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Richard C. Thelwell and Iain A. Greenlees

The present study examined the effects of a mental skills training package on competitive gymnasium triathlon performance and evaluated the utilization and impacts of the mental skills during performance. Four participants competed against each other on ten occasions in a single-subject multiple baseline across individuals design, which was used to evaluate an intervention package including goal setting, relaxation, imagery, and self-talk. The results indicated the mental skills package to be effective in enhancing all participants’ competitive triathlon performance and usage of mental skills from baseline to intervention phases. Qualitative data revealed that each of the mental skills were employed both prior to and during each triathlon and had varying impacts depending on when they were utilized. Issues regarding mental skill effectiveness and usage within competitive endurance performance are discussed.

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Holly F. Serrao, Matthew P. Martens, Jessica L. Martin and Tracey L. Rocha

Large-scale, national research studies have consistently indicated that college students participating in athletics consume more alcohol than nonathletes. Theorists have speculated that a number of risk factors could be associated with heavy drinking among this group, although research in the area has been sparse. The purpose of the current study was to assess the relationship between one possible risk factor, competitiveness, in a sample of recreational and elite college athletes to determine whether competitiveness was related to alcohol use among these athletes. Data were collected from a sample of 298 undergraduates from a large university in the northeastern United States. Results showed that competitiveness was associated with higher amounts of alcohol consumption. Clinical implications and future research directions are discussed.

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Nicola A. Maffiuletti

After a brief introduction on electro stimulation methodology and applications in competitive sport for performance optimization, this technical report presents the principal effects of electro stimulation-induced resistance exercise on neuromus-cular features. The advantages and limitations of this technique compared with those of voluntary exercise training are also discussed.

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Adam Grainger, Paul Comfort and Shane Heffernan

recovery of lower body power (mean and peak CMJ distance) after a competitive rugby league match. These data show the requirement for rugby practitioners to invest in techniques that are believed to return their athletes to optimal competitive condition enabling them to train optimally in the immediate

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Gal Dubnov-Raz, Netachen Livne, Raanan Raz, Daniel Rogel, Avner H. Cohen and Naama W. Constantini

Serum vitamin D concentrations (25[OH]D) are associated with physical performance in the general population, but few studies have been published in athletes. 80 competitive adolescent swimmers from both sexes were tested for serum 25(OH)D concentrations, grip strength, balance and swimming performance at several speeds. Spearman’s correlations were used to examine the associations between 25(OH)D concentrations and age-adjusted measures of performance. Performance parameters were also compared between vitamin D sufficient (n = 27), insufficient (25[OH]D ranging 20−29.9 ng/ml, n = 42), and deficient (25[OH]D < 20 ng/ml, n = 11) participants. No significant associations were found between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and any of the performance measures, with no significant differences found between vitamin D sufficient, insufficient and deficient participants. In competitive adolescent swimmers, serum vitamin D concentrations were not associated with strength, balance or swimming performance. Vitamin D insufficient/deficient swimmers did not have reduced performance.

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Tara K. Scanlan and Michael W. Passer

Identification of factors influencing expectancies of successful performance in competitive youth sports is important to understanding the way in which children perceive and respond to this evaluative achievement situation. Therefore, in this field study involving 10- to 12-year-old female soccer players, intrapersonal factors affecting players' pregame personal performance expectancies were first identified. Soccer ability and self-esteem were found to be related to personal performance expectancies, but competitive trait anxiety was not Second, the impact of game outcome, the previously mentioned intrapersonal variables, and the interaction of game outcome and intrapersonal variables was examined by determining players' postgame team expectancies in a hypothetical rematch with the same opponent. The postgame findings showed that winning players evidenced higher team expectancies than tying and losing players. Moreover, the expectancies of tying players were low and, in fact, similar to those of losers. The results of this study successfully replicated and extended previous findings with young male athletes.

