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Jane P. Sheldon

One’s perceived competence relates to participation and effort and can vary depending on the self-evaluation sources that athletes value. Ruble and Frey (1991) theorized that phase of skill development may affect one’s preference for different sorts of competence information. The present study tested Ruble and Frey’s model using a sample of 466 adult tennis players. Skill level was athletes’ United States Tennis Association rating. Participants rated the personal importance of tennis and the importance of different sources of self-assessment information. Results showed that beginners were more likely to value temporal comparisons, and advanced players were more likely to value social comparisons. Players rating tennis as highly important were more likely to value temporal comparisons and effort for self-assessment. The findings support Ruble and Frey’s model.

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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.

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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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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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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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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.

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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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Ross Roberts, Mike Rotheram, Ian Maynard, Owen Thomas and Tim Woodman

The present investigation examined whether perfectionism might predict whether an athlete would suffer from the ‘yips’ (a long term movement disorder consisting of involuntary movements that affects the execution of motor skills). A sample of ‘yips’-affected individuals from golf, cricket, and darts as well as a sport-matched sample of non ’yips’-affected athletes completed the shortened version of Frost, Marten, Lahart, and Rosenblate’s (1990) multidimensional perfectionism scale (FMPS). Results revealed that three aspects of perfectionism (personal standards, organization, and concern over mistakes) were associated with a greater likelihood of suffering from the ‘yips’, indicating that ‘yips’ sufferers had an unhealthy perfectionism profile. The results highlight perfectionism as a possible antecedent of the ‘yips’ experience within sport.

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Stephen Mellalieu, David A. Shearer and Catherine Shearer

Interpersonal conflict is a common factor reported by governing bodies and their athletes when preparing for, or competing in, major games and championships (Olusoga, Butt, Hays, & Maynard, 2009). The aim of this study was to conduct a preliminary exploration of a UK home nation’s athletes, management, and support staff experiences of interpersonal conflict during competition. Ninety participants who had represented or worked for their nation at major games or championships completed a detailed survey of interpersonal conflict experiences associated with competition. The results suggest athletes, coaches, and team managers are at the greatest risk from interpersonal conflict, while the competition venue and athlete village are where the most incidences of conflict occur. Interpersonal conflict was also suggested to predominantly lead to negative cognitive, affective, and behavioral consequences (disagreement, anger, upset, loss in concentration). Findings are discussed in the context of the experience of the interpersonal conflict with provisional recommendations offered for developing effective strategies for conflict management.

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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.