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Game, Set, Match: Psychological Momentum in Tennis

Peggy A. Richardson, William Adler, and Douglas Hankes

This study was designed to determine if winning a specific game in a tennis match would predict success in the match and if psychological momentum was influenced by ability levels or gender of the players. Subjects were 119 male and female players competing in 163 matches in three sanctioned tennis tournaments. Game-by-game and set results were recorded. Furthermore, interviews were conducted to ascertain players’ perceptions of momentum. Results revealed that winning any of the first eight games in the first and/or second set was a significant predictor of success in the tennis match. However, when only the results of more competitive matches (when sets extended to nine or more games) were examined, Games 8, 10, and 11 in the first set were significant predictors of winning the match, while only Game 4 of the second set resulted in an increased probability of match victory. No gender or ability differences were found. Based on these findings, it is suggested that investigators be cautious in inferring psychological momentum since these findings were dependent on the equity of competitors within a match, and psychological momentum seems to be a highly individual matter.

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Role Models, Perceived Sport Encouragement, and Sport Expectancies of United States Adolescent Athletes and Their Parents

Scott B. Martin, Peggy A. Richardson, Karen H. Weiller, and Allen W. Jackson

During the past decade females have had more opportunities to participate in sports at various levels than ever before. These opportunities and the recognition received due to their success may have changed peoples’ views regarding same-sex role models, perceived parental encouragement, and expectations of success. Thus, the purpose of the study was to explore role models, perceived encouragement to participate in youth sport from parents, and sport expectations of adolescent athletes and their parents living in the United States of America. A questionnaire was administered to 426 adolescent athletes who competed in youth sport leagues and to one parent within each family unit (n=426). Chi square analysis indicated significant relationships between athletes’ gender and the gender of their role model and between parents’ gender and the gender of their role model (p = .0001). DM MANOVA revealed a significant multivariate difference for adolescent athletes and their parents on the questions concerning expectations for future athletic success. Post hoc analyses indicated that the athletes were more likely than their parents to believe that they could play at the college, Olympic, or professional levels. In addition, boys were more likely than girls to believe that they could play at the college, Olympic, and professional levels.