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Alana Ninedek and Gregory S. Kelt

Context:

Recent literature has focused on the role of physiotherapists in addressing psychological sequelae of sport injury and rehabilitation.

Objective:

The study investigated sports physiotherapists' views of psychological characteristics that distinguished athletes who cope well with injury from those who cope poorly. Physiotherapists' opinions on the role of psychological skills in rehabilitation were also examined.

Design:

A questionnaire-based study.

Participants:

Participants were 150 physiotherapists who had completed, or were completing, a postgraduate sports physiotherapy program.

Main Outcome Measures:

The test instrument used was the Sports Physiotherapists' Views on Psychological Strategies questionnaire (adapted from Wiese et al1).

Results:

The physiotherapists reported communication skills, a positive attitude, intrinsic motivation, and realistic goal setting as important aspects of effective rehabilitation.

Conclusions:

The findings are discussed in relation to physiotherapists' roles in addressing basic psychological aspects of injury.

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Jenelle N. Gilbert, Stephanie D. Moore-Reed and Alexandra M. Clifton

Adolescent athletes can use psychological skills immediately after being taught, but a dearth of empirical evidence exists regarding whether these skills are maintained over time. A 12-week curriculum (i.e., UNIFORM; Gilbert, 2011) was taught to a high school varsity soccer team with three data collection points: pretest, posttest, 4-week follow-up. Use of several skills was significantly greater posttest compared with pretest as measured by the Test of Performance Strategies (Thomas, Murphy, & Hardy, 1999). Follow-up results were also salient. Relaxation, imagery, and self-talk use in practice was significantly greater than pretest at follow-up; relaxation, imagery, goal setting, and self-talk in competition showed similar results. Descriptive statistics and qualitative data triangulate these results. The UNIFORM curriculum enabled the athletes to use the skills more consistently. This study makes a contribution by measuring the skills at follow-up and providing evidence of their continued use four weeks after the curriculum’s conclusion.

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Damon Burton, David Yukelson, Robert Weinberg and Daniel Weigand

The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify how frequently and effectively collegiate athletes set goals and goal strategies and assess differences in goal practices across effectiveness groups. Participants were 321 male and 249 female college athletes participating in 18 sports at four universities, who completed the Collegiate Goal Setting in Sport Questionnaire. Descriptive results indicated that most athletes set goals but rated them as only moderately effective. MANOVA findings revealed that highly effective goal setters used all types of goals and implementation strategies more frequently and effectively than their less-effective counterparts. Discriminant analysis results revealed that the frequency of product-related goals and goal implementation strategy usage and the effectiveness of process-related goals best discriminated between effectiveness groups. Discussion focuses on the need to educate practitioners about the value of goals and how to use them most effectively.

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Sheldon Hanton and Graham Jones

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a multimodal intervention on swimmers debilitated by anxiety. A staggered single-subject multiple-baseline across-subjects design was used over 10 competitive races for 4 swimmers. Baseline observations on cognitive and somatic anxiety “direction” (facilitative/debilitating) scores were collected for three, four, and five races for Participants 2, 3, and 4, respectively, prior to treatment. The intervention was designed based on qualitative data from Hanton and Jones’s (1999) study and included the skills of goal setting, imagery, and self-talk. These psychological skills emerged as particularly important from Hanton and Jones’s investigation as a means of maintaining facilitative interpretations of precompetition anxiety symptoms. Preintervention, all participants reported debilitating interpretations of cognitive and somatic anxiety symptoms. However, post intervention, the 3 participants who received treatment reported facilitative interpretations. Performance improvements were also evident for these swimmers. A postintervention follow-up showed that swimmers’ interpretations were still facilitative.

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Paul Wylleman, Paul De Knop, Joke Delhoux and Yves Vanden Auweele

Academic background, consultation processes, and training and support were assessed with semistructured interviews among 18 sport psychology consultants (60% of total membership) of the Flemish Society of Sport Psychology. A total of 61% of consultants were trained as clinical psychologists, most with limited sport psychology background. Assessments revealed that interpersonal relationships skills and communication (63%) and fear of failure (55%) were the most common concerns, whereas stress management (54%), enhancement of relationship and communication skills (31%), and visualization and goal setting (31%) were used in interventions. Recommendations for enhancing the development of applied sport psychology in Flanders include specialization in sport psychology at the academic level, continued sport psychology consultation training, and a better coordination between sport psychology consultants and the world of sports.

