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Nessan Costello, Jim McKenna, Louise Sutton, Kevin Deighton and Ben Jones

Designing and implementing successful dietary intervention is integral to the role of sport nutrition professionals as they attempt to positively change the dietary behaviors of athletes. High-performance sport is a time-pressured environment where the necessity for immediate results can often

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Peter Gröpel and Jürgen Beckmann

Researchers suggests that a pre-performance routine (PPR) can improve performance in competitions. The effectiveness of left-hand contractions, a PPR to trigger facilitative cortical processes for skilled motor performance, was tested in two studies. In Study 1, gymnasts competing at the German university championships in artistic gymnastics performed their routines with or without the PPR. In Study 2, gymnasts performed the balance beam exercise either using the PPR or the control task (right-hand contractions) under simulated competition pressure. The qualification performance (Study 1) and the pressure-free performance (Study 2) were controlled. In both studies, participants in the PPR group performed better than control participants. The results indicate that left-hand contractions may be a useful PPR in the field.

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Katherine A. Beals and Melinda M. Manore

A growing body of evidence suggests that the prevalence of eating disorders and excessive concerns regarding body weight in certain subpopulations of female athletes are increasing. The pressure on female athletes to improve their performances and physiques, coupled with the general sociocultural demand placed on all women to be thin, often results in attempts to achieve unrealistic body size and body weight goals. For some female athletes the pressure to achieve and maintain a low body weight leads to potentially harmful patterns of restrictive eating or chronic dieting. This paper seeks to further delineate the characteristics of a recently identified subclinical eating disorder in female athletes: anorexia athletica. Research studies that support the existence of subclinical eating disorders will be reviewed. In addition, the possible physiological and psychological consequences of subclinical eating disorders will be explored.

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Bruce D. Hale and Adam Whitehouse

This study attempted to manipulate an athlete’s facilitative or debilitative appraisal (direction; Jones, 1995) of competitive anxiety through imagery-based interventions in order to study the effects on subsequent anxiety intensity (heart rate and CSAI-2) and direction (CSAI-2D; Jones & Swain, 1992). In a within-subjects’ design, 24 experienced soccer players were relaxed via progressive relaxation audiotape and then randomly underwent an imagery-based video- and audiotaped manipulation of their appraisal of taking a hypothetical gamewinning penalty kick under either a “pressure” or “challenge” appraisal emphasis. There was no significant effect for heart rate. A repeated measures MANOVA for CSAI-2 and CSAI-2D scores revealed that for both intensity and direction scores the challenge condition produced less cognitive anxiety, less somatic anxiety, and more self-confidence (all p < .001) than the pressure situation. This finding suggests that a challenge appraisal manipulation taught by applied sport psychologists might benefit athletes’ performance.

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Graham Jones

This paper reports a case study of a successful cognitive behavioral intervention using performance profiling. The subject, a top-10 female racket sport player, had a problem with her temperament on court, becoming angry and frustrated in pressure situations. Performance profiling was used for three major purposes: (a) to aid the sport psychologist in identifying an appropriate psychological intervention, (b) to maximize the performer’s self-motivation to partake in and adhere to the intervention, and (c) to monitor any changes during the intervention. A multimodal stress management approach was adopted using a combination of component parts from the available packages. The performance profiling technique showed significant improvements in the performer’s ability to cope with pressure situations 3 and 6 months after the intervention.

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Robert M. Nideffer

This article describes the development and provision of psychological services to the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Teams for 1984 and 1988. It highlights the special problems encountered when attempting to provide services to elite level coaches and athletes. Helping athletes cope with the pressures generated by international travel, politics, elite level competition, drugs, and money provide the sport psychologist with a tremendous challenge and a moral dilemma.

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Hermann-J. Engels, John C. Wirth, Sueda Celik and Jodee L. Dorsey

This study assessed the influence of caffeine on metabolic and cardiovascular functions during sustained, light intensity cycling and at rest. Eight healthy, recreationally active adults participated in four randomly assigned, double-blind experimental trials of 60 min upright seated cycle exercise (30% VO2max) or equivalent rest with caffeine (5 mg ⋅ kg−1) or placebo consumed 60 min prior to data collection. Gas exchange was measured by open-circuit spirom-etry indirect calorimetry. Global blood flow was evaluated by thoracic impedance cardiography and arterial blood pressure by auscultation. A repeated measures ANOVA indicated that pretrial caffeine increased oxygen uptake and energy expenditure rate (p < 0.05) but did not change respiratory exchange ratio. Systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure were elevated following caffeine intake (p < 0.05). Cardiac output, heart rate, stroke volume, and systemic vascular resistance were not significantly different between caffeine and placebo sessions. For each of the metabolic and hemodynamic variables examined, the effects of caffeine were similar during constant-load, light intensity cycling and at rest. These data illustrate that caffeine's mild thermogenic influence can be mediated without a major shift in substrate oxidation mixture. Caffeine at this dosage level alters cardiovascular dynamics by augmenting arterial blood pressure.

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Ron A. Thompson

While college women in general are at risk for anorexia nervosa and bulimia, these disorders may present more of a problem for the student-athlete due to her weight/body consciousness and the pressure associated with athletic competition at the college or university level. This paper discusses the physical and psychological characteristics of each disorder, their etiology, and how each affects the life and performance of the athlete. Recommendations are offered regarding the role of the sport management team (i.e., sport psychologist, team physician, coach, athletic trainer, exercise physiologist) in assisting the eating-disordered athlete.

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Samuel N. Cheuvront, Robert J. Moffatt, Kyle D. Biggerstaff, Shawn Bearden and Paul McDonough

Claims that ENDUROX™ enhances performance by altering metabolic responses to exercise were tested. In a double-blind crossover design, 10 male subjects were randomly assigned to consume 400 mg of placebo or 800 mg ENDUROX™ for 7 days. Cycle ergometry was performed for 30 minutes at 25%, followed by 10 min at 65% of peak oxygen consumption. After a 1-week washout period, subjects performed the identical exercise protocol following 7 days of reciprocal supplemental conditions. Expired gases were collected and analyzed continuously for oxygen consumption, minute ventilation, and respiratory exchange ratio. Heart rate, blood pressure, rating of perceived exertion, blood lactate, and serum glycerol data were also collected at regular intervals. A two-way ANOVA with repeated measures revealed no significant main or interaction effects involving group differences (p > 0.05) between trials for any variable during rest, 25% or 65% (VO2 peak), or recovery. Our findings do not support the ergogenic claims for ENDUROX™.

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Scott Simon, Loel Collins and Dave Collins

Observation of performance forms a critical part of the complex coaching process. A professional judgment and decision making (PJDM) framework enables optimum decisions to be made under time pressure and with limited information that derive from that observation. Observation and the associated decision making can be particularly affected by heuristic bias. We extend the work on PJDM via a greater focus on its relationship with observation within the coaching process. After revisiting PJDM and observation, we introduce and explore heuristics as a “tool” within the observation process. Specifically, we propose that observation is prone to heuristics built on a coach’s experience and understanding. We report on a small scale preliminary investigation with a group of high-level paddle sport coaches. We identify heuristics that both restrict and enhance the effectiveness of the observation in an effort to promote discussion and further research.