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Christine Stopka, Kevin Morley, Ronald Siders, Josh Schuette, Ashley Houck and Yul Gilmet

Objective/Context:

To examine the effects of static and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching in Special Olympics athletes and their coaches on sit-and-reach performance.

Design/Participants:

Repeated-measures ANOVA with Scheffé post hoc analyses on 2 groups: Special Olympics athletes (n = 18, mean age = 15.7) and their coaches without mental retardation (n = 44, mean age = 22.2).

Intervention/Outcome Measures:

Stretching performance was measured in centimeters using a sit-and-reach flexibility box, examining 2 series of 3 stretches. For both groups, the first set of 3 stretches was performed in the following order: baseline, static, PNF. Three to 4 weeks later, the order of the stretches was reversed: baseline, PNF, static.

Results:

PNF stretching improved performance regardless of stretching order after baseline and static measures. Static stretching improved performance only from baseline.

Conclusions:

Individuals of various ages and cognitive abilities can apparently perform and benefit from PNF stretching.

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Shawn S. Kao, Richard W. Sellens and Joan M. Stevenson

A wind tunnel test was conducted to empirically determine the relationship between the Magnus force (M), spin rate (ω), and linear velocity (V) of a spiked volleyball. This relationship was applied in a two-dimensional mathematical model for the trajectory of the spiked volleyball. After being validated mathematically and empirically, the model was used to analyze three facets of play that a coach must address: the importance of topspin, possibility of overblock spiking, and optimum spiking points. It was found that topspin can increase the spiking effectiveness dramatically in many ways. It was also found that a shot spiked from about 2 m behind the net has the least possibility of being blocked.

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Erik Lundkvist, Henrik Gustafsson, Paul Davis and Peter Hassmén

The aims of this study were to (a) examine the associations between workaholism and work-related exhaustion and (b) examine associations between work–home/ home–work interference and work-related exhaustion in 261 Swedish coaches. Quantile regression showed that workaholism is only associated with exhaustion for coaches who score high on exhaustion, that negative work–home interference has a stronger association with exhaustion than negative home–work interference, and that the coaches on a mean level scored low on all measured constructs. In addition, coaches in the higher percentiles have a higher risk for burnout. Our results highlight the importance of studying coach exhaustion with respect to aspects that extend beyond the sports life.

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Frank L. Smoll, Ronald E. Smith and Sean P. Cumming

Mastery-oriented motivational climates and achievement goal orientations have been associated with a range of salutary and clinically relevant outcomes in both educational and sport research. In view of this, an intervention was developed for youth sport coaches designed to promote a mastery motivational climate, and a field experiment was conducted to assess its effects on changes in athletes’ achievement goal orientations over the course of a sport season. The experimental group was comprised of 155 boys and girls, who played for 20 basketball coaches; 70 youngsters played for 17 control group coaches. The coach intervention resulted in higher Mastery-climate scores and lower Ego-climate scores compared with the control condition, and athletes who played for the trained coaches exhibited significant increases in Mastery goal orientation scores and significant decreases in Ego-orientation scores across the season, whereas control group participants did not. Practical and theoretical implications of the findings are discussed.

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Isobelle J.R. Biggin, Jan H. Burns and Mark Uphill

Research suggests elite athletes have an equal—or, in some circumstances, possibly higher—probability of developing mental ill-health as the general population. However, understanding of these issues among athletes and coaches remains largely limited. The perceptions of mental-health problems among 19 elite athletes and 16 coaches were explored using two concurrent three-round Delphi surveys whose responses were compared. Athletes and coaches expressed different opinions and experiences of mental ill-health among elite athletes. However, both groups felt the pressure athletes place on themselves is a significant contributing factor and that obsessional compulsive tendencies and anxiety may be particularly prevalent. While associated stigma was thought to be a barrier to seeking support, both groups felt sport and clinical psychologists would provide the most appropriate support, with coaches playing an important signposting role. Implications for athletes, coaches, and clinical and sport psychologists are explored and suggestions for future research are presented.

