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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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Mark Kluemper, Tim Uhl and Heath Hazelrigg

Context:

Imbalanced shoulder muscles might cause poor posture in swimmers, which has been implicated as potential cause of injury.

Objective:

To determine whether a training program can reduce forward shoulder posture.

Design:

Prospective pseudorandomized.

Setting:

College swimming pool.

Participants:

39 competitive swimmers (age 16 ± 2 years) divided into an exercise group (n = 24) and a control group (n = 15).

Intervention:

The experimental group performed a partner-stretching program on the anterior shoulder muscles and a strengthening regimen focusing on the posterior shoulder muscles for 6 weeks. The control group participated in normal swim-training activities.

Main Outcome Measures:

Shoulder posture was measured as the distance from the anterior acromion to a wall using a double-square method.

Results:

The experimental group significantly reduced the distance of the acromion from the wall in a resting posture (–9.6 ± 7.3 mm) as compared with the control group (–2.0 ± 6.9 mm).

Conclusions:

A training routine might reduce the forward shoulder posture present in most competitive swimmers.

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Robert S. Weinberg and Marvin Genuchi

The purpose of the present investigation was to determine the relationship between competitive trait anxiety (CTA), state anxiety, and golf performance in a field setting. Ten low, moderate, and high CTA collegiate golfers (N = 30) performed in a practice round on Day 1 and Day 2 of a competitive tournament. State anxiety results indicated a significant CTA main effect with low CTA subjects displaying lower state anxiety than moderate or high CTA subjects. The competition main effect was also significant, with post hoc tests indicating higher levels of state anxiety during Day 1 and Day 2 than during the practice round. Performance results produced a significant CTA main effect with low CTA subjects displaying higher levels of performance than moderate or high CTA subjects. Correlations between SCAT and state anxiety indicated that SCAT was a good predictor of precompetitive state anxiety. The direction of state anxiety and performance CTA main effects provide support for Oxendine's (1970) contentions that sports requiring fine muscle coordination and precision (e.g., golf) are performed best at low levels of anxiety. Future directions for research are offered.

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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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Jennifer W. Cuchna, Lauren Welsch, Taylor Meier, Chyrsten L. Regelski and Bonnie Van Lunen

Clinical Question:

Are Nordic hamstring exercises more effective than standardized training in reducing hamstring strain injury rates in competitive soccer players over the course of at least one season?

Clinical Bottom Line:

The evidence supports the use of Nordic hamstring exercises to reduce hamstring injury incidence rates over a competitive soccer season. Therefore, progressive Nordic hamstring exercises should be included within some aspect of a practice to prevent the occurrence of hamstring injuries.

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Owen Thomas, Ian Maynard and Sheldon Hanton

Competitive anxiety and self-confidence were examined temporally in “facilitators,” “debilitators,” and “mixed interpreters” using the modified CSAI-2 (intensity, direction, frequency). MANOVA’s (group X time-to-competition) and follow-up tests revealed no significant interactions but revealed significant main effects for both factors. Facilitators displayed increased intensities of self-confidence, more positive interpretations of cognitive and somatic symptoms, increased frequency of self-confidence, and decreased frequency of cognitive symptoms than debilitators through performance preparation. Time-to-competition effects indicated intensities of cognitive and somatic responses increased, and self-confidence decreased near competition. Directional perceptions of cognitive and somatic responses became less positive, and the frequency of these symptoms increased toward the event. Findings have implications for intervention design and timing and emphasize the importance of viewing symptoms over temporal phases.

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Shawna L. Palmer

This study investigated the influence of two distinct mental practice techniques on figure skating performance. Twelve prenovice and novice level competitive figure skaters each performed two figures which were assessed as a pretreatment measure. In Phase 1 the subjects were assigned to one of three groups: Martin self-talk technique, paper patch technique, or a notreatment control group. Following a 4-week period of using the assigned technique, a second performance assessment revealed no significant differences between the Martin group and the control group, while the paper patch group showed significant improvements over both. In Phase 2 a multiple-comparison-across-subjects design was used. A third assessment was completed after an additional 4-week period which demonstrated that a significantly greater number of skaters using the paper patch technique improved in performance. This study reveals the importance of investigating the efficacies of different types of mental practice when applied to specific sporting or performance activities.

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Deborah L. Feltz, Cathy D. Lirgg and Richard R. Albrecht

Eighteen elite young distance runners were followed over a 5-year period and examined on their perceptions of parental involvement, commitment, anxiety, and sources of worry as these variables pertained to their competitive running. Results showed that the runners received good parental support and possessed a relatively high level of commitment to running, but that both parental involvement and commitment declined over the 5 years. Fathers were seen as being more involved in their children’s running than mothers were. Also, females were somewhat more committed to running than males were. Males and females exhibited similar anxiety scores and these scores did not increase significantly over time. There was no evidence that these runners suffered excessive anxiety.

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Michael B. Johnson, William A. Edmonds, Gershon Tenenbaum and Akihito Kamata

A recently introduced probabilistic methodology (Kamata, Tenenbaum, & Hanin, 2002) was implemented in the current study to ascertain the idiosyncratic Individual Affect-related Performance Zones (IAPZs) of four intercollegiate tennis players. The current study advances upon previous empirical works by its use of multiple performance levels, use of athletes’ introspective affective intensity, and recording multiple data points duringcompetition. Results present within- and between-player comparisons, and highlight the dynamic nature of competitive athletic events. A brief discussion regarding the implications of this methodology and the pursuant results for sport psychology consultants is also proffered. Being idiosyncratic in nature, the observations from this study are not intended to generalize across samples, but rather to introduce how knowledge of the systematic and dynamic linkage between an individual’s affect and his or her performance can be uncovered and possibly used with individual athletes to facilitate more consistently optimal performances.

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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.