpretation of the results highlights that coaches should endeavor to display transformational leadership behaviors as they are related to personal and teammate inside sacrifices and task cohesion.

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Behrouz Abdoli, James Hardy, Javad F. Riyahi and Alireza Farsi

Empirical literature addressing the effectiveness of self-talk for expert performers is lacking. We addressed this shortcoming within the existent literature and examined the comparative effects of instructional and motivational self-talk on basketball free throw shooting accuracy and salient movement kinematics. We recruited 20 professional basketball players to participate in a 2 × 2 pre/post-test experiment. Free throw accuracy and movement patterns were recorded, with the latter subsequently used to calculate elbow–wrist coordination variability. Results indicated superior shooting accuracy and reduced movement coordination variability for instructional self-talk compared to baseline conditions, whereas no differences emerged for motivational self-talk. Findings from the study help practitioners to better guide skilled performers how best to use self-talk; an area in urgent need of further research.

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Mark A. Eys, James Hardy, Albert V. Carron and Mark R. Beauchamp

The general purpose of the present study was to determine if perceptions of team cohesion are related to the interpretation athletes attach to their precompetition anxiety. Specifically examined was the association between athlete perceptions of task cohesiveness (Individual Attractions to the Group– Task, ATG-T, and Group Integration–Task, GI-T) and the degree to which perceptions of the intensity of precompetition anxiety symptoms (cognitive and somatic) were viewed as facilitative versus debilitative. Participants were athletes (N = 392) from the sports of soccer, rugby, and field hockey. Each athlete completed the Group Environment Questionnaire (Carron, Widmeyer, & Brawley, 1985) after a practice session. A directionally modified version of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (Martens, Burton, Vealey, Bump, & Smith, 1990) was completed just prior to a competition. Results showed that athletes who perceived their cognitive anxiety as facilitative had higher perceptions of both ATG-T and GI-T, χ2 (2, N = 260) = 8.96, p < .05, than athletes who perceived their cognitive anxiety as debilitative. Also, athletes who perceived their somatic anxiety as facilitative had higher perceptions of GI-T, χ2 (2, N = 249) = 5.85, p < .05.

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Kevin L. Burke, Vicki Ebbeck, J. Robert Grove, Howard K. Hall, Vikki Krane, Jim Taylor, Mark A. Thompson and James P. Whelan

Edited by Charles J. Hardy