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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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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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Robin S. Vealey

An interactional, sport-specific model of self-confidence was developed in which sport-confidence was conceptualized into trait (SC-trait) and state (SC-state) components. A competitive orientation construct was also included in the model to account for individual differences in defining success in sport. In order to test the relationship represented in the conceptual model, an instrument to measure SC-trait (Trait Sport-Confidence Inventory or TSCI), an instrument to measure SC-state (State Sport-Confidence Inventory or SSCI), and an instrument to measure competitive orientation (Competitive Orientation Inventory or COI) were developed and validated. Validation procedures included five phases of data collection involving 666 high school, college, and adult athletes. All three instruments demonstrated adequate item discrimination, internal consistency, test-retest reliability, content validity, and concurrent validity. In the construct validation phase, the results supported several predictions based on the conceptual model.

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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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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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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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Yves Chantal and Iouri Bernache-Assollant

The authors demonstrate in three experiments (N = 241) that yellow impacts on social perceptions when associated with competitive cycling. In Experiment 1, the image of a syringe evocated competitive cycling and doping more strongly when presented on yellow as compared with gray. In Experiment 2, a performance improvement scenario yielded more discredit of a depicted racer and higher suspicions of doping when ending on a yellow frame, as opposed to a gray one. In Experiment 3, the image of a racer wearing a yellow jersey (instead of a gray or a white one) yielded the lowest scores on measures of suitability as a role model and attractiveness of sport participation. Moreover, no significant differences emerged for gender, thereby suggesting equivalent effects for female and male participants. Finally, the authors discuss conceptual and practical implications as well as limitations before proposing a number of avenues for future research.

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Edward McAuley and Diane Gill

Interest in the role of self-confidence in sport performance has been high in sport psychology research. A measure to assess general physical self-efficacy has recently been developed, but without application to competitive sport performance. The present study examined the role of general and task-specific self-efficacy in women's intercollegiate gymnastics. It also assessed the reliability and validity of the Physical Self-Efficacy Scale in a competitive sport setting. The Physical Self-Efficacy Scale was found to be a reliable and valid instrument for measuring an individual's general physical self-efficacy in sport. However, the task-specific measures of self-efficacy and the gymnast's prediction of how they would perform proved to be much more powerful variables for predicting actual gymnastic performance. The results are discussed in terms of the relationships between different types of self-efficacy and sport performance and the problems associated with self-efficacy measurement.

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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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Kristine L. Chambers and Joan N. Vickers

The effects of a coaching intervention involving Bandwidth Feedback and Questioning (BF-Q) on competitive swim times (cTIME), practice swim times (pTIME), and technique (TECH) were determined for competitive youth swimmers. The pre-post-transfer design spanned one short-course (25m) swim season. It was concluded that coaching in which feedback was delayed and replaced with questions directed to the athletes contributed to improved technique and subsequent faster race times. Compared to the Control group, the BF-Q group displayed greater gains in TECH during the intervention period and greater improvement in cTIME during the transfer period. Results are presented in a context of cognitive psychology, motor learning, and questioning. Applications to coaching practice and coach training are also discussed.