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Jonathan R. Males and John H. Kerr

This paper examines the relationship between precompetitive affect and performance, using elements of reversal theory (Apter, 1982): a conceptual framework that incorporates a full range of pleasant and unpleasant moods. Nine elite male slalom canoeists completed questionnaires prior to each event of a season that included the world championships. Results were analyzed using a time-series model to make comparisons of each subject’s best and worst performance of the season. Predicted variations in precompetitive levels of pleasant and unpleasant mood did not occur, despite variations in subsequent performances. As predicted, good performances were preceded by low discrepancies between felt and preferred arousal levels, but there was no support for the hypothesis that a large discrepancy between perceived stress and coping efforts would precede a poor performance.

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Leslee A. Fisher, Ted M. Butryn and Emily A. Roper

The central purpose of this paper is to speculate on the ways that sport psychology researchers, educators, and practitioners can use a cultural studies perspective to enhance their research and applied work. At base, cultural studies critiques and challenges existing norms and practices and examines how these practices affect people in their everyday lives (Hall, 1996a). Although cultural studies has been notoriously difficult to define (see Storey, 1996), most cultural studies projects deal with the interrelated issues of (a) social difference, (b) the distribution of power, and (c) social justice. In this paper, cultural studies is first defined, incorporating sport-related examples wherever possible. Next, key concepts in cultural studies including power, privilege, and praxis are explored. We then discuss how sport psychology scholars and practitioners might promote an “athletes-as-citizens” (Sage, 1993) model of service provision in the applied setting.

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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.

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Daniel Gould, Larry Lauer, Cristina Rolo, Caroline Jannes and Nori Pennisi

This study was designed to investigate experienced coaches’ perceptions of the parent’s role in junior tennis and identify positive and negative parental behaviors and attitudes. Six focus groups were conducted with 24 coaches. Content analysis of coaches’ responses revealed that most parents were positive influences and espoused an appropriate perspective of tennis, emphasized child development, and were supportive. In contrast, a minority of parents were perceived as negative, demanding and overbearing, and exhibiting an outcome orientation. New findings included parents’ setting limits on tennis and emphasizing a child’s total development, as well as the identification of behaviors that represent parental overinvolvement and that negatively affect coaching. Results are discussed relative to sport-parenting literature, and practical implications are outlined.

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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.

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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.

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Jim Taylor

This article provides a conceptual model that describes several critical aspects in the development of competitive mental preparation strategies: (a) a complete understanding of the specific needs of the athlete, (b) detailed knowledge of the particular demands of the sport, (c) integration of this information to identify the most critical psychological factors that will affect performance, and (d) a the development of the most effective competitive mental preparation strategies for the specific athlete. This discussion is presented in several stages. First, gaining an in-depth understanding of an athlete with the use of subjective and objective assessment is described. Second, the critical physical, technical, and logistical differences between sports are delineated. Third, the roles that key psychological factors play and what priority they should be given in each sport are discussed. Fourth, strategies that are most suitable to each mental factor within each sport are identified.

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Daryl Marchant and Petah Gibbs

Case example material of sport psychologists working with psychopathology in sport settings is limited. Applied sport psychologists need to be attuned to athletes with personality disorders because the effects of various disorders require substantial management as they can seriously impede individual potential and affect team harmony. In the present paper, a case example of an elite athlete presenting with symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is discussed at length. Critical incidents are described to show BPD manifested in a professional sports context. The complexities of providing competent, ethical, and realistic solutions to the athlete with BPD proved to be especially challenging. Issues that posed significant ethical or practical concerns included making an initial diagnosis, the referral process, maintaining confidentiality, and secondary needs.

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Sandra E. Short, Jared M. Bruggeman, Scott G. Engel, Tracy L. Marback, Lori J. Wang, Anders Willadsen and Martin W. Short

This experiment examined the interaction between two imagery functions (Cognitive Specific, CS; and Motivation - General Mastery, MG-M) and two imagery directions (facilitative, debilitative) on self-efficacy and performance in golf putting. Eighty-three participants were randomly assigned to one of 7 conditions: (a) CS + facilitative imagery, (b) CS + debilitative imagery, (c) MG-M + facilitative imagery, (d) MG-M + debilitative imagery, (e) CS imagery only, (f) MG-M imagery only, (g) no imagery (stretching) control group. A 3 (imagery direction) X 3 (imagery function) X 2 (gender) ANCOVA with pretest scores used as the covariate was used. Results showed a main effect for performance; means were higher for the facilitative group compared to the debilitative group. For self-efficacy, there was a significant imagery direction by imagery function by gender interaction. These findings suggest imagery direction and imagery function can affect self-efficacy and performance and that males and females respond differently to imagery interventions.

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Lewis A. Curry and Sameep D. Maniar

The purpose of this paper is to describe content and methods of an academic course offered twice annually at an NCAA Division I University. With empirical support to the effectiveness of this academic approach to psychological skills training presented elsewhere (Curry & Maniar, 2003), the focus of this paper is on the type and extent of each intervention treatment during the 15-week semester course (Vealey, 1994). Course content includes applied strategies for best performance targeting, arousal/affect control, identifying purpose, goal setting, imagery, sport confidence, trust, flow, sport nutrition, on-/off-field problem solving, self-esteem, and life skills education on eating disorders and drug/alcohol abuse. Teaching methods include narrative story telling, small group activities, journal writing, cognitive-behavioral homework, brainteasers, and active learning demonstrations.