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Daniel B. Hollander and Edmund O. Acevedo

The unique experience of swimming the English Channel is a test of mind and body to overcome multiple challenges. The purpose of this study was to examine psychological characteristics and reflective meanings of these swimmers. Eight English Channel swimmers were interviewed. Inductive and deductive analyses compared interviews and interpretations with the coinvestigator and swimmers. Themes included the cognitive orientations of mental toughness, while cognitive strategies included goal setting, Compartmentalization of time, and/or swimming distance, and self-regulation. Descriptions of the experience of the swim included an ease of swimming at the beginning, more aversive experiences in the middle, and a paradoxical euphoria and letdown upon completion of the swim. Several swimmers noted the perception of increased occupational effectiveness, self-confidence, and an awareness of unlimited potential. Whereas, other swimmers noted a more competitive post event focus. Reflective experiences supported Maslow’s notion that the meaning associated with a peak experience augments daily life.

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Zarina J. Galvan and Phillip Ward

A single-subject multiple baseline design across five players was used to assess the effectiveness of public posting in reducing inappropriate on-court behaviors (e.g., verbal abuse by a player during a match). Players were observed throughout the season during weekly challenge matches. The first intervention phase involved initial feedback on inappropriate behaviors and an explanation of the intervention procedures and goal setting. In the second phase, the number of inappropriate behaviors for each player was posted. Results indicated that intervention was effective in immediately reducing the number of inappropriate on-court behaviors for all players. Social validation questionnaires given to players and coaches revealed that the goals, procedures, and outcomes of the intervention were very acceptable.

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John H. Salmela

Since 1985 the Canadian Gymnastics Federation (CGF) has used a sport psychology consultant to work with elite male gymnasts who were preparing for two World Championships and the Seoul Olympic Games. The present paper outlines the chronology of this relationship, giving specific attention to how the initial contact phase that centered upon group goal-setting was expanded to encompass a range of services that were more personalized. The extension of services to elite age-group gymnasts is also described along with the problems and advantages of dealing with the full spectrum of developmental stages. A detailed recounting of the various initiatives, successes, and setbacks underlines how the long-term intervention process evolves between the coaches, the gymnasts, and the sport psychology consultant. Special emphasis is given to the importance of using “teachable moments” throughout the training and competitive process.

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Jim Taylor

Slumps are a pervasive phenomenon that are in evidence in all sports and at all levels of ability. They are a significant source of concern, confusion, and frustration for athletes and coaches. Yet, despite this, there is a conspicuous lack of knowledge and documentation on the subject. This paper offers an in-depth and systematic examination of slumps in sports. The work is divided into four parts. First, a precise definition of a slump is delineated. Second, the criteria that differentiate slumps from occasional drops in performance are described. Third, an analysis of the causes of slumps is discussed and the notion of serial causation of slumps is presented; examples are given to illustrate these ideas. Finally, a program for the alleviation of slumps, called Slumpbusting, is examined. The Slumpbusting program offers a structured plan that includes goal-setting, counseling, and the constructive, progressive use of physical, technical, and psychological training for the systematic resolution of slumps.

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Richard C. Thelwell and Iain A. Greenlees

The present study examined the effects of a mental skills training package on gymnasium triathlon performance. Five participants took part in a single-subject multiple baseline across individuals design, which was used to evaluate an intervention package including goal setting, relaxation, imagery, and selftalk. The results of the study indicated the mental skills package to be effective in enhancing triathlon performance for all five participants. Additionally, all participants increased their usage of mental skills from baseline to intervention phases. Follow-up social validation checks indicated all participants to have perceived the intervention to be successful and enjoyable, and all were satisfied with delivery and content of the package. In conclusion, the findings provide further evidence to suggest mental skills training packages to be effective for endurance performance.