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Physical Activity, Health-Related Quality of Life, and Psychosocial Functioning of Adults With Cerebral Palsy

Cadeyrn J. Gaskin and Tony Morris

The purpose of this research was to investigate the relationships between physical activity, health-related quality of life (HRQL), and psychosocial functioning (mood states, physical self-efficacy, social support) in adults with cerebral palsy (N = 51). The data was heavily skewed, with many participants reporting that they performed minimal physical activity and experienced low levels of physical function, minimal role limitations, high social functioning, low levels of negative mood states, and high social support. With the exception of the correlations between physical activity and physical functioning (ρ = .45), role limitations—physical (ρ = .32), vigor–activity mood state (ρ = .36), and social support from friends (ρ = –.43), there were typically weak associations between physical activity and the subscales of the HRQL and psychosocial functioning measures. These low associations might be the result of the participants’ psychological adaptations to cerebral palsy during their lives.

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A Pre-Performance Routine to Alleviate Choking in “Choking-Susceptible” Athletes

Christopher Mesagno, Daryl Marchant, and Tony Morris

“Choking under pressure” is a maladaptive response to performance pressure whereby choking models have been identified, yet, theory-matched interventions have not empirically tested. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate whether a preperformance routine (PPR) could reduce choking effects, based on the distraction model of choking. Three “choking-susceptible”, experienced participants were purposively sampled, from 88 participants, to complete ten-pin bowling deliveries in a single-case A1-B1-A2-B2 design (A phases = “low-pressure”; B phases = “high-pressure”), with an interview following the single-case design. Participants experienced “choking” in the B1 phase, which the interviews indicated was partially due to an increase in self-awareness (S-A). During the B2 phase, improved accuracy occurred when using the personalized PPR and, qualitatively, positive psychological outcomes included reduced S-A and decreased conscious processing. Using the personalized PPR produced adaptive and relevant, task-focused attention.

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The Integrated Model of Sport Confidence: A Canonical Correlation and Mediational Analysis

Stefan Koehn, Alan J. Pearce, and Tony Morris

The main purpose of the study was to examine crucial parts of Vealey’s (2001) integrated framework hypothesizing that sport confidence is a mediating variable between sources of sport confidence (including achievement, self-regulation, and social climate) and athletes’ affect in competition. The sample consisted of 386 athletes, who completed the Sources of Sport Confidence Questionnaire, Trait Sport Confidence Inventory, and Dispositional Flow Scale-2. Canonical correlation analysis revealed a confidence-achievement dimension underlying flow. Bias-corrected bootstrap confidence intervals in AMOS 20.0 were used in examining mediation effects between source domains and dispositional flow. Results showed that sport confidence partially mediated the relationship between achievement and self-regulation domains and flow, whereas no significant mediation was found for social climate. On a subscale level, full mediation models emerged for achievement and flow dimensions of challenge–skills balance, clear goals, and concentration on the task at hand.

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Imagery Intervention to Increase Flow State and Performance in Competition

Stefan Koehn, Tony Morris, and Anthony P. Watt

The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of an imagery intervention for enhancing the experience of flow state and performance in junior athletes. On the basis of previous results, a tailored imagery script was developed to target critical flow dimensions, namely challenge-skills balance, clear goals, concentration on the task, and sense of control. It was hypothesized that the use of cognitive and motivational imagery would increase specific flow dimensions, which, in turn, would enhance flow state and competition performance. Participants in a single-case, multiple baseline A-B design study were four nationally ranked athletes. Following a 6-week baseline phase monitoring flow state and performance and a 6-week intervention phase using relaxation in conjunction with imagery techniques, three participants showed a sustained increase in flow experiences, and all four participants improved their service performance, groundstroke performance, and ranking-list position.

