Although sport psychologists have started to examine elite disability sport, studies of comprehensive mental skill use are rare. In the current study, we examined multidimensional imagery and self-talk, as well as comprehensive mental skills (i.e., coping with adversity, goal setting, concentration, peaking under pressure, being coachable, confident, and feeling free from worry). In addition to descriptive data, we also were interested in the ability of athlete’s mental skills to predict engagement (e.g., being dedicated). Fourteen elite level wheelchair rugby players from the United States participated, and results indicated that athletes employed most mental skills. We accounted for 50% of the variance in engagement with comprehensive mental skills (β = .72, p = .03) contributing the most to the regression equation, while imagery (β = -.02, p = .94) and self-talk (β = -.00, p = .99) were not significant. Athletes who reported using a host of mental skills (e.g., coping with adversity) also reported being engaged (e.g., dedicated, enthused, committed) to wheelchair rugby. Athletes reporting minimal mental skill use were less engaged.
Jeffrey J. Martin and Laurie A. Malone
Paul J. McCarthy, Marc V. Jones, Chris G. Harwood and Steve Olivier
One reason sport psychologists teach psychological skills is to enhance performance in sport; but the value of psychological skills for young athletes is questionable because of the qualitative and quantitative differences between children and adults in their understanding of abstract concepts such as mental skills. To teach these skills effectively to young athletes, sport psychologists need to appreciate what young athletes implicitly understand about such skills because maturational (e.g., cognitive, social) and environmental (e.g., coaches) factors can influence the progressive development of children and youth. In the present qualitative study, we explored young athletes’ (aged 10–15 years) understanding of four basic psychological skills: goal setting, mental imagery, self-talk, and relaxation. Young athletes (n= 118: 75 males and 43 females) completed an open-ended questionnaire to report their understanding of these four basic psychological skills. Compared with the older youth athletes, the younger youth athletes were less able to explain the meaning of each psychological skill. Goal setting and mental imagery were better understood than self-talk and relaxation. Based on these fndings, sport psychologists should consider adapting interventions and psychoeducational programs to match young athletes’ age and developmental level.
Daniel Gould, Kenneth Hodge, Linda Petlichkoff and Jeffery Simons
The present investigation examined athletes’ responses to a psychological skills training program spanning a 3-month period. Two studies were conducted to evaluate the degree to which a week-long psychological skills training program changed elite wrestlers’ knowledge, perceived importance, and use of relaxation, visualization/imagery, goal setting, and mental preparation techniques. In Study 1, 18 senior elite wrestlers ranging from 17 to 32 years of age participated in a week-long training camp involving a psychological skills training program and completed assessments immediately before and after camp and again 3 months later. Study 2 was identical to Study 1 except that 33 elite junior wrestlers, ages 14 to 18, were studied. Overall, the results demonstrate that the educational program was effective in changing the athletes’ knowledge, perceived importance, and use of the four psychological skills. MANOVA procedures revealed that the relaxation and visualization/imagery portions of the program were particularly effective, perhaps because they were incorporated into actual on-the-mat practice sessions. The importance of conducting evaluation research and methods of facilitating psychological skills development are discussed.
In the original publication of the article Muir, I., Munroe-Chandler, K.J., & Loughead, L. (2018), A qualitative investigation of young female dancers’ use of imagery. The Sport Psychologist, 32 (4), 263–274, https://doi.org/10.1123/tsp.2017-0123 , the second author’s name appeared incorrectly in
Susan G. Ziegler, James Klinzing and Kirk Williamson
The effects of two stress management programs on the cardiorespiratory efficiency of eight male cross-country runners were investigated. Oxygen consumption and heart rate data were monitored on a maximal oxygen consumption tradmill run. A week later each subject completed a 20-min submaximal run (at a constant workload approximating 50% of each subject's maximal oxygen consumption run). Based on these scores, subjects were divided into three groups: control, stress innoculation training, and stress management training. Subjects in both training groups completed a mental training program including EMG relaxation training, cognitive coping strategies, and one type of imagery training. Results of the 20-min post submaximal run indicated significant differences in cardiorespiratory efficiency between both training groups and the control group. No differences emerged between the training groups.
