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Bryan E. Denham

Drawing on data gathered from high-school seniors in the 2008 Monitoring the Future Study of American Youth (N = 2,063), this research examined the explanatory effects of competitive sports participation on alcohol consumption and marijuana use using race and noncompetitive exercise frequency as controls. Among males, competitive sports included baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and weightlifting, and among females, sports included softball, basketball, soccer, swimming and diving, track and field, and volleyball. White males reported greater alcohol consumption than Black and Hispanic respondents, with competitors in baseball, football and weightlifting consuming alcohol more frequently. The use of marijuana did not depend on race, but baseball players and weightlifters reported significantly more use. Among females, race differences did not emerge in ordinal regression models testing effects on alcohol consumption, but participants in every sport reported drinking alcohol more frequently. White female athletes also appeared to smoke marijuana more frequently. Overall, results suggested comparably strong effects for female sport environments while male behaviors varied by race, noncompetitive exercise frequency, and sports competition. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are offered.

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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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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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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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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.

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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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Kristin J. Heumann and Pamela D. Swan

Jumping rope (JR) is known to enhance Os Calcis Stiffness Index (OCSI) in postpubertal girls; however the effects in prepubescent girls are unknown.

Purpose:

Qualitative Ultrasound (QUS) indices were compared between competitive JRs (N = 19) and normally active (NA, N = 18) girls 9–12 years old.

Methods:

Heel QUS, height, weight, percent body fat (bioelectrical impedance), and Tanner Sex Stage (self-report) were measured.

Results:

JR were significantly younger and had less body fat than NA (p < .01). No other between group differences were found. OCSI was not different between groups even after correcting for fat mass (p > 0.3). Broadband attenuation (BUA) was correlated with Tanner stage (R > .40; p = .01).

Conclusion:

QUS of the heel bone is more related to pubertal status than to JR participation in young girls. Prepubertal girls who perform high intensity jumping have similar bone quality measures as normally active girls.

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Dana K. Voelker and Justine J. Reel

In this study, the authors examined female competitive figure skaters’ experiences of weight pressure in sport. Perceptions of the ideal skating body; sources of weight pressure; ways that body image, weight-management behaviors, and athletic performance have been affected; and recommendations for improving body image were explored. Aligning with a social constructivist view (Creswell, 2014), data were analyzed using an inductive thematic approach (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Skaters described the ideal skating body in an inflexible fashion with little room for deviation and acceptance of body diversity. Skaters cited their first weightpressure experience between 7 and 14 years of age, which most notably involved coaches, parents, skating partners, and other aspects of the skating culture. These experiences were characterized as promoting body-image concerns, unhealthy weight-management strategies, and interference with the psychological aspects of on-ice performance. Results from this study demonstrate the need to construct and maintain body-positive skating environments.

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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.