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The Dose–Response Relationship Between Training-Load Measures and Changes in Force–Time Components During a Countermovement Jump in Male Academy Soccer Players

Matthew Ellis, Tony Myers, Richard Taylor, Rhys Morris, and Ibrahim Akubat

Purpose: To manage physical performance in soccer, practitioners monitor the training load (TL) and the resulting fatigue. A method frequently used to assess performance is the countermovement jump (CMJ). However, the efficacy of CMJ to detect fatigue from soccer matches and training remains uncertain, as does the relationship between TL and change in CMJ performance. The aims of the present study were 2-fold. One was to observe the changes of CMJ force–time components and jump height (JH). The second was to examine dose–response relationships between TL measures and CMJ over a 6-week preseason. Methods: Twelve male academy soccer players (17 [1] y, 71.2 [5.6] kg, and 178 [5.8] cm) were recruited. Daily changes in CMJ were assessed against baseline scores established before preseason training, along with internal and external TL measures. A series of Bayesian random intercept models were fitted to determine probability of change above/below zero and greater than the coefficient of variation established at baseline. Jumps were categorized into match day minus (MD−) categories where the higher number indicated more time from a competitive match. Results: JH was lowest on MD − 3 (28 cm) and highest on MD − 4 (34.6 cm), with the probability of change from baseline coefficient of variation highly uncertain (41% and 61%, respectively). Changes to force–time components were more likely on MD − 3 (21%–99%), which provided less uncertainty than JH. Bayes R 2 ranged from .22 to .57 between TL measures and all CMJ parameters. Conclusions: Force–time components were more likely to change than JH. Practitioners should also be cautious when manipulating TL measures to influence CMJ performance.

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Australian Football Coaches’ Tales of Mental Toughness: Exploring the Sociocultural Roots

Stephanie J. Tibbert, Mark B. Andersen, Tony Morris, and Christopher Mesagno

The present study explored how three professional Australian football coaches learned and understood mental toughness. Participants shared stories regarding mental toughness through semistructured interviews. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to interpret the data. Creative nonfiction was employed to develop a composite story. All participants’ voices contributed equally to the narrative, which follows Sam (our composite coach) through three periods in his career: as a junior player, an elite footballer, and, finally, a coach in the professional football environment. Mental toughness was fundamentally determined by the sociocultural environment in which one was immersed. Athletes and coaches were expected to internalize dominant understandings of mental toughness and reinforce ideals and were punished if they deviated from mentally tough standards set up in their clubs. Mental toughness was defined by various values, beliefs, and norms that originated from the sociocultural environment, indicating the importance of context in understanding the roots of being mentally tough.

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The Influence of Recruitment Age and Anthropometric and Physical Characteristics on the Development Pathway of English Academy Football Players

Mark R. Noon, Emma L.J. Eyre, Matthew Ellis, Tony D. Myers, Rhys O. Morris, Peter D. Mundy, Ryan Penny, and Neil D. Clarke

Purpose: To investigate the influence of recruitment age on retention and release across the development pathway and to explore the influence of anthropometric and physical characteristics on retention and release at different ages throughout the development pathway and the likelihood of obtaining a professional contract. Methods: Following receipt of ethics approval, a cross-sectional study tracking 4 cohorts of players over 5 years assessed 76 male youth football players (11–16 y) from an English football academy on 3 occasions annually in anthropometry, countermovement jump height, and linear (30 and 15 m) and multidirectional sprint time. Players were categorized based on their start and release date. Results: Starting early (ie, before U12) in an academy was a key indicator of obtaining a professional contract, representing 87% of the players signed. Bayesian regression models suggest that the majority of differences in physical characteristics between players that were released and retained are trivial, small, and/or uncertain. Players who attained a professional contract at 18 had slower 15- and 30-m sprint times at U13 to U15 (P > 0 = .87–.99), slower multidirectional sprint times at U14 (P > 0 = .99), and lower countermovement jump height at U13 to U16 (P > 0 = .88–.99) compared with players who did not gain a contract. Conclusion: Players recruited early have an increased likelihood of gaining a professional contract. Physical assessments lack utility when used in isolation as a talent-identification tool.