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Tim Herzog and Kate F. Hays

This article addresses the challenging conundrum of when to offer psychotherapy versus mental skills training. To highlight aspects of this dilemma, we describe actual cases that illustrate different ways in which clients present and practitioners may respond: (1) mental skills training shifting to therapy; (2) therapeutic work shifting to mental skills training; (3) simultaneous work between two practitioners; or (4) alternating services from the same practitioner. A variety of intervention methods are used based on a number of theoretical orientations and perspectives. The article concludes with some recommendations that may assist the performance-oriented practitioner in decision-making regarding the delicate balance between therapy and mental skills training. Suggestions relate specifically to the nature of the referral, the client’s preferences, the practitioner’s perspective and skill sets, a continuous process of appraisal and adaptation, and the central importance of the athlete-practitioner relationship.

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Sima Mistry and Jose L. Contreras-Vidal

Recent motor control theories suggest that the brain uses internal models to plan and control accurate movements. An internal model is thought to represent how the biomechanics of the arm interacting with the outside world would respond to a motor command; therefore it can be seen as a predictive model of the reafference that helps the system plan ahead. Moreover, adaptation studies show that humans can learn multiple internal models. It is not clear, however, whether and how contextual cues are used to switch among competing internal models, which are required to compensate for altered environments. To investigate this question, we asked healthy participants to perform center-out pointing movements under normal and distorted visual feedback (0°, 30° counterclockwise, and 60° clockwise rotation of hand-screen cursor relationships) conditions. The results suggest that humans can learn multiple environments simultaneously and can use contextual cues to facilitate adaptation and to recall the appropriate internal model of the visuomotor transformation.

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Cheryl Glazebrook, Digby Elliott, James Lyons and Luc Tremblay

This study investigated inhibition of return in persons with and without Down syndrome (DS) when visual or verbal cues were used to specify a target in a crossmodal paradigm. Individuals with DS and without DS performed manual aiming movements to a target located in right or left hemispace. The target was specified by an endogenous visual or verbal stimulus. Both groups were significantly slower when responding to the same target as the previous trial when the target was cued in a different modality. Although participants with DS initiated and executed their movements more slowly, they demonstrated a similar pattern of inhibition as people without DS, suggesting that inhibitory processes are functioning normally in persons with DS.

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Jimmy Sanderson

This case study examines star Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens’s image-repair strategies during a press conference he held to respond to allegations that he had used steroids and human-growth hormones earlier in his playing career. When professional athletes are confronted with allegations of cheating or illegitimately enhancing their athletic performance, they are faced with a crisis situation, and selecting and performing the appropriate response is paramount in repairing their image and mitigating personal harm (e.g., loss of endorsements). In many cases, however, professional athletes rely on attorneys, agents, or other individuals who might underestimate the relevance of appropriately communicating image repair, thereby resulting in the athlete’s image being further damaged. Although Clemens employed various image-repair strategies during his press conference, his failure to enact these strategies appropriately further harmed his reputation and ultimately raised more questions than he answered.

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Larry Lauer and Craig Paiement

The Playing Tough and Clean Hockey Program was developed to teach youth hockey players ages 12 and older to play within the rules and enhance their ability to respond positively to their negative emotions (i.e., through emotional toughness). Hockey players were taught cognitive and emotional skills within a 3 R’s routine to decrease aggressive acts. Three youth ice hockey players identified as frequently exhibiting aggressive behaviors participated in 10 sessions. A single-subject design was used to analyze participants’ aggressive behaviors as well as emotional toughness. Results reveal slight improvements in all participants, with the largest reductions in retaliatory and major aggressive acts. Several key implications for practice are provided including the use of routines and managing emotional responses.

