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John M. Silva III

The application and professionalization of sport psychology has attracted increased attention from various sources including colleagues in the field, sport science and psychology departments, collegiate, Olympic, and professional sport organizations, and the media. Unfortunately, the attention generated has not resulted in significant organizational progress on issues crucial to the integrity of a developing specialization such as sport psychology. These crucial professional issues include the orderly growth of the field, requirements for the establishment of a recognized profession in sport psychology, the training of future sport psychologists, and the process and procedures required to develop and implement the certification of sport psychologists. The present paper was written to address these critical issues, identify progressive steps currently being taken, and recommend subsequent actions that can advance the field toward the professionalization of sport psychology without compromising the integrity of the academic subdiscipline.

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John M. Silva III

Some sport scientists have suggested that various rule violating behaviors (including aggressive player behavior) are normative behaviors perceived to be “legitimate violations” by participants (e.g., Silva, 1981; Vaz, 1979). In an attempt to determine if sport socialization influences the degree of perceived legitimacy of rule violating sport behavior, 203 male and female athletes and nonathletes were shown a series of eight slides. Seven of these slides clearly depicted rule violating behavior. The subjects rated the unacceptability-acceptability of the behavior shown on each slide on a scale of 1 to 4 (totally unacceptable-totally acceptable). Subjects were categorized according to: (a) gender, (b) amount of physical contact, (c) highest level of organized sport participation, and (d) years of participation. Regression and polynomial regressions indicated that male respondents rated rule violating behavior significantly more acceptable than females. Trend analyses on the other categorical variables indicated support for an in-sport socialization process that legitimizes rule violating behavior. This perceived legitimacy was considerably more pronounced for males than for females at all levels of analysis.

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John M. Silva III

The data presented in this study indicate that self-reported concentration levels of volunteer undergraduate students (N = 122) are affected by the type of behavior exhibited by a performer (i.e., hostile aggression or proactive assertion) and by the nature of the social environmental setting (i.e., sport or nonsport competition). Also demonstrated was a relationship between self-report levels of concentration and subject performance in both a nonsport and sport setting. Concentration was negatively affected by aroused, angry behavior and by a social environmental setting of considerable complexity and stress. Subject performance was superior in situations where concentration levels were elevated. The results suggest that concentration is an influential factor in skilled performance and is sensitive to variations in overt behavior and social environmental settings. Future research should focus on additional factors that tend to disrupt the state of concentration as well as factors that may enhance it.

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John M. Silva III, Charles J. Hardy, and R. Kelly Crace