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Peter Brodkin and Maureen R. Weiss

This study examined developmental differences in motives for participating in competitive swimming across the lifespan. Six age groupings were chosen based on underlying cognitive criteria identified in the literature: younger and older children, high school/college age, and young, middle, and older adults. Swimmers from YMCAs (N= 100) completed the Participation Motivation Questionnaire modified by D. Gould, Feltz, and Weiss (1985). An exploratory factor analysis identified seven factors: characteristics of competitive swimming, health/fitness, social status, affiliation, energy release, significant others, and fan. A MANOVA on the factor scores revealed a significant age group main effect. Follow-up analyses indicated that characteristics of competitive swimming was rated significantly lower by the older adults while social status was rated significantly higher by older children and high school/college-age swimmers. Significant others was rated significantly higher by children, and fen was rated most important by younger children and older adults. Finally, health/fitness motives were rated highest by young and middle adults and lowest by older children and older adults. Implications of the findings for a cognitive-developmental approach to participation motivation are discussed.

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Kacey C. Neely, John G.H. Dunn, Tara-Leigh F. McHugh and Nicholas L. Holt

The overall purpose of this study was to examine coaches’ views on deselecting athletes from competitive female adolescent sport teams. Individual semistructured interviews were conducted with 22 head coaches of Canadian provincial level soccer, basketball, volleyball, and ice hockey teams. Interpretive description methodology (Thorne, 2008) was used. Results revealed deselection was a process that involved four phases: pre-tryout meeting, evaluation and decision-making, communication of deselection, and post deselection reflections. Within the evaluation and decision-making phase coaches made programmed and nonprogrammed decisions under conditions of certainty and uncertainty. When faced with uncertainty coaches relied on intuition.

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Kay Tetzlaff, Holger Schöppenthau and Jochen D. Schipke

Context:

It has been widely believed that tissue nitrogen uptake from the lungs during breath-hold diving would be insufficient to cause decompression stress in humans. With competitive free diving, however, diving depths have been ever increasing over the past decades.

Methods:

A case is presented of a competitive free-diving athlete who suffered stroke-like symptoms after surfacing from his last dive of a series of 3 deep breath-hold dives. A literature and Web search was performed to screen for similar cases of subjects with serious neurological symptoms after deep breath-hold dives.

Case Details:

A previously healthy 31-y-old athlete experienced right-sided motor weakness and difficulty speaking immediately after surfacing from a breathhold dive to a depth of 100 m. He had performed 2 preceding breath-hold dives to that depth with surface intervals of only 15 min. The presentation of symptoms and neuroimaging findings supported a clinical diagnosis of stroke. Three more cases of neurological insults were retrieved by literature and Web search; in all cases the athletes presented with stroke-like symptoms after single breath-hold dives of depths exceeding 100 m. Two of these cases only had a short delay to recompression treatment and completely recovered from the insult.

Conclusions:

This report highlights the possibility of neurological insult, eg, stroke, due to cerebral arterial gas embolism as a consequence of decompression stress after deep breath-hold dives. Thus, stroke as a clinical presentation of cerebral arterial gas embolism should be considered another risk of extreme breath-hold diving.

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Graham Jones and Sheldon Hanton

Using Jones’s (1995) control model of debilitative and facilitative competitive anxiety, competitive swimmers (N = 91) were assessed on the intensity and direction of their cognitive anxiety and somatic anxiety responses one hour before an important race, and they completed scales examining outcome, performance, and process goals. It was hypothesized that there would be no difference in intensity of cognitive and somatic anxiety but that swimmers with positive expectancies of goal attainment would report their symptoms as being more facilitative. Forty-five swimmers who had set all three types of goal were divided into positive and negative/uncertain goal attainment expectancy groups for analysis. MANOVA supported the hypothesis in the case of cognitive anxiety and provided partial support in the case of somatic anxiety across all three goal types. Cognitive and somatic anxiety direction scores were the largest contributors to the significant multivariate effects. Eta-squared calculations showed that the predictions of Jones’s model were best supported in the case of performance goals.

