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Video Games, Competition and Exercise: A New Opportunity for Sport Psychologists?

Shane Murphy

The increasing influence of technology on sports and games is examined and the widespread popularity of video and computer games is identified as an opportunity for sport and exercise psychologists. Modern video and computer games can involve considerable physical activity and social competition and are thus a suitable subject for the application of sport psychology theories and intervention methods. A brief overview of some of the existing research from other fields on video and serious interactive games is presented. The advantages of studying competition, cooperation and exercise in video game play include application of existing theories to new areas, methodological research advantages, and new applied opportunities for practitioners. Sport and exercise psychologists are encouraged to research the long-term viability of studying important sport and exercise psychology topics such as aggression, teamwork and psychological skills using video game and related technologies.

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Visualization: What You See Is What You Get

Shane M. Murphy

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The On-Site Provision of Sport Psychology Services at the 1987 U.S. Olympic Festival

Shane M. Murphy

The U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sports Medicine Council decided in 1987, for the first time, to assign a sport psychologist to the medical team of the 1987 U.S. Olympic Festival. This article describes the outcome of providing sport psychology services at the Festival. A brief history is given of the relationship between sport psychology and the U.S. Olympic movement, and the current status of sport psychologists within the Olympic movement is described. An analysis is provided of the types of services requested at the Festival, the referral sources, the major sports served, and several illustrative case examples describing athletes. Two models influenced the delivery of sport psychology services at the Olympic Festival, the medical model and the consultation model, and the advantages and disadvantages of each are discussed. Based upon the Olympic Festival experience, a consultation model may be appropriate for sport psychologists working in such a setting. The paper concludes with some suggestions regarding the training of students in the theory of effective consultation, drawing upon the knowledge base of industrial-organizational and medical psychology.

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Provision of Sport Psychology Services to the U.S. Team at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games

Shane M. Murphy and Alfred P. Ferrante

A description is given of the sport psychology services provided to the U.S. Team at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. The service delivery model is described and several examples illustrate the nature of the consultations provided to coaches and athletes. Some 72 formal consultations were held with 40 individuals and teams, and an analysis is given of the types of services requested and the clients who were served.

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An Examination of U.S. Olympic Sport Psychology Consultants and the Services They Provide

Daniel Gould, Shane Murphy, Vance Tammen, and Jerry May

The present study was designed to identify (a) the backgrounds of U.S. Olympic sport psychology consultants, (b) the services they provide, (c) their own evaluation of those services, and (d) the problems they encounter as well as their recommendations for improving programs. Forty-four of 47 sport psychology consultants who were identified as working with sports affiliated with the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1984 to 1988 completed extensive surveys. Results revealed that the consultants represented 20 sports and were well trained in sport psychology. They were most frequently involved in individual athlete consultations, athlete group seminars, and individual coach consultations. Intervention techniques used most often included goal setting, relaxation training, arousal regulation, imagery-visualization, and self-talk. The consultants also indicated that the most frequently experienced problems were lack of program funding, poor scheduling and logistics, poor interaction with coaches, and lack of time to work with athletes. The need to individualize sport psychology strategies with athletes was identified as the most meaningful recommendation for the future.

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An Evaluation of U.S. Olympic Sport Psychology Consultant Effectiveness

Daniel Gould, Vance Tammen, Shane Murphy, and Jerry May

The present investigation had three purposes. It (a) evaluated U.S. Olympic sport psychology consultants and the services they provide; (b) used Partington and Orlick’s (1987b) Consultant Evaluation Form (CEF) to examine effective sport psychology consultant characteristics; and (c) identified future sport psychology consultant and program needs. U.S. Olympic sport psychology consultants, sport science and medicine administrators, national team coaches, and athletes from various Olympic sports were surveyed. Results revealed that consultants were perceived in a favorable light across the four subsamples, which did not differ significantly in their effectiveness evaluations. The consultants also received high ratings on all 10 CEF consultant characteristics. Moreover, correlations between the consultant characteristic and effectiveness ratings revealed that fitting in with the team and drawing on athletes’ strengths were among the most important characteristics. Finally, the respondents identified the need to individualize sport psychology strategies as a major way for consultants to better meet athlete needs. Results are discussed relative to ways of improving applied sport psychology consultations with athletes and coaches.

