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Luke Sage and Maria Kavussanu

In this experiment we examined the effects of task and ego involvement on three measures of moral behavior—prosocial choice, observed prosocial behavior, and observed antisocial behavior—in a competitive setting. We also investigated sex differences in moral behavior. Male (n = 48) and female (n = 48) college students were randomly assigned to a task-involving, an ego-involving, or a control condition. Participants played two 10-min games of table soccer and completed measures of prosocial choice, goal involvement, goal orientation, and demographics. The two games were recorded, and frequencies of prosocial and antisocial behavior were coded. Players assigned to the task-involving condition were higher in prosocial choice than those in the ego-involving or control conditions. Individuals in the ego-involving condition displayed more antisocial behaviors than those in the task-involving or control conditions. Finally, females displayed more prosocial behaviors than males.

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Richard R Albrecht and Deborah L. Feltz

The Test of Attentional and Interpersonal Style (TAIS) was developed as an objective measure by which an individual's attentional predisposition could be identified and used to predict performance on a variety of tasks. The present study had three purposes: (a) to construct a baseball/softball batting (B-TAIS) version of each TAIS attentional subscale, (b) to compare TAIS and B-TAIS reliability, and (c) to compare TAIS and B-TAIS validity. Both instruments were administered to 29 intercollegiate baseball and softball players. The B-TAIS demonstrated slightly higher test-restest reliability on five of the six attentional subscales and was higher than the TAIS in internal consistency on all subscales. Batting performance was positively related to all B-TAIS subscales assessing effective attentional deployment and negatively related to all subscales assessing ineffective attention. Significant positive correlations also existed between B-TAIS ineffective subscale scores and competitive trait anxiety. However, these relationships were not found with the general TAIS.

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Lynne Evans, Leigh Jones and Richard Mullen

The purpose of the present study was to explore the use of imagery by an elite rugby union football player and to examine the effects of an imagery intervention in a practical performance environment. The study took place over a 14-week period of the competitive season. Data collection comprised semi-structured interviews, diaries, and the Sport Imagery Questionnaire. The findings suggested that the participant primarily used cognitive specific and cognitive general imagery. Post-intervention, the participant reported greater clarity; detail; control over his anxiety, activation, and motivation levels; an improvement in his ability to generate confidence in his playing ability prior to games; and more structure to his imagery use. The study highlighted the importance of individualizing imagery interventions to meet the specific needs of different athletes.

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Megan L. Babkes and Maureen R. Weiss

This study examined the relationship between children’s perceptions of parental influence and their psychosocial responses to competitive soccer participation. Female (n = 114) and male (n = 113) athletes completed self-reports of soccer competence, enjoyment, intrinsic motivation, and parents’ influence on their participation. Mothers (n = 160) and fathers (n = 123) reported their own attitudes and behaviors toward their child’s participation. Regression analyses revealed that mothers and fathers who were perceived as positive exercise role models, who had more positive beliefs about their child’s competency, and who gave more frequent positive contingent responses to performance successes were associated with athletes who had higher perceived competence, enjoyment, and intrinsic motivation. Children who also perceived their fathers as being more involved in their soccer participation and exerting lower amounts of pressure to perform had more positive psychosocial responses. However, a nonsignificant relationship was found for mother and father reported influence with children’s psychosocial responses.

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Daniel Gould, Eileen Udry, Suzanne Tuffey and James Loehr

This is the third in a series of manuscripts reporting results from a research project designed to examine burnout in competitive junior tennis players. Individual differences in burnout are examined by discussing idiographic profiles from three athletes who were identified as having burned out in the earlier phases of the project. These cases were chosen as they represented different substrains of social psychologically driven and physically driven burnout. In particular, the three cases included: (a) a player characterized by high levels of perfectionism and overtraining; (b) a player who experienced pressure from others and a need for a social life; and (c) a player who was physically overtrained and had inappropriate goals. It was concluded that although important patterns result from content analyses across participants, the unique experience of each individual must be recognized.

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Daniel Gould, Suzanne Tuffey, Eileen Udry and James Loehr

This study reports results from the first phase of a large-scale research project designed to examine burnout in competitive junior tennis players. Thirty junior tennis burnout and 32 comparison players, identified by U.S. Tennis Association personnel, voluntarily completed a battery of psychological assessments. A series of discriminant function analyses and univariate t-tests revealed that burned out, as contrasted to comparison players, had significantly: (a) higher burnout scores; (b) less input into training; (c) were more likely to have played high school tennis; (d) more likely played up in age division; (e) practiced fewer days; (f) were lower in external motivation; (g) were higher in amotivation; (h) reported being more withdrawn; (i) differed on a variety of perfectionism subscales; (j) were less likely to use planning coping strategies; and (k) were lower on positive interpretation and growth coping. It was concluded that in addition to a variety of personal and situational predictors of burnout, perfectionism plays a particularly important role.

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Roger Feltman and Andrew J. Elliot

Recent research has revealed that a person or team wearing red is more likely to win a physical contest than a person or team wearing another color. In the present research, we examined whether red influences perceptions of relative dominance and threat in an imagined same-sex competitive context, and did so attending to the distinction between wearing red oneself and viewing red on an opponent. Results revealed a bidirectional effect: wearing red enhanced perceptions of one’s relative dominance and threat, and viewing an opponent in red enhanced perceptions of the opponent’s relative dominance and threat. These effects were observed across sex, and participants seemed unaware of the influence of red on their responses. Our findings lead to practical suggestions regarding the use of colored attire in sport contexts, and add to an emerging, provocative literature indicating that red has a subtle but important influence on psychological functioning.

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S. Jill Black and Maureen R. Weiss

Based on Barter's competence motivation theory, this study examined the relationships between perceived coaching behaviors and (a) perceptions of ability and (b) motivation in competitive age-group swimmers. Male and female athletes (N=312) assessed their coaches' behaviors and their own ability and motivation using self-report measures. Multivariate analyses indicated that significant relationships were found for males, females, 12–14-year-olds, and 15-18-year-olds. Variables contributing most importantly to the relationships differed depending upon gender and age group. In general, coaches who were perceived as giving more frequent information following desirable performances, and more frequent encouragement combined with information following undesirable performances, were associated with athletes who perceived higher levels of success, competence, enjoyment, and preference for optimally challenging activities. These results indicate that young athletes' self-perceptions and motivation are significantly related to the quantity and quality of coaching feedback they receive for performance successes and errors.

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Vikki Krane

Two studies were designed to test the validity of the Mental Readiness Form (MRF; Murphy, Greenspan, Jowdy, and Tammen, 1989) with collegiate athletes. In Study 1, male and female athletes completed the CSAI-2 and the original or a modified MRF within 60 minutes prior to competition. In Study 2, subjects completed two forms of the MRF with slightly different anchor terms, the CSAI-2, trait anxiety measures, and a social desirability scale. Overall, results indicated moderate to strong correlations between corresponding CSAI-2 subscales and MRF items, supporting its concurrent validity. The intercorrelations among MRF items were high, but were similar to the intercorrelations among CSAI-2 subscales. Correlations with trait anxiety also supported the concurrent validity of the MRF. None of the MRF scales or the CSAI-2 were significantly correlated with social desirability. The preliminary analyses in these studies provide initial support for the MRF as a measure of competitive anxiety when expediency is an important concern.

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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.