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Chris Harwood and Lew Hardy

In their response to our recent paper (Harwood, Hardy, & Swain, 2000), Treasure et al. (2001) claimed to have clarified our misconceptions and misrepresentations of achievement goal research. After first of all commenting on the apparently rather emotive nature of their response, we logically deal with each of their criticisms. Specifically, we present sound theoretical arguments to show that: (a) personal theories of achievement hold primacy over achievement goals; (b) we are not “particularly confused” (or even a little confused) in our understanding of conceptions of ability; (c) there are excellent reasons for examining the possibility of a tripartite approach to goal orientation and goal involvement; and (d) the issue of measurement in achievement goal research needs to be carefully reconsidered. Further, in response to the status quo offered by Treasure and colleagues, we call for more innovative research that will help progress the impact of achievement goal theory in competitive sport.

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John G.H. Dunn

Many competitive sport anxiety researchers have examined the degree to which athletes worry before or during competition. Little attention has been paid, however, to establishing a conceptual framework for structuring the content of competitive worry. The main purpose of this study was to examine the latent dimensionality of competitive worry in intercollegiate ice hockey (N= 178) using a conceptual framework based on two multidimensional anxiety theories developed by Endler (1983) and Hackfort (1986). Multidimensional scaling and factor-analytic results revealed that competitive worry in ice hockey can be structured around a combination of four potential content domains relating to athletes’ fear of failure, negative social evaluation, injury or physical danger, and the unknown. These constructs were congruent with the situational anxiety dimensions proposed by Endler and Hackfort. Discussion focuses on the characteristic features of the four worry domains and the extent to which athletes were predisposed to experiencing each type of worry.

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Gregoire P. Millet, David J. Bentley and Veronica E. Vleck

The relationships between sport sciences and sports are complex and changeable, and it is not clear how they reciprocally influence each other. By looking at the relationship between sport sciences and the “new” (~30-year-old) sport of triathlon, together with changes in scientific fields or topics that have occurred between 1984 and 2006 (278 publications), one observes that the change in the sport itself (eg, distance of the events, wetsuit, and drafting) can influence the specific focus of investigation. The sport-scientific fraternity has successfully used triathlon as a model of prolonged strenuous competition to investigate acute physiological adaptations and trauma, as support for better understanding cross-training effects, and, more recently, as a competitive sport with specific demands and physiological features. This commentary discusses the evolution of the scientific study of triathlon and how the development of the sport has affected the nature of scientific investigation directly related to triathlon and endurance sport in general.

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Sophia Jowett and Duncan Cramer

Guided by the work-family interface literature, this study examined the concept of spillover in a sample of elite athletes. It was conceptualized that there would be potential negativity and interference between athletes’ intense demands of competitive sport and efforts to maintain positive relationships with their partners. Antecedents and consequences of the potential spillover phenomenon were assessed in a sample of 87 elite-level athletes who had either romantic or marital, heterosexual relationships. Findings indicated that while trust, commitment, and communication were not strongly related to spillover, negative transactions were. Moreover, the occurrence of spillover was negatively related to sport satisfaction and positively to depressive symptoms. Finally, it was found that a mechanism by which perceived negative transactions were linked to athletes’ satisfaction and depression was through spillover. Spillover can help explain how personal relationships and sport are likely to contribute to athletes’ performance accomplishment and overall well-being.

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Gregg M. Steinberg and Becky Glass

The Five-Step Strategy (FSS) consists of (a) readying oneself, (b) imaging the desired outcome, (c) focusing on the task at hand, (d) freeing the mind, and (e) evaluating the outcome afterward. This study examined its usefulness as an instructional aid for older adults. Because some (Molander & Backman, 1989) have found that older adults have more anxiety during competitive sport experiences, another purpose was to examine whether the FSS can reduce anxiety. One group used the FSS when learning a golf putt; a second learned the putt without using the FSS. Participants putted for three 1-hr sessions once a week. Performance and anxiety were assessed before the first and after the second and third sessions. Retention scores revealed that the FSS group learned the task better than the control group did, t(27) = 6.63, p < .001. These findings suggest that the FSS might help older adults learn motor skills.

