In this experiment, differences in the temporal organization of routines in artistic gymnastics executed under mental and physical conditions were examined. Twelve elite female gymnasts performed their floor routines mentally, then performed the same routines physically. On each of three days, the performance was filmed, and the durations of the mental and actual routines were timed. The results showed that mental movement times were shorter than physical routine times. It was concluded that the speed of visualization depends on the situation in which the gymnasts visualize as well as on the function that the athlete attributes to the use of imagery. We observed a trend when comparing the different stages of the relative duration of mental and actual routines. If confirmed, we hypothesized that the lengthening of the relative duration of certain stages under mental conditions could be linked to the perceived difficulty of the gymnastics elements.
Claire Calmels and Jean F. Fournier
Marjorie Bernier, Emilie Thienot, Emilie Pelosse, and Jean F. Fournier
This article examines the effects and underlying processes of a mindfulness-based intervention through two case studies. A one-season intervention designed according to the mindfulness approach was implemented with young elite figure skaters. Case studies were complemented with different measurement methods: a questionnaire assessing mindfulness skills, percent improvement on competition scores compared with a control group, and interviews with skaters and coaches during the intervention. The two case studies presented demonstrate how the young skaters developed their mindfulness skills and how these skills benefited their performance. They also show the limitations of this intervention type in young populations. Performance improvement and processes underlying the intervention are discussed in light of the results, and new perspectives are provided for adapting them to the particular needs of young athletes.
Fabienne d’Arripe-Longueville, Jean F. Fournier, and Alice Dubois
Coaches’ and athletes’ perceptions regarding their effective interactions and the underlying factors and reasons for effectiveness of these interactions were examined. An in-depth interview process was conducted with three expert judo coaches and six elite athletes. Qualitative data analyses revealed that the interaction style of the coaches was authoritative and was put into operation using the following six strategies: stimulating interpersonal rivalry, provoking athletes verbally, displaying indifference, entering into direct conflict, developing specific team cohesion, and showing preferences. Perceived autonomy, the main interaction style of athletes, was expressed by the following five strategies: showing diplomacy, achieving exceptional performance, soliciting coaches directly, diversifying information sources, and bypassing conventional rules. Results demonstrated the compatibility of particular interactions between coaches’ and athletes’ strategies. Theoretical models from industrial/organizational psychology are used to interpret these results, which differ from conventional findings in the sport psychology literature.
Marjorie Bernier, Emilie Thienot, Romain Codron, and Jean F. Fournier
The two studies included herein discuss mindfulness and acceptance in sport performance. Based on exploratory interviews with elite swimmers, Study 1 showed that optimal performance, or “flow,” states reveal similar characteristics to mindfulness and acceptance states. In flow experiences, the elite swimmers described that they had been particularly mindful of their bodily sensations and accepted them. In Study 2, mindfulness and acceptance were integrated into a psychological skills training program for seven young elite golfers. The program, based on mindfulness and acceptance, contributed to performance enhancement in competition. Participants improved the efficacy of their routines by seeking more relevant internal and external information. The results of both studies corroborated those of previous studies dealing with mindfulness and acceptance in sport. Together, these studies enhance the applicability and efficacy of these approaches with athletic clientele.
Pierre H. Beauchamp, Wayne R. Halliwell, Jean F. Fournier, and Richard Koestner
This study examined the effects of a 14-week cognitive-behavioral teaching program on the motivation, preparation, and putting performance of novice golfers. A cognitive-behavioral program was adapted from Boutcher and Rotella (1987) and was compared with a physical skills training group and a control group. The Sport Motivation Scale (Pelletier, Fortier, Vallerand, Tusón, Briére, & Blais, 1995) was used to measure intrinsic versus introjected forms of selfregulation. Preputt routines and actual putting performance were measured by observer ratings. Participants completed all dependent measures prior to training and at 3 additional times spaced over 4-week intervals. The results showed that participants in the cognitive-behavioral program displayed enhanced intrinsic motivation, more consistent use of preputt routines, and improved putting performance relative to participants in the other 2 groups. Cognitive-behavioral participants also showed a significantly reduced use of introjection, which reflects a harsh, self-evaluative form of self-regulation similar to ego involvement. The results support the conclusion drawn by Whelan, Myers, Berman, Bryant, and Mellon (1988) that cognitive-behavioral approaches are effective for performance enhancement; they also suggest that such approaches can produce positive motivational effects.