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Encouraging Togetherness During a National Lockdown: The Influence of Relationship-Oriented Personal-Disclosure Mutual-Sharing on Team Functioning in Academy Soccer Coaches

Harry K. Warburton and Matthew J. Slater

The present study examined the influence of an online relationship-oriented personal-disclosure mutual-sharing (ROPDMS) intervention upon diverse measures of group functioning during a national lockdown. Twelve soccer coaches and one senior member of staff from a professional female soccer academy participated by openly disclosing and sharing unknown personal stories with one another. Social identity dimensions (in-group ties, cognitive centrality, and in-group affect), friendship identity content, social support, self-esteem, and a nonequivalent dependent variable were measured across four time points, while social validation was obtained immediately and 4 weeks after ROPDMS. Quantitative data revealed significant increases for in-group ties, cognitive centrality, and friendship identity content after ROPDMS, while the nonequivalent dependent variable did not significantly change. Qualitative data revealed that the coaching staff felt the session was worthwhile and enhanced aspects of team functioning. Online ROPDMS therefore appears to be a viable team-building method for practitioners seeking to strengthen social identity dimensions and friendship identity content during a national lockdown.

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Using Personal-Disclosure Mutual-Sharing to Enhance Group Functioning in a Professional Soccer Academy

Andrew L. Evans, Matthew J. Slater, Martin J. Turner, and Jamie B. Barker

The present study examined the effects of personal-disclosure mutual-sharing (PDMS) on a diverse set of group factors in a previously unexplored context. During a single bout of PDMS, 14 soccer-academy athletes voluntarily disclosed unknown personal stories to fellow teammates. Social identity, friendships identity content, results identity content, and collective efficacy were measured at baseline, post-PDMS, follow-up, and maintenance phases. In addition, team performance over the competitive season was assessed via goal difference and goal discrepancy. Data indicated that a short-term significant increase in friendships identity content and a sustained improvement in team performance occurred after the PDMS session, and social identity, results identity content, and collective efficacy remained elevated across all intervention phases. Data suggest that PDMS fosters immediate increases in aspects of team functioning that may exert a positive influence upon team performance. Future research would benefit from ascertaining the exact mechanisms in which PDMS encourages changes in team outcomes observed within the current study.

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The Impact of Athlete Leaders on Team Members’ Team Outcome Confidence: A Test of Mediation by Team Identification and Collective Efficacy

Katrien Fransen, Norbert Vanbeselaere, Bert De Cuyper, Pete Coffee, Matthew J. Slater, and Filip Boen

Research on the effect of athlete leadership on precursors of team performance such as team confidence is sparse. To explore the underlying mechanisms of how athlete leaders impact their team’s confidence, an online survey was completed by 2,867 players and coaches from nine different team sports in Flanders (Belgium). We distinguished between two types of team confidence: collective efficacy, assessed by the CEQS subscales of effort, persistence, preparation, and unity; and team outcome confidence, measured by the ability subscale. The results demonstrated that the perceived quality of athlete leaders was positively related to participants’ team outcome confidence. The present findings are the first in sport settings to highlight the potential value of collective efficacy and team identification as underlying processes. Because high-quality leaders strengthen team members’ identification with the team, the current study also provides initial evidence for the applicability of the identity based leadership approach in sport settings.

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Who Thrives Under Pressure? Predicting the Performance of Elite Academy Cricketers Using the Cardiovascular Indicators of Challenge and Threat States

Martin J. Turner, Marc V. Jones, David Sheffield, Matthew J. Slater, Jamie B. Barker, and James J. Bell

This study assessed whether cardiovascular (CV) reactivity patterns indexing challenge and threat states predicted batting performance in elite male county (N = 12) and national (N = 30) academy cricketers. Participants completed a batting test under pressure, before which CV reactivity was recorded in response to ego-threatening audio instructions. Self-reported self-efficacy, control, achievement goals, and emotions were also assessed. Challenge CV reactivity predicted superior performance in the Batting Test, compared with threat CV reactivity. The relationships between self-report measures and CV reactivity, and self-report measures and performance were inconsistent. A small subsample of participants who exhibited threat CV reactivity, but performed well, reported greater self-efficacy than participants who exhibited threat CV reactivity, but performed poorly. Also a small subsample of participants who exhibited challenge reactivity, but performed poorly, had higher avoidance goals than participants with challenge reactivity who performed well. The mechanisms for the observed relationship between CV reactivity and performance are discussed alongside implications for future research and applied practice.

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Relationship Between Physical Therapy Characteristics, Surgical Procedure, and Clinical Outcomes in Patients After ACL Reconstruction

Ian J. Dempsey, Grant E. Norte, Matthew Hall, John Goetschius, Lindsay V. Slater, Jourdan M. Cancienne, Brian C. Werner, David R. Diduch, and Joseph M. Hart

Context: Postoperative rehabilitation is critical to optimize outcomes after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). However, the relationship between physical therapy (PT) and clinical outcomes is unclear. Objective: To describe PT characteristics following ACLR and to assess the relationships between PT characteristics, surgical procedure, and clinical outcomes. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Laboratory. Patients (or Other Participants): A total of 60 patients (31 females/29 males, age = 22.4 [9.2] y, height = 171.7 [9.9] cm, and mass = 70.2 [14.7] kg) with a history of primary unilateral ACLR (53.6% patellar tendon and 46.4% hamstring) participated. Intervention(s): Patients completed a performance assessment and rated subjective knee function prior to physician clearance (mean = 6.3 [1.3] mo postoperatively) and were contacted within 6 months of clearance to complete a PT questionnaire. Main Outcome Measures: PT questionnaire item response, knee extension maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) torque, peak isokinetic knee extension torque, single leg hop distance, and International Knee Documentation Committee were measured. Correlations assessed relationships between PT quantity and clinical outcomes. Independent t tests compared PT quantity and clinical outcomes based on return-to-sport status, readiness to return to sport, and surgical procedure. Results: Patients completed regular PT (2 d/wk, 25 wk, 58 visits) and were most likely to conclude when discharged by the therapist (68.3%). More than half (56.7%) returned to sport, yet most (73.3%) felt unready at discharge. Isokinetic torque was correlated with days of PT/week (r = .29, P = .03). Isokinetic torque and hop symmetry were reduced in patients who returned to sport (P < .05). Patients who felt ready to return completed fewer weeks of PT (P < .05). Patients with a patellar tendon graft completed more days of PT/week and total visits, but demonstrated lower MVIC torque, MVIC symmetry, and isokinetic symmetry (P < .05). Conclusions: Many patients felt unready to return to sport at PT discharge. PT frequency was associated with isokinetic torque, yet this relationship was small. Outcomes were reduced in patients who returned to sport, suggesting premature resumption of preinjury activity.