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J. D. DeFreese and Alan L. Smith

Social support and negative social interactions have implications for athlete psychological health, with potential to influence the links of stress-related experiences with burnout and well-being over time. Using a longitudinal design, perceived social support and negative social interactions were examined as potential moderators of the temporal stress–burnout and burnout–well-being relationships. American collegiate athletes (N = 465) completed reliable and valid online assessments of study variables at four time points during the competitive season. After controlling for dispositional and conceptually important variables, social support and negative social interactions did not moderate the stress–burnout or burnout–well-being relationships, respectively, but did simultaneously contribute to burnout and well-being across the competitive season. The results showcase the importance of sport-related social perceptions to athlete psychological outcomes over time and inform development of socially driven interventions to improve the psychological health of competitive athletes.

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Trent A. Petrie

This study prospectively investigated the effects of life stress, psychological coping skills, competitive trait anxiety, and playing status (starter vs. non-starter) on injury in 158 NCAA Division I-A collegiate football players. Playing status moderated the influence of the psychosocial variables as predictors of athletic injury. For starters positive life stress, coping skills, and competitive trait anxiety accounted for 60% of the injury variance. In addition, competitive trait anxiety moderated the effects of positive life stress such that increases in these variables were associated with increases in the number of days missed due to injury. No relationship between any of the psychosocial variables and injury emerged for nonstarters. Implications for future research are discussed with respect to the Andersen and Williams (1988) theoretical model.

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Robert Brustad Portland and Maureen R. Weiss

This study examined the relationship between cognitive appraisal processes and the affective characteristics of youth sport involvement using Harter's competence motivation theory as a framework. Specifically, the present study extended Passer's (1983) research on patterns of competitive trait anxiety (CTA) in young male soccer players by including female athletes and athletes involved in different sports. Boy baseball players (N = 55) and girl softball players (N = 58) completed self-report measures of CTA, self-esteem, perceived physical competence, and frequency of evaluative and performance-related worries about athletic competition. Multivariate analyses revealed that high-CTA boys reported lower levels of self-esteem and more frequent worries about their performance than did their less anxious counterparts. For the girls, no significant relationships were found between levels of competitive trait anxiety and the cognitive variables. To enhance the experiences of youth sport participants, it is essential that the contributors to, and consequences of, competitive trait anxiety be more closely examined.

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Ryan J. Hamilton, Carl D. Paton and William G. Hopkins

In a recent study competitive road cyclists experienced substantial gains in sprint and endurance performance when sessions of high-intensity interval training were added to their usual training in the competitive phase of a season. The current study reports the effect of this type of training on performance of 20 distance runners randomized to an experimental or control group for 5 to 7 weeks of training. The experimental group replaced part of their usual competitive-phase training with 10 × 30-minute sessions consisting of 3 sets of explosive single-leg jumps (20 for each leg) alternating with 3 sets of resisted treadmill sprints (5 × 30-second efforts alternating with 30-second recovery). Before and after the training period all runners completed an incremental treadmill test for assessment of lactate threshold and maximum running speed, 2 treadmill runs to exhaustion for prediction of 800- and 1500-m times, and a 5-km outdoor time trial. Relative to the control group, the mean changes (±90% confidence limits) in the experimental group were: maximum running speed, 1.8% (± 1.1%); lactate-threshold speed, 3.5% (±3.4%); predicted 800-m speed, 3.6% (± 1.8%); predicted 1500-m speed, 3.7% (± 3.0%); and 5-km time-trial speed, 1.2% (± 1.1%). We conclude that high-intensity resistance training in the competitive phase is likely to produce beneficial gains in performance for most distance runners.

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Tara K. Scanlan and Rebecca Lewthwaite

This field study investigated the influence and stability of individual difference and situational factors on the competitive stress experienced by 9- to 14-year-old wrestlers. Stress was assessed by the children's form of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory and was measured immediately before and after each of two consecutive tournament matches. Wrestlers' dispositions, characteristic precompetition cognitions, perceptions of significant adult influences, psychological states, self-perceptions, and competitive outcomes were examined as predictors of pre- and postmatch anxiety in separate multiple regression analyses for each tournament round. The most influential and stable predictors of prematch stress for both matches were competitive trait anxiety and personal performance expectancies, while win-loss and fun experienced during the match predicted postmatch stress for both rounds. In addition, prematch worries about failure and perceived parental pressure to participate were predictive of round 1 prematch stress. Round 1 postmatch stress levels predicted stress after round 2, suggesting some consistency in children's stress responses. In total, 61 and 35% of prematch and 41 and 32% of postmatch state anxiety variance was explained for rounds 1 and 2, respectively.

