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Alexander T. Latinjak, Marc Masó and Nikos Comoutos

Even though goal-directed self-talk is a key element in self-regulated learning, providing instruction and giving feedback during technical skill acquisition, few studies have explored the specific functions with which it might enhance learning and improve performance. Therefore, immediately after a training session, 32 novice Ultimate Frisbee players (M age = 22.88, SD = 9.71) were asked to report as many self-instructions as they remembered using before task execution, after unsuccessful throws, and after successful throws. A hierarchical content analysis indicated that players used mainly instructional self-talk in all situations. However, instructional self-talk was aimed at technical aspects before their throws; at negative reinforcement, error detection, and technical adjustment after unsuccessful throws; and at positive reinforcement and technical transference after successful throws. Other functions of self-talk were confidence-enhancement and goal-promotion. Overall, we discussed that goal-directed self-talk is a relevant self-regulated learning strategy employed by novice Ultimate Frisbee players when acquiring technical skills.

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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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Evangelos Galanis, Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis, Nikos Comoutos, Fedra Charachousi and Xavier Sanchez

This study explored the effectiveness of self-talk strategies on task performance under conditions of external distraction in laboratory and field experiments. In the laboratory experiment, 28 sport science students (M age 21.48±1.58 years) were tested on a computer game requiring attention and fine execution following a baseline assessment and a short self-talk training. In the field experiment, 28 female basketball players (M age 20.96±4.51 years) were tested on free-throwing, following a baseline assessment and a six-week intervention. In both settings the final assessment took place under conditions of external distraction (noncontinuous, sudden, loud noise). Analyses of covariance showed that participants of the self-talk group performed better than participants of the control group. Findings suggest that self-talk can counter the effects of distraction on performance, and indicate that the attentional effects of self-talk is a viable mechanism to explain the facilitating effects of self-talk on performance.

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Jón Gregersen, Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis, Evangelos Galanis, Nikos Comoutos and Athanasios Papaioannou

This study examined the effects of a self-talk intervention on selective attention in a state of ego depletion. Participants were 62 undergraduate students with a mean age of 20.02 years (SD = 1.17). The experiment was conducted in four consecutive sessions. Following baseline assessment, participants were randomly assigned into experimental and control groups. A two-session training was conducted for the two groups, with the experimental group using self-talk. In the final assessment, participants performed a selective attention test, including visual and auditory components, following a task inducing a state of ego depletion. The analysis showed that participants of the experimental group achieved a higher percentage of correct responses on the visual test and produced faster reaction times in both the visual and the auditory test compared with participants of the control group. The results of this study suggest that the use of self-talk can benefit selective attention for participants in states of ego depletion.