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Louise Davis and Sophia Jowett

Grounded in Bowlby’s (1969/1982, 1988) attachment theory, this study aimed to explore (a) the pervasiveness of the three main functions of attachment within the context of the coach-athlete relationship, (b) the associations of athletes’ attachment styles with such important variables as satisfaction with the relationship and satisfaction with the sport, and (c) the process by which athletes’ attachment styles and satisfaction with sport are associated. Data were collected through self-report measures of attachment functions and styles as well as relationship satisfaction and sport satisfaction from 309 student athletes (males = 150, females = 159) whose age ranged from 18 to 28 years (Mage = 19.9, SD = 1.58 years). Athletes’ mean scores indicated that the coach was viewed as an attachment figure fulfilling all three functions of secure base, safe haven, and proximity maintenance. Bivariate correlations indicated that athletes’ avoidant and anxious styles of attachment with the coach were negatively correlated with both relationship satisfaction and sport satisfaction. Mediational regression analysis revealed that athletes’ satisfaction with the coach-athlete relationship may be a process that links athletes’ attachment styles with levels of satisfaction with sport. The findings from this study highlight the potential theoretical and practical utility of attachment theory in studying relationships within the sport context.

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Sophia Jowett

Four studies were conducted to assess the psychometric properties and the theoretical basis of a version of the Inventory of Desirable Responding in Relationships, which was originally developed and validated for the assessment of romantic relationships, in a different relational context (i.e., coach-athlete relationships). The first study aimed to address the content validity of the modified inventory, the Inventory of Desirable Responding in Coach-Athlete Relationship (IDR-CART) scale. The second study employed factor analytic techniques to examine its psychometric properties. Results confirmed the two-factor structure of the inventory: self-deception (CART-SD) and impression management (CART-IM). In the third study, data were collected under public and anonymous conditions. Results revealed, however, that neither condition supported the factor structure, thereby casting doubt on theoretical assumptions. The fourth study demonstrated that CART-SD is associated with indices of relationship quality, providing evidence of convergent validity. Limitations and future research directions are discussed.

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John V. Stokes and James K. Luiselli

Functional analysis (FA) is an experimental methodology for identifying the behavior-reinforcing effects of social and non-social consequences. The data produced from a FA are used to select intervention procedures. In this case study, we conducted a FA with a male high school football athlete by manipulating social contingencies within practice tackling drills. The FA suggested that the highest percentage of correct tackling occurred when the participant was able to “escape” interaction with the coach following drills. After demonstrating that the participant had a low percentage of correct tackling during a baseline (preintervention) phase, the coach provided him delayed written performance feedback after practice. This intervention was associated with a higher percentage of correct tackling. The participant also tackled proficiently during a postintervention in-game assessment. The advantages of conducting a FA when intervening with athletes are discussed.

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James K. Luiselli, Neelima G. Duncan, Patrick Keary, Elizabeth Godbold Nelson, Rebecca E. Parenteau and Kathryn E. Woods

We evaluated several behavioral coaching procedures with two young adults who had intellectual and developmental disabilities and were preparing for a Special Olympics track event. The primary dependent measure was their time running a 100 m sprint. Following a baseline phase, the athletes were coached to improve sprint times through different combinations of goal setting, performance feedback, positive reinforcement, and video modeling. In a sequential design, the average sprint time of both athletes was lower during intervention conditions compared with baseline. Following intervention, they ran faster than their baseline average in competition at a regional Special Olympics event. We discuss intervention and research issues in behavioral coaching of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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María Sol Alvarez, Isabel Balaguer, Isabel Castillo and Joan L. Duda

Drawing from the theories of self-determination (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2000) achievement goals (AGT; Nicholls, 1989), and, in particular, Vallerand’s four-stage casual sequence embedded in his hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (HMIEM; Vallerand, 1997, 2001), this study tested a motivational model in the sport context via structural equation modeling (SEM). Based on the responses of 370 young male soccer players (M age = 14.77), the path analysis results offered overall support for the proposed model. A perceived task-involving climate emerged as a positive predictor of the satisfaction of the three psychological needs, while a perceived ego-involving climate was a negative predictor of related-ness satisfaction. The results also support positive paths between satisfaction of the three psychological needs and intrinsic motivation, while intrinsic motivation was positively linked to subjective vitality and future intention to participate. The implications of the coach-created motivational climate are discussed in the light of its implications for the quality and potential maintenance of sport involvement among young athletes.