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Effects of Mental Rehearsal of Task Motor Activity and Mental Depiction of Task Outcome on Motor Skill Performance

Robert L. Woolfolk, Shane M. Murphy, David Gottesfeld, and David Aitken

An investigation was carried out concerning the effect of imagery instructions on a simple motor skill accuracy task (putting a golf ball). Male college students (N = 50) were randomly assigned to one of six experimental conditions in a design that allowed the presence or absence of mental rehearsal of the physical movements involved in the task to be completely crossed with the imaginal depiction of task outcome (successful, unsuccessful, or no outcome component). A significant outcome by trials interaction was found on task performance. This finding reflected the degradation of performance in the conditions employing negative outcome imagery rather than any enhancement of performance by positive outcome imagery. Self-efficacy was found to be correlated with performance, but this association seemed to be a by-product of the strong relationships between these variables and performance on the previous trial. Results are discussed in relation to the existing literature, and future research directions are delineated.

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Strides to Achieve a Stable Symmetry Index During Running

Shane P. Murphy, Zach B. Barrons, and Jeremy D. Smith

Context: The quality of running mechanics is often characterized by limb pattern symmetry and used to support clinical decisions throughout the rehabilitation of lower-extremity injuries. It is valuable to ensure that gait analyses provide stable measures while not asking an individual to complete an excessive number of running strides. The present study aimed to determine the minimum number of strides required to establish a stable mean symmetry index (SMSI) of discrete-level measures of spatiotemporal parameters, joint kinematics, and joint kinetics. Further, the study aimed to determine if differences occurred between random and consecutive strides for directional and absolute symmetry indices. Design: Descriptive laboratory study. Methods: A sequential average was used to determine how many strides were required to achieve a SMSI within a 60-second trial. Multiple 2-factor repeated-measure analysis of variances were used to determine if differences between bins of strides and symmetry calculations were significantly different. Results: A median SMSI was achieved in 15 strides for all biomechanical variables. There were no significant differences (P > .05) found between consecutive and random bins of 15 strides within a 60-second trial. Although there were significant differences between symmetry calculation values for most variables (P < .05), there appeared to be no systematic difference between the numbers of strides required for stable symmetry for either index. Conclusions: As 15 strides were sufficient to achieve a SMSI during running, a continued emphasis should be placed on the number of strides collected when examining interlimb symmetry.

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The Effects of Emotive Imagery on Strength Performance

Shane M. Murphy, Robert L. Woolfolk, and Alan J. Budney

In this study, subjects were asked to select three different images they thought would make them angry, fearful, or relaxed. After imagining each scenario, subjects attempted a strength task utilizing a hand grip dynamometer. As predicted by the Oxendine hypothesis, the relaxation image significantly lowered performance on the strength task. Although subjects in the fear and anger conditions reported increased levels of arousal, no increase in strength performance was noted in these two conditions. A cognitive interpretation of the relationship between arousal and performance is advanced in explanation of the present findings. Specifically, it is suggested that preparatory arousal is effective only if subjects focus their attention while aroused on a successful outcome of performance. This explanation is consistent with current conceptualizations of cognitive preparation strategies as coping skill devices by which athletes manage their performance. Future research directions are suggested based upon the present findings.

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Provision of Sport Psychology Services at Olympic Events: The 1991 U.S. Olympic Festival and Beyond

Daniel S. Kirschenbaum, William D. Parham, and Shane M. Murphy

Sport psychology services were provided at the 1991 U.S. Olympic Festival. A consultation model was employed that included aspects of the traditional medical model and a more proactive preventive approach. Consultations were delivered using a “professional/clinical” style (i.e., emphasis on expertness, empathy, warmth, and congruence). Two sport psychologists provided 85 formal consultations to more than 300 athletes, coaches, staff members, and others from 16 different sports. Process and outcome evaluations suggested that these services were very well received. Eleven recommendations are provided for delivery of sport psychology services at future Olympic events.