This paper presents general considerations for working with athletes with disabilities and the usefulness and possible modification of specific mental skills for those athletes. Common concerns for athletes with specific disabilities are discussed. Specific disabilities are considered under the headings of amputees, blind and visually impaired, cerebral palsy, deaf and hearing impaired, intellectual disabilities, and wheelchair. Arousal control, goal setting, attention/concentration, body awareness, imagery, self-confidence, and precompetition preparation are discussed in terms of disability-specific issues as well as suggestions for application.
Stephanie J. Hanrahan
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.
This study examined the self-efficacy and affective responses to an acute exercise bout in sedentary older and younger women to determine whether aging has an effect on affective states.
Twenty-five sedentary younger (mean age = 19.9 yrs) and 25 older (mean age = 55.7 yrs) women completed an acute bout of exercise. Affective responses were measured before, during, and immediately following exercise. Self-efficacy responses were measured before and immediately following exercise.
Positive engagement, revitalization, tranquility, Felt Arousal and Feeling Scale responses, and self-efficacy were all higher immediately following compared with before or during exercise for both groups of women. In addition, older women experienced higher overall positive engagement and lower physical exhaustion compared with younger women as well as higher tranquility and Feeling Scale responses immediately following exercise.
This investigation found that an acute bout of moderate-intensity exercise produced more positive and fewer negative affective states in both younger and older women.
Robert F. Potter and Justin Robert Keene
An experiment investigates the impact of fan identification on the cognitive and emotional processing of sports-related news media. Two coaches were featured; one conceptualized as negatively valenced the other positively. Participants completed a fan identification scale before stimuli presentation. While watching the press conferences, heart rate, skin conductance, and corrugator muscle activity were recorded as indices of cognitive resource allocation, emotional arousal, and aversive motivation activation respectively. Self-report measures were collected after each stimulus. Results show that highly identified fans process sports-related news content differently than moderate fans, allocating more cognitive resources and exhibiting greater aversive reactions to the negatively valenced coach. Comparisons between the self-report and psychophysiology data suggest that the latter may be less susceptible to social desirability response bias when emotional reaction to sports messages are concerned.
Liam Johnson, Patricia K. Addamo, Isaac Selva Raj, Erika Borkoles, Victoria Wyckelsma, Elizabeth Cyarto and Remco C. Polman
There is evidence that an acute bout of exercise confers cognitive benefits, but it is largely unknown what the optimal mode and duration of exercise is and how cognitive performance changes over time after exercise. We compared the cognitive performance of 31 older adults using the Stroop test before, immediately after, and at 30 and 60 min after a 10 and 30 min aerobic or resistance exercise session. Heart rate and feelings of arousal were also measured before, during, and after exercise. We found that, independent of mode or duration of exercise, the participants improved in the Stroop Inhibition task immediately postexercise. We did not find that exercise influenced the performance of the Stroop Color or Stroop Word Interference tasks. Our findings suggest that an acute bout of exercise can improve cognitive performance and, in particular, the more complex executive functioning of older adults.
John H. Kingsbury and John M. Tauer
The authors examined the effects of individualistic media images on children’s levels of optimism toward their future basketball careers. Three hundred sixty-five participants watched highlights featuring either Black or White players performing an easy (passing) or difficult skill (slam dunking). Results indicated that participants placed a higher value on slam dunks when they watched them in a highlight tape. In addition, we found the same interaction on 3 dependent variables, such that those who viewed a same-race model performing passes felt more optimistic about playing both college and professional basketball and higher levels of positive arousal. Given Western society’s individualistic culture, the authors suggest that increased exposure to media images that promote unselfishness and teamwork would be beneficial for young athletes.
Michael B. Johnson, William A. Edmonds, Akihito Kamata and Gershon Tenenbaum
The purpose of this article is to present the procedural steps used to derive a person’s Individual Affect-Related Performance Zones (IAPZs). An IAPZ is that range of affect (i.e., arousal and pleasure) within which an individual has a probability of performing at a particular level (e.g., optimal, moderate, or poor). This methodology has been used in a number of research studies but has yet to be operationalized in the literature. The purpose of this procedure is to facilitate training programs designed to improve human performance in any number of domains via idiosyncratic control over affect. The methodology described consists of eight steps: (a) collecting data, (b) categorizing affect and performance level, (c) converting the data, (d) performing logistical ordinal regressions, (e) creating IAPZ curves, (f) creating IAPZ profile charts, (g) plotting within competition states onto IAPZ profile charts, and (h) utilizing IAPZs to select, implement, and evaluate performance enhancement strategies.
Stephanie J. Hanrahan, J. Robert Grove and Richard J. Lockwood
This paper presents the development and implementation of a psychological skills training program for blind athletes. The structure of the program was based on the personal accounts of successful athletes and the results of studies using sighted athletes. Skills designed to give insight to the body/mind relationship, raise or lower arousal levels, maintain motivation, prepare for competition, and improve problem-solving abilities were introduced to the athletes. Participants completed a self-assessment of psychological skills to determine the skill areas they had strengths in and therefore should take advantage of as well as those mental skill areas in which they could improve. A qualitative evaluation of the program is presented and recommendations for future programs are discussed. Overall, few changes were needed to accommodate for the athletes’ visual impairments.
Tim Woodman and Paul A. Davis
The role of repression in the incidence of ironic errors was investigated on a golf task. Coping styles of novice golfers were determined using measures of cognitive anxiety and physiological arousal. Following baseline putts, participants (n = 58) performed a competition putt with the opportunity to win UK£50 (approx. US$100). Before completing the competition putt participants were instructed to “land the ball on the target, but be particularly careful not to over-shoot the target.” The distance the ball traveled past the hole formed the measure of ironic effects. Probing of the coping style × condition interaction, F(2, 41) = 6.53, p < .005, revealed that only the repressors incurred a significant increase in ironic error for the competition putt. This suggests that the act of repressing anxiety has a detrimental performance effect.
Jessica Daw and Damon Burton
This investigation examined the impact of a comprehensive psychological skills training for tennis (PSTT) program on collegiate tennis players. PSTT players were exposed to three psychological skills (goal setting, imagery, and arousal regulation) and then given the opportunity to develop individualized PSTT programs. Program effectiveness was evaluated through (a) case study analyses, (b) intrateam analyses comparing high- and low-commitment PSTT players, and (c) interteam analyses comparing PSTT (n = 12) and non-PSTT (n = 12) players. Results indicated that the PSTT program was successful, with case studies providing strong support for the effectiveness of individual PSTT programs. Additionally, intrateam results revealed that all PSTT players felt their PSTT program helped their tennis games, although high- and low-commitment players differed significantly on only 2 of 15 psychological and performance variables. As expected, interteam results demonstrated significant differences on only 2 of 15 variables, with PSTT players displaying higher state self-confidence and committing fewer double faults than did their non-PSTT counterparts.