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Michael W. Passer

The competitive trait anxiety of 316 male youth soccer participants was assessed prior to the start of a season. Players' performance expectancies, anticipated affective reactions to success-failure, expectations of criticism for failure, performance- and evaluation-related worries, perceived competence, and self-esteem also were recorded. The responses of players in the upper (n = 79) and lower (n = 84) competitive trait-anxiety quartiles indicated that, as predicted, high-anxious players expected to play less well and experience greater shame, upset, and more frequent criticism from parents and coaches in the event of poor performance. Even when these expectancies were controlled, high-anxious players worried more frequently than low-anxious players about not playing well, losing, and being evaluated by parents, coaches, and teammates. No between-group differences existed in players' self-perceived athletic competence or in their ability as rated by coaches. Competitive trait anxiety was weakly related to self-esteem. The findings support the general hypothesis that fear of failure and fear of evaluation are significant sources of threat in competitive-trait-anxious children.

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Dennis L. Smart and Richard A. Wolfe

This paper addresses the determinants of intercollegiate athletic program success. We built our arguments on a recent development in the strategic management literature, the Resource-Based View (RBV) of the firm. Our purpose was to investigate the source of sustainable intercollegiate athletic program success. In making our arguments, we briefly reviewed the RBV literature and addressed appropriate success criteria for intercollegiate athletics programs. An exploratory investigation of Pennsylvania State University's football program led to the conclusion that the resources responsible for its enduring competitive advantage are the history, relationships, trust, and organizational culture that have developed within the program's coaching staff. An organization that possesses such organizational resources may sustain a competitive advantage by exploiting its human and physical resources more completely than other organizations. The paper concludes with discussions of the potential generalizability of our findings, their implications for theory and practice, and suggested future research directions.

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Martin Ramsi, Kathleen A. Swanik, Charles “Buz” Swanik, Steve Straub and Carl Mattacola

Context:

Changes in strength over the course of a swim season could predispose the shoulder to strength imbalances and lead to injury.

Objective:

To examine isometric shoulder internal- (IR) and external-rotator (ER) strength in high school swimmers over a 12-week competitive season.

Design:

Three 3 × 2 × 2 ANOVAs with repeated measures were used to determine significant main effects for IR, ER, and IR:ER strength ratio.

Participants:

27 (14 female, 13 male) high school varsity swimmers.

Main Outcome Measures:

IR and ER strength during preseason, midseason, and postseason.

Results:

Significant increases in IR strength in both groups were revealed for all test sessions. ER strength significantly improved in both males and females from preseason to midseason and from preseason to postseason. IR:ER ratio revealed a significant increase from preseason to postseason.

Conclusions:

Increases in IR strength without equal gains in ER strength were revealed and could contribute to future shoulder pathologies in competitive swimmers

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Diane E. Taub and Rose Ann Benson

Since most research on eating disorders among athletes has focused on college-age samples, the present investigation examines the adolescent competitive swimmer. Three areas related to weight and eating habits were explored: general concerns about weight, use of weight control techniques, and tendencies toward anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and associated behavioral/personal characteristics. Previous research has found females to be at greater risk than males, thus gender comparisons were undertaken. Questionnaires were completed by 85 adolescent competitive swimmers attending a nationally known summer swim camp at a large midwestern university. Consistent with the cultural norm of thinness for women, young female swimmers desired weight loss more than their male counterparts did. In terms of actual pathogenic weight control techniques or eating disorder tendencies, however, few significant gender differences were found. Neither male nor female adolescent swimmers were particularly susceptible to eating disorders or pathogenic weight control techniques.

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W. Kerry Mummery and Leonard M. Wankel

This study examined the ability of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to predict training adherence in a sample of adolescent competitive swimmers. Participants (N= 116, mean age = 14.8 years), who were drawn from 19 competitive swimming clubs from across Canada, completed measures relating to TPB before a major training cycle in their swim season. Results showed that training intention was significantly related to training behavior and that the direct measures of TPB (attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control) predicted a significant portion of the variance in the measure of training intention. Subsequently splitting the attitude measure into affective and instrumental components revealed that the instrumental portion of the attitudinal measure contributed significantly to predicting training intention, whereas the affective portion did not. These findings suggest that TPB offers insight into training behavior and that the two measures of evaluative attitude contribute differently to predicting training intention.