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Timothy T. Robinson and Albert V. Carron

The relationship between the decision of young athletes (N = 98) classified as starters, survivors, and dropouts to either maintain involvement with a competitive sport team or drop out and a number of motivational (personal) and situational factors was examined. The personal and situational factors employed fell into six categories: trait measures (competitive trait anxiety [A-trait], achievement motivation; intrinsic [self] motivation; self-esteem; and causal attributions), general attitudes toward competitive sport, sportsmanship and communication factors, socialization factors (parental and peer group involvement), coaching (leadership) considerations, and cohesion or group climate factors. Discriminant function analysis revealed that the continuum of actual participation which exists (starters-survivors-dropouts) is also directly related to systematic differences in personal factors within the groups as well as in their perception of specific situational factors. Variables discriminating among the groups included perception of group climate (sense of belonging, enjoyment, closeness), attitudes toward competition (perception of the importance of winning, role of physical activity in physical fitness development), socialization factors (encouragement received from fathers, encouragement received from teachers), attributions following athletic outcomes (attributions to ability following failure and effort following success), and leadership (perception of the coach as an autocrat).

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Robin T. Thorpe, Anthony J. Strudwick, Martin Buchheit, Greg Atkinson, Barry Drust and Warren Gregson

Purpose:

To quantify the relationship between daily training load and a range of potential measures of fatigue in elite soccer players during an in-season competitive phase (17 d).

Methods:

Total high-intensity-running (THIR) distance, perceived ratings of wellness (fatigue, muscle soreness, sleep quality), countermovement-jump height (CMJ), postexercise heart-rate recovery (HRR), and heart-rate variability (Ln rMSSD) were analyzed during an in-season competitive period (17 d). General linear models were used to evaluate the influence of daily fluctuation in THIR distance on potential fatigue variables.

Results:

Fluctuations in fatigue (r = −.51, large, P < .001), Ln rMSSD (r = −.24, small, P = .04), and CMJ (r = .23, small, P = .04) were significantly correlated with fluctuations in THIR distance. Correlations between variability in muscle soreness, sleep quality, and HRR and THIR distance were negligible and not statistically significant.

Conclusions:

Perceived ratings of fatigue and Ln rMSSD were sensitive to daily fluctuations in THIR distance in a sample of elite soccer players. Therefore, these particular markers show promise as simple, noninvasive assessments of fatigue status in elite soccer players during a short in-season competitive phase.

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Konstantinos Koukouris

Disengagement from sport is examined from a phenomenological perspective. This perspective permits committed adult athletes to explain in their own time and their own words why they ceased participating in formally organized competitive sport. Thirty-four former advanced and elite athletes were interviewed. The constructed case study method provides the opportunity to examine causal relationships among all factors leading to disengagement from sport, and follows a “holistic” method of analyzing interviews (cognitive mapping). Former athletes identified the problem of settling into a job and financial constraints as the primary factors influencing their disengagement from sport. Most athletes left sport voluntarily and experienced elements of rebirth rather than social death.

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Karen M. Appleby and Kristen Dieffenbach

The purpose of this study was to investigate elite masters cyclists’ involvement in competitive sport. Using a descriptive, qualitative approach, the researchers interviewed ten elite-level masters cyclists. Data analysis revealed the following salient themes relevant to participants’ experiences: (a) athletic identity, (b) motivational factors, and (c) life balance. These findings suggest that participation as an elite-level masters athlete reflects a high degree of continuity for athletic identity that can be positive in relation to self-esteem and social validation and challenging in relation to transition and maintaining social relationships out of cycling settings.

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Remco Polman, Naomi Rowcliffe, Erika Borkoles and Andrew Levy

This study investigated the nature of the relationship between precompetitive state anxiety (CSAI-2C), subjective (race position) and objective (satisfaction) performance outcomes, and self-rated causal attributions (CDS-IIC) for performance in competitive child swimmers. Race position, subjective satisfaction, self-confidence, and, to a lesser extent, cognitive state anxiety (but not somatic state anxiety) were associated with the attributions provided by the children for their swimming performance. The study partially supported the self-serving bias hypothesis; winners used the ego-enhancing attributional strategy, but the losers did not use an ego-protecting attributional style. Age but not gender appeared to influence the attributions provided in achievement situations.

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Darren P. Morton

Purpose:

To evaluate the physiological challenges of competitive cross-country hang gliding.

Methods:

Seventeen experienced male pilots (age = 41 ± 9 y; mean ± SD) were fitted with a monitor that recorded heart rate and altitude at 0.5 Hz throughout a competitive fight. Fluid losses were evaluated by comparing pilot pre- and postfight mass.