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Symeon Vlachopoulos, Stuart Biddle and Kenneth Fox

This study examined how achievement goal orientations, perceived sport competence, perceptions of success, and perceived outcome attributions affect children’s exercise-induced feeling states following physical exercise. The construct validity of the Exercise-Induced Feeling Inventory and a modification of the Causal Dimension Scale II for children was also investigated. Children (N = 304) responded to measures on the above scales. Task orientation, perceived success, and an ego orientation, combined with high perceptions of sport competence, were positive predictors of states of positive engagement, revitalization, and tranquillity; only task orientation was a negative predictor of physical exhaustion. The locus of causality dimension appeared to mediate the impact of perceptions of success on positive engagement, but with a negligible effect. The results were consistent with previous findings highlighting the motivational advantage of adopting a task orientation in physical achievement situations and demonstrated the role of task orientation as a determinant of affect in exercise testing in children.

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Niilo Koettinen and Heikki Lyytinen

Preshot brain slow potential (SP) shifts from frontal, central, centro-lateral, and occipital areas were recorded for 12 national-caliber sharpshooters during rifle-shooting performance. The aim of the study was to examine the intra-and intersubject variation in these SP profiles and to compare the superior performance to the poor performance. The results revealed that each shooter responded with one main SP profile in both performance categories. The other profiles represented outliers rather than substantial variation. The main profiles differed from subject to subject, presumably indicating several shooting styles. Finally, the main profiles related to high and low score shots could be differentiated, but this differentiation varied from subject to subject. The results were interpreted as showing that a shooter tends systematically to carry through a learned performance pattern, which is reflected in the main SP profile of the superior shots. If the shooter fails to follow this pattern, the shot is preceded by different SP changes.

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Joon-Ho Kang, Richard P. Bagozzi and Jawang Oh

Although emotion has occasionally been examined as a dependent variable or outcome of physical activity involvement, it rarely has been studied as an antecedent. This study examines the role of emotion in decision-making processes for participant sport consumption. A structural model is proposed to integrate emotions with self-image congruency and attitudes as antecedents of the decision to initiate physical activity in the consumption context. Context effects were investigated by two scenarios: (1) joining a private health club and (2) skiing in an indoor ski resort. A total of 199 persons responded, and structural equation models were examined. The results indicate that emotion mediates the influence of attitudes and self-image congruency on the decision to join the club and resort. The pattern of the relationships among utilitarian, self-based, and emotive evaluations depends on the sport consumption context. Discussion of theoretical and practical issues is presented and directions for future research are suggested.

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Linda M. Petlichkoff

This study examined group differences among interscholastic sport participants (Le., starters, nonstarters, and survivors) on several psychological constructs. Specifically, achievement goal orientations, perceived ability, and costs/benefits of involvement were examined over the course of an interscholastic sport season. Athletes (N=249) responded to an Interscholastic Sport Questionnaire on three occasions during the season. The results from a doubly multivariate repeated-measures MANOVA revealed a significant Player Status × Time of Assessment interaction. Follow-up analyses for player status differences indicated that perceived ability contributed substantially to group differences. Specifically, starters rated their perceived ability higher than survivors at all three assessments, and higher than nonstarters at the initial assessment. For the time-of-season differences, only survivors differed significantly across the three assessments on the mastery and ability goal orientations, and level of satisfaction. Results indicated that the end-of-season assessments for survivors were lower on each measure than at both the tryout and prior-to-competition assessments.

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Ronald E. McCarville, Christopher M. Flood and Tabatha A. Froats

Sponsorship has become a major source of funding for special and on-going sporting events. However, sponsors may question return on their investment in such events. Managers may find that potential sponsors are reluctant to invest in sporting activities as a result. This paper addresses the issue of return on investment by monitoring reaction to a sponsor's promotional efforts in an experimental setting. In the context offered by a hypothetical nonprofit sporting event, participants were randomly assigned to groups who received (a) basic information about the sponsor, (b) discount coupons offered by the sponsor, and (c) trial samples of the sponsor's product (pizza). Those who received the product trial responded most positively to the sponsorship message. They rated the sponsor's product in more positive terms and were more likely to intend to purchase that product within the next month. Conversely, promotions that presented only logos, sponsor's telephone numbers, slogans or coupons generally failed to alter perceptions of the product or sponsor.