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Robert S. Weinberg, David Yukelson and Allen Jackson

The present investigation was designed to extend Weinberg, Gould, and Jackson's (1979) efficacy-performance results to a back-to-back competitive situation as well as to determine whether performance would be affected by the solicitation of public vs. private expectancy statements. Subjects (56 males and 56 females) were randomly assigned to either a high or low self-efficacy condition and either stated their expectancy of success publicly or privately in a 2 × 2 × 2 (sex × self-efficacy × publiclprivate) factorial design. Self-efficacy was manipulated by having subjects compete against a confederate on a muscular leg-endurance task in which the confederate was said to be either a varsity track athlete who exhibited higher performance on a related task (low self-efficacy), or an individual who had a knee injury and exhibited poorer performance on a related task (high self-efficacy). The results supported self-efficacy predictions, and thus extended Weinberg et al.'s findings to a back-to-back competitive situation. The public/private manipulation produced no significant performance effects. In addition, the sex by self-efficacy interaction indicated that the self-efficacy main effect was due primarily to high-efficacy males extending their legs significantly longer than low-efficacy males. These results are discussed in terms of the differing patterns of sex-role socialization.

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Daniel Gould, Suzanne Tuffey, Eileen Udry and James Loehr

This article reports findings from the second phase of a larger research project designed to examine burnout in competitive junior tennis players. This phase of the project was qualitative in nature and involved two components. First, interviews were conducted with 10 individuals who were identified as being most burned out in the quantitative phase (Phase 1) of the project. Content analyses of the 10 respondents’ interviews identified mental and physical characteristics of burnout, as well as reasons for burning out. Recommendations for preventing burnout in players, parents, and coaches also were gleaned. Second, the 10 individual cases were examined in light of the major tenants of the three existing models of athlete burnout. Results from the examination of the burnout models suggested that burnout is best thought of in terms of Smith’s (1986) chronic stress model with physical and social psychological strains falling under it.

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Janet L. Starkes and Fran Allard

Volleyball players and nonplayers were compared for speed and accuracy of performance in a task involving detection of the presence of a volleyball in rapidly presented slides of a volleyball situation. Slides depicted both game and nongame situations, and subjects performed the task in both noncompetitive and competitive conditions. For all subjects, game information was perceived more quickly and accurately than nongame information. In competition all subjects showed decreased perceptual accuracy and no change in criterion, supporting the Easterbrook (1959) notion of perceptual narrowing with stress. Very large accompanying increases in response speed, however, suggested that competition may induce adoption of a particular speed-accuracy trade-off. Cognitive flexibility in the adoption of particular speed-accuracy trade-offs is discussed with reference to volleyball.

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Benjamin James and David Collins

A qualitative investigation was conducted to identify sources of stress and the self-presentational mechanism that may underpin them during competition. Twenty athletes described factors they perceived as stressful during competition. Content analysis revealed eight general sources of stress, including significant others, competitive anxiety and doubts, perceived readiness, and the nature of the competition (e.g., importance). Two thirds (67.3%) of all stress sources appeared to heighten the athletes’ need to present themselves in a favorable way to the audience. Factors that increased perceived likelihood of poor personal performance lowered the athletes’ ability to convey a desired image to their audience. Social evaluation and self-presentation was also identified as a general source of stress in its own right. These findings suggest that (a) these athletes were sensitive about the impressions people form of them during competition, and (b) stress responses maybe triggered by factors that primarily influence the self-presentational implications of performance.

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Meghan H. McDonough, Valerie Hadd, Peter R.E. Crocker, Nicholas L. Holt, Katherine A. Tamminen and Kimberly Schonert-Reichl

This study qualitatively examined the congruence between anticipated and experienced stressors and coping, and approaches to coping by elite adolescent swimmers across a competitive season. Eight swimmers were interviewed before and after 4 swim meets in a season. Data collection and analysis were guided by theories of stress and coping. Accuracy of anticipating stressors was low, and the stressors and coping strategies were variable across the season. Idiographic profiles were created for each athlete and grouped according to similar characteristics. Three groups included athletes who (a) generally perceived stressors as something to be avoided, (b) generally perceived stressors as problems to be solved, or (c) generally perceived swimming as fun and minimally stressful. These patterns appeared to be associated with anticipating stressors, highlighting the complex and dynamic nature of stress and coping among adolescent athletes.

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Stephen D. Mellalieu, Sheldon Hanton and Graham Jones

The purpose of this study was to extend the work of Jones and Hanton (2001) by examining differences in affective states of performers who reported facilitating or debilitating interpretations of symptoms associated with precompetitive anxiety. Competitive athletes (N = 229) completed state and trait versions of the CSAI-2 (Martens, Burton, Vealey, Bump, & Smith, 1990), including intensity and direction subscales (Jones & Swain, 1992) and an exploratory measure of precompetitive affective responses in preparation and competition. “Facilitators” reported significantly greater positive labeling of affective experiences than “debilitators,” while cognitive interpretations of symptoms were reported to change with regard to preparation for and actual performance. The findings further support the need to examine the labeling and measurement of precompetitive affective states.