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Harry Prapavessis and Albert V. Carron

One purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between cohesion and competitive state anxiety (A-state). If a cohesion-competition A-state relationship was obtained, the second purpose was to determine whether the perceived psychological benefits and/or psychological costs of cohesiveness mediate that relationship. In order to examine these issues, a sample of interactive sport-team athletes (N = 110) completed the Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ; Carron, Widmeyer, & Brawley, 1985) and items related to the perceived psychological benefits and costs of membership in cohesive groups. In addition, athletes completed the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory–2 (CSAI-2; Martens, Burton, Vealey, Bump, & Smith, 1990) prior to competition. Results showed that cohesion was related to A-state responses (p < .004). Specifically, individuals holding higher perceptions of task cohesion reported less cognitive A-state. Results also showed that psychological costs associated with membership on cohesive teams mediates the cohesion–A-state relationship.

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Louise M. Burke and David B. Pyne

Bicarbonate loading is a popular ergogenic aid used primarily by athletes in short-duration, high-intensity sporting events and competitions. Controlled experimental trials have shown that small (worthwhile) benefits can obtained from acute doses of bicarbonate taken before exercise. Gastrointestinal problems encountered by some athletes limit the widespread use of this practice, however. The transfer of positive research findings to the competitive environment has proved problematic for some individuals. More recent applications involve serial ingestion of bicarbonate over several days before competition or during high-intensity training sessions over a few weeks. A number of research questions need to be addressed to enhance applications of bicarbonate loading in the elite sport environment. This commentary examines some of research and practical issues of bicarbonate loading used to enhance both training and competitive performance.

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Judy L. Van Raalte, Allen E. Cornelius, Britton W. Brewer and Stephen J. Hatten

Although a number of studies have demonstrated the effects of self-talk on sport performance, the research literature on the antecedents of self-talk in competitive sport is sparse. The purpose of this study was to examine both the antecedents and the consequences of self-talk during competitive tennis performance. Eighteen adult tournament players were observed during United States Tennis Association–sanctioned matches. Players’ audible self-talk, observable gestures, and tennis scores were recorded using the Self-Talk and Gestures Rating Scale (Van Raalte, Brewer, Rivera, & Petitpas, 1994b). Results indicated that all players used observable self-talk and gestures during their matches. Furthermore, for all players, match circumstances (e.g., point outcome, serving status) predicted the use of negative self-talk. Positive and instructional self-talk were predicted by match circumstances for some players. The results suggest that match circumstances contribute to the generation of self-talk and provide useful information for researchers interested in better understanding the antecedents of self-talk.

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Jeremy M. Sheppard, Sophia Nimphius, Greg G. Haff, Tai T. Tran, Tania Spiteri, Hedda Brooks, Gary Slater and Robert U. Newton

Purpose:

Appropriate and valid testing protocols for evaluating the physical performances of surfing athletes are not well refined. The purpose of this project was to develop, refine, and evaluate a testing protocol for use with elite surfers, including measures of anthropometry, strength and power, and endurance.

Methods:

After pilot testing and consultation with athletes, coaches, and sport scientists, a specific suite of tests was developed. Forty-four competitive junior surfers (16.2 ± 1.3 y, 166.3 ± 7.3 cm, 57.9 ± 8.5 kg) participated in this study involving a within-day repeated-measures analysis, using an elite junior group of 22 international competitors (EJG), to establish reliability of the measures. To reflect validity of the testing measures, a comparison of performance results was then undertaken between the EJG and an age-matched competitive junior group of 22 nationally competitive surfers (CJG).

Results:

Percent typical error of measurement (%TEM) for primary variables gained from the assessments ranged from 1.1% to 3.0%, with intraclass correlation coefficients ranging from .96 to .99. One-way analysis of variance revealed that the EJG had lower skinfolds (P = .005, d = 0.9) than the CJG, despite no difference in stature (P = .102) or body mass (P = .827). The EJG were faster in 15-m sprint-paddle velocity (P < .001, d = 1.3) and had higher lower-body isometric peak force (P = .04, d = 0.7) and superior endurance-paddling velocity (P = .008, d = 0.9).

Conclusions:

The relatively low %TEM of these tests in this population allows for high sensitivity to detect change. The results of this study suggest that competitively superior junior surfers are leaner and possess superior strength, paddling power, and paddling endurance.