Sean Brayton and Ted Alexander
Although scholars have used poststructural and postmodern frameworks to understand the power relations of sport, critical research has rarely considered a politics of irony in the sporting realm. Using the controversial frog logo of Québec City’s professional basketball team, we explore irony as a reading strategy and method of critique that is already ambivalent. As a self-directed stereotype, Dunky the Frog is unique in its emergence through irony. It appears to be an offensive anti-French mascot intended by the team’s French Canadian owner to be an innocuous comic prop. This ironic use of frog imagery places the competing desires of liberalist sublimation and French Canadian self-representation into an irresolvable contradiction, one that encourages an alternative reading of mascot controversies and identity politics.
Peter J. Lang
Emotions are organized around 2 basic motivational systems, appetitive and defensive, that evolved from primitive neural circuits in the mammalian brain. The appetitive system is keyed for approach behavior, founded on the preservative, sexual, and nurturant reflexes that underlie pleasant affects; the defense system is keyed for withdrawal, founded on protective and escape reflexes that underlie unpleasant affects. Both systems control attentional processing: Distal engagement by motive-relevant cues prompts immobility and orienting. With greater cue proximity (e.g., predator or prey imminence), neural motor centers supercede, determining overt defensive or consummatory action. In humans, these systems determine affective expression, evaluation behavior, and physiological responses that can be related to specific functional changes in the brain. This theoretical approach is illustrated with psychophysiological and brain imagery studies in which human subjects respond to emotional picture stimuli.
Robin C. Jackson and Julien S. Baker
This paper presents a case study of the most prolific rugby goal kicker of all time. In the first part of the study, the consistency of his preperformance routine was analyzed over kicks of varying difficulty. Results indicate that while certain physical aspects of his routine remain consistent, both his concentration time and physical preparation time increase with kick difficulty. In the second part of the study, the participant was interviewed about his physical and mental preparation for rugby goal kicking in competitive situations. The interview revealed that the participant incorporates a number of psychological skills into his routine, including thought stopping, cueing, and imagery but does not do so consistently. However, he perceives the timing of his routine to be highly consistent. Implications of these findings for the recommendation that performers strive for temporal consistency in their routines (Boutcher, 1990) are discussed.
Robert L. Wilkes and Jeffery J. Summers
The effectiveness of five types of cognitive preparation on strength performance was examined in a 2 X 5 (Pre- and Posttest × Mental Preparation Condition) design, with repeated measures on pre-posttest. The mental preparation conditions were: arousal, attention, imagery, self-efficacy, and a control read condition. Immediately following the posttest trials, subjects completed a questionnaire measuring various cognitive states. The results showed that preparatory arousal and self-efficacy techniques produced significantly greater posttest strength performance than the control group. Analysis of the postexperimental questionnaire data suggested that a general effect of the preparation strategies used was to focus attention on the task to be performed. It was concluded that the effectiveness of a particular cognitive strategy may depend on the nature of the task to be performed and the particular aspects of the task to which attention is directed.
Patsy Tremayne and Robert J. Barry
This study investigated cardiac and electrodermal responses in competitive gymnasts differing in levels of trait anxiety and repression. The research strategy was to seek differences in tonic and phasic physiological measures that occurred in association with differences in state and/or trait anxiety levels, and then to investigate whether similar differences were associated with differences in levels of repression. Two task conditions were employed: A resting baseline session was counterbalanced with an imagery session in which subjects were requested to image their current team routine in real time. For half of each session, subjects were instructed to either count (relevant) stimuli or ignore (irrelevant) stimuli. The results established a number of psychophysiological differences between groups differing on state and trait anxiety. Similar differences as a result of repression were not obtained, raising questions about the validity of the construct of “repression” in this context. There were some small effects, however, suggesting that repression may affect components of attentional processing in different situations.