Results:

The pilots’ displacement was 88.4 ± 43.7 km in 145.5 ± 49.4 min. Mean fight altitude was 1902 ± 427 m (range = 1363-2601 m) with a maximum altitude of 2925 ± 682 m (1870-3831 m). The mean in-fight heart rate of the pilots was 112 ± 11 bpm (64 ± 6% predicted HRmax). For all except one subject, heart rate was highest while launching (165 ± 12 bpm, 93 ± 7% predicted HRmax), followed by landing (154 ± 13 bpm, 87 ± 7% predicted HRmax). No statistically significant relationship was observed between heart rate during the launch and reported measures of state anxiety. Heart rate was inversely related (P < .01) to altitude for all pilots except one. Fluid loss during the fight was 1.32 ± 0.70 L, which approximated 0.55 L/h, while mean in-fight fluid consumption was 0.39 ± 0.44 L. Six pilots consumed no fluid during the fight.

Conclusions:

Even among experienced pilots, high heart rates are more a function of state anxiety than physical work demand. Fluid losses during fight are surprisingly moderate but pilots may still benefit from attending to fluid balance.

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Maithe Cardoso de Araújo and Kathrin A.M. Mießen

The aim of this study was to investigate the evolution of competitiveness in elite women’s soccer, comparing the goal difference mean between the first FIFA Women’s World Cup (W1991) and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 (W2011), twenty years later. Analogous Men’s World Cups (M1990 and M2010) and the first one (M1930) were analyzed for comparative purposes. A total of 192 matches were taken into account and their final result was obtained through official match reports. The overall goal difference (GD) was 1.6, with GD of one occurring 44.3%. Percentage of matches finished with a GD of more than three was 30.7% in W1991 and only 6.3% in W2011. Mean of GD in W2011 was significantly lower than in W1991 (1.38 ± 1.10 vs. 2.81 ± 1.96, U = 226.0, z = -3.085, p = .002), while between M1990 and M2010 it did not differ statistically (1.21 ± 1.05 vs. 1.23 ± 1.23, U = 1639.5, z = -0.146, p = .884). In contrast to the comparisons to W1991, differences between W2011 and M2010 as well as M1990 were not significant. However, GD in W2011 was significantly lower than in the M1930. The results demonstrated that elite women’s soccer has shown a notorious development with regard to the competitiveness, approaching the status already achieved by men. This fast progress represents new challenges for the sports sciences and football associations.

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Dean G. Higham, Geraldine A. Naughton, Lauren A. Burt and Xiaocai Shi

The aim of this study was to compare daily hydration profiles of competitive adolescent swimmers and less active maturation- and sex-matched controls. Hydration profiles of 35 competitive adolescent swimmers (male n = 18, female n = 17) and 41 controls (male n = 29, female n = 12) were monitored on 4 consecutive days. First morning hydration status was determined independently by urine specific gravity (USG) and urine color. Changes in fluid balance were estimated during the school day and in training sessions after adjusting for self-reported urine losses and fluid intake. Urinalyses revealed consistent fluid deficits (USG >1.020, urine color ≥5) independent of activity group, sex, and day of testing (hypohydration in 73–85% of samples, p > .05). Fluid balance and intake were observed over typical school days in males and females from the 2 groups. During training, male swimmers lost more fluid relative to initial body mass but drank no more than females. Although both activity groups began each testing day with a similar hydration status, training induced significant variations in fluid balance in the swimmers compared with controls. Despite minimal fluid losses during individual training sessions (<2% body mass), these deficits significantly increased fluid needs for young swimmers over the school day.

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Kimberly Fasczewski and Diane Gill

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects 2.1 million people world-wide. There is no cure but an expanding body of research suggests that physical activity can have a positive impact on the symptoms of MS. This case study was designed as a view into the life experiences of one woman’s journey with MS as a competitive athlete, focusing on how psychological skills aid her in conquering her challenges. The participant was a 51-year old competitive mountain bike racer who was diagnosed with MS as a teenager. A postpositivist approach using a series of in-depth, conversational interviews explored the role athletics has played in her life and specifically in helping her live with MS. The interviews focused on the psychological skills the participant used to deal with her sport and MS. Results suggest that resilience, resulting from self-efficacy, goal setting, and a positive outlook, is the key to her success, and that her participation in athletics strengthens those positive characteristics. Findings may be helpful to both sport psychology and medical professionals who work with individuals with MS.

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Edward McAuley and Vanee V. Tammen

The present study was designed to assess the effects of subjective and objective competitive outcomes on intrinsic motivation following completion of a one-on-one basketball jump-shooting competition. Researchers all too often operationalize competitive outcomes in terms of winning and losing, and neglect to examine performance from the subjective perspective of the individual. The intrinsic motivation of winners and losers and individuals high and low in perceived success were compared by employing a multidimensional measure of intrinsic motivation. Results indicated that both winners and high success individuals displayed significantly greater intrinsic motivation than losers and low. success individuals, respectively. However, multivariate analyses of variance demonstrated significant differences only between the perceived success groups when intrinsic motivation was examined at a multidimensional level. Specifically, high success individuals perceived themselves as trying; harder, being more competent, and enjoying' the activity "more. These findings are discussed from a cognitive evaluation perspective that: focuses on the role played by self-perception of events in relation to motivational processes.