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Kelly A. Forrest

Attachment (Bowlby, 1969/1982) is an interdisciplinary theory of social development that views early relationships with caregivers as central to how individuals learn to regulate attention under attachment-related stress (Fonagy & Target, 2002; Main, 2000; Hesse & Main, 2000). This paper proposes that conditions present in competitive sport situations, such as unexpected conditions, fear of failure, fatigue, and coach stress are likely to activate attachment-related attentional processes of athletes and differentially influence attentional flexibility under competitive stress. The attachment-based approach to performance-related problems in which attentional processes are implicated, such as anxiety, choking, and self-regulation, is discussed. Research using the Adult Attachment Interview (George, Kaplan, & Main, 1996) is suggested to investigate the distribution of adult attachment classification in the athlete population.

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Joan L. Duda and Sally A. White

The purposes of this study were to determine the relationship between goal orientations and beliefs about the causes of success among elite athletes and to examine the psychometric characteristics of the Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire (TEOSQ) in high-level competitive sport. Male and female intercollegiate skiers (N=143) completed the TEOSQ specific to skiing and a questionnaire assessing their perceptions of the determinants of success in skiing. Factor analysis of the TEOSQ revealed two independent subscales that demonstrated acceptable internal consistency. Task orientation was positively linked with the beliefs that skiing success is a result of hard work, superior ability, and selecting activities that one can perform successfully, and ego orientation to the beliefs that taking an illegal advantage, possessing high ability, selecting tasks that one can accomplish, and external variables are reasons for skiing success. Factor analysis of the two goal orientation and four belief scale scores revealed two divergent goal/belief dimensions in competitive skiing.

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Donald Getz and Aaron McConnell

This article seeks to advance theory pertaining to serious sport tourism, through the application of serious leisure and ego-involvement theory and the analysis of a survey of participants in the TransRockies Challenge mountain-bike event. Participants were questioned postevent about their motives, involvement in their sport, event-related travel, and destination and event preferences. Analysis revealed that most respondents were highly involved in competitive mountain biking, and were primarily motivated by self development through meeting a challenge. Many respondents also participated in a portfolio of other competitive sport events that provided similar personal rewards. Results suggest that many serious sport tourists develop travel careers centered on competitive events. A hypothetical framework for assessing six dimensions of event travel career trajectories is developed, leading to consideration of practical management implications and research needs.

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Joe Cobbs, B. David Tyler, Jonathan A. Jensen and Kwong Chan

Accessing and exploiting organizational resources are essential capabilities for competitive sport organizations, particularly those engaged in motorsports, where teams lacking resources frequently dissolve. Corporate sponsorship represents a common method for resource acquisition, yet not all sponsorships equally benefit the sponsored organization. Sponsorship utility can be dependent on institutional dynamics such as league governance that produces competitive disparities. Through this study we extend the resource-based view to assert that sponsorships vary in their propensity to contribute to team survival, warranting prioritization in sponsorship strategy based on access to different sponsor resources. To empirically investigate the influence of a variety of sponsorships, survival analysis modeling was used to examine 40 years of corporate sponsorship of Formula One racing teams. One finding from the longitudinal analysis was that sponsorships offering financial or performance-based resources enhance team survival to a greater degree than operational sponsorships. However, such prioritization is subject to team experience, changes in institutional monetary allocation, and diminishing returns.

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Jessica Brooke Kirby and Mary Ann Kluge

Older adults are often viewed by society more for what they cannot do than for what they are capable of achieving. This intrinsic case study examined the formation of a women’s 65+ volleyball team at a university for the purpose of better understanding what it was like for older women to learn a new sport and what meaning participating in competitive sport had for those who had not previously been considered athletic. Qualitative methods explored each participant’s experiences through a focus group, individual interviews, observational notes, and written reflections. Resulting team member themes included going for the gusto, belonging to a team, and support from the university. This program is a potential model to engage nonathletic older adults in sport, while forging a new and positive aging framework for aging athletes.