Research has demonstrated that coaches experience stress because of the nature of their job and that stress can affect their physical and mental well-being (Richman, 1992; Wang & Ramsey, 1998). The purpose of the present study was to better understand coaches’ experiences with stress, the perceived effects of stress on their coaching performance, and their coping strategies. A semistructured interview approach was used with 10 NCAA Division I male and female head coaches. The five major themes that characterized the coaches’ experiences were contextual/conditional factors, sources of stress, responses and effects of stress, managing stress, and sources of enjoyment. The results are discussed in relation to Smith’s (1986) cognitive-affective model of stress. Opportunities for future research are suggested, and implications for practitioners who want to help coaches manage the stress of their profession are offered.
Lorcan D. Cronin and Justine B. Allen
The present study explored the relationships between the coaching climate, youth developmental experiences (personal and social skills, cognitive skills, goal setting, and initiative) and psychological well-being (self-esteem, positive affect, and satisfaction with life). In total, 202 youth sport participants (Mage = 13.4, SD = 1.8) completed a survey assessing the main study variables. Findings were consistent with Benson and Saito’s (2001) framework for youth development. In all analyses, the coaching climate was related to personal and social skills, cognitive skills, goal setting, and initiative. Mediational analysis also revealed that the development of personal and social skills mediated the relationships between the coaching climate and all three indices of psychological well-being (self-esteem, positive affect, and satisfaction with life). Interpretation of the results suggests that coaches should display autonomy-supportive coaching behaviors because they are related to the developmental experiences and psychological well-being of youth sport participants.
Jack A. G. Marlow and Mark Uphill
This study explored the characteristics, contextual factors and consequences of counterfactual thoughts in seven elite athletes using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Counterfactuals were experienced regularly with self-directed and upward counterfactuals (cognitions about how things could be better) being most frequent. These upward counterfactuals typically occurred following performance that was below participants’ goals and expectations. These thoughts were perceived by participants to have a negative affect initially, and that they then led to facilitative behavioral consequences around learning and development. Some elements of counterfactual thinking could be used as a useful reflective tool to encourage elite athletes to problem solve and motivate cognitive, emotional and behavioral change to enhance future performance.
Ron A. Thompson
While college women in general are at risk for anorexia nervosa and bulimia, these disorders may present more of a problem for the student-athlete due to her weight/body consciousness and the pressure associated with athletic competition at the college or university level. This paper discusses the physical and psychological characteristics of each disorder, their etiology, and how each affects the life and performance of the athlete. Recommendations are offered regarding the role of the sport management team (i.e., sport psychologist, team physician, coach, athletic trainer, exercise physiologist) in assisting the eating-disordered athlete.
Kathleen A. Martin, Sandra E. Moritz and Craig R. Hall
Research examining imagery use by athletes is reviewed within the context of an applied model for sport. The model conceptualizes the sport situation, the type of imagery used, and imagery ability as factors that influence how imagery use can affect an athlete. Three broad categories of imagery effects are examined: (a) skill and strategy learning and performance, (b) cognitive modification, and (c) arousal and anxiety regulation. Recommendations are offered for the operationalization and measurement of constructs within the model, and suggestions are provided for how the model may guide future research and application.
Roy David Samuel and Gershon Tenenbaum
Throughout their careers, athletes may encounter various changes that interfere with their existing “athletic status quo.” During these transitional periods, change can occur in diverse levels of the athletic experience. In this paper we introduce a “scheme of change for sport psychology practice” (SCSPP) to describe typical characteristics of athletes’ change-events and processes. The SCSPP focuses on: (a) the stages that unfold as athletes encounter and address changes in their careers, and (b) the psychological-therapeutic process that might facilitate an effective personal change. The process of change is evaluated in terms of its meaning and significance for athletes, the associated decisions athletes make, and fluctuations in cognition and affect. In addition, we describe a therapeutic framework that includes a number of processes of change as interventions, which may facilitate consultants’ attempts to guide athletes who experience change-events, and factors that moderate these attempts. Avenues for research and practical implications are also provided.
Robert C. Eklund
In order to extend Gould, Eklund, and Jackson’s (1992a) investigation with 1988 U.S. Olympic wrestlers, Eklund (1994) reported results from a season-long investigation of cognition during performance among collegiate wrestlers. This manuscript expands the account of that season-long investigation by reporting precompetitive cognition and affect—the psychological experience immediately prior to match performance—associated with performance. Qualitative data were collected from 6 NCAA Division I wrestlers via indepth retrospective interviews regarding all-time best and worst performances within 2’days of 38 season matches. Observable patterns in the organization and content of precompetitive psychological experience were identified in high, moderate, and low quality performances and observations made regarding associations with the competitive psychological experience.
Thomas D. Raedeke and Gary L. Stein
This study examined the relationship between felt arousal, thoughts/feelings, and ski performance based on recent arousal and affect conceptualizations. An eclectic integration of these perspectives suggests that to understand the arousal-performance relationship, researchers need to examine not only a felt arousal continuum (i.e., intensity or level ranging from low to high), but also a concomitant thoughts and feelings continuum (i.e., ranging from positive to negative). Recreational slalom ski racers completed a self-report measure examining felt arousal and thoughts/feelings prior to several ski runs. Results demonstrated a significant relationship between felt arousal level, thoughts/feelings, and subjective ski performance ratings, but not for actual ski times. In contrast to the inverted-U hypothesis for subjective performance ratings, high felt arousal is not associated with poor performance ratings if it is accompanied by positive thoughts and feelings.
Daniel T. Bishop, Costas I. Karageorghis and Noel P. Kinrade
The main objective of the current study was to examine the impact of musically induced emotions on athletes’ subsequent choice reaction time (CRT) performance. A random sample of 54 tennis players listened to researcher-selected music whose tempo and intensity were modified to yield six different music excerpts (three tempi × two intensities) before completing a CRT task. Affective responses, heart rate (HR), and RTs for each condition were contrasted with white noise and silence conditions. As predicted, faster music tempi elicited more pleasant and aroused emotional states; and higher music intensity yielded both higher arousal (p < .001) and faster subsequent CRT performance (p < .001). White noise was judged significantly less pleasant than all experimental conditions (p < .001); and silence was significantly less arousing than all but one experimental condition (p < .001). The implications for athletes’ use of music as part of a preevent routine when preparing for reactive tasks are discussed.
Maurizio Bertollo, Selenia di Fronso, Edson Filho, Vito Lamberti, Patrizio Ripari, Victor Machado Reis, Silvia Comani, Laura Bortoli and Claudio Robazza
We conducted a counterbalanced repeated measure trial to investigate the effect of different internal and external associative strategies on endurance performance. Seventeen college-aged students were randomly assigned to three experimental conditions to test the notion that different attention-performance types (optimal Type 1, functional Type 2, and dysfunctional Type 3) would influence endurance time on a cycling task. Specifically, Type 1 represented an effortless and automatic, “flow-feeling” attentional mode. Type 2 referred to an associative focus directed at core components of the task. Type 3 represented an attentional focus directed at irrelevant components of the task. Participants completed three time-to-exhaustion-tests while reporting their perceived exertion and affective states (arousal and hedonic tone). Results revealed that Type 1 and Type 2 attentional strategies, compared with Type 3 strategy, exerted functional effects on performance, whereas a Type 3 strategy was linked to lower performance, and lower levels of arousal and pleasantness. Applied implications are discussed.