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Chris Harwood, Lew Hardy and Austin Swain

This article presents a critical analysis of the conceptualization and measurement of achievement goals in sport. It highlights conceptual and measurement inconsistencies of Nicholls’s (1984) achievement-goal theory in education with respect to its applicability to sport. It proposes that differentiation between ability and effort does not underpin the activation of task and ego goal perspectives in a sport performance context and that the definitions of task and ego involvement in the classroom might not generalize to sport. It offers an alternative conceptual approach incorporating three goal perspectives, as both a theoretical and a practical solution. It addresses goal involvement in sport performance contexts by emphasizing the value of assessing self-referent and normative conceptions of achievement at different time frames. Overall, this critique attempts to advance our understanding of both achievement goals and individual performers in the competitive sport domain.

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Mark H. Anshel

Drug abuse in competitive sport continues to be pervasive. Numerous explanations have been given for this and the reasons range from performance enhancement (anabolic steroids) to relieving stress and boredom (so-called recreational drugs). Drug testing, strict policies and enforcement, and educational programs have continued to be the main responses to the problem. However, relatively little attention has been given to preventive rather than punitive and curative strategies, particularly with respect to the coach’s input. This article offers several cognitive and behavioral approaches for coaches and sport psychology consultants in dealing with drug abuse among athletes. The recommendations are based on personal interactions with hundreds of intercollegiate athletes conducted over a 6-year period and from the extant professional literature.

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Robin J. Farrell, Peter R.E. Crocker, Meghan H. McDonough and Whitney A. Sedgwick

Special Olympics programs provide competitive sport opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities. This study investigated athletes’ perceptions of motivation in Special Olympics. Using Self-Determination Theory (SDT) as a guiding framework to explore athletes’ experiences, 38 Special Olympians (21 males and 17 females) from British Columbia, Canada were interviewed. The data suggested that factors that enhanced autonomy, competence, and relatedness were linked to the participants’ motivation in Special Olympics programs. These factors included positive feedback, choice, learning skills, demonstrating ability, friendships, social approval, and fun. Social support from significant others was a key factor related to participation motivation. There was also evidence for the motivating aspects of extrinsic rewards. Motivation was undermined primarily by conflicts with coaches and teammates.

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Jayne M. Jenkins and Brandon L. Alderman

The Sport Education (SE) curricular model incorporated within university physical education Basic Instruction Program (BIP) may increase group cohesion. This study’s purpose was to identify student perceptions of a BIP course taught within SE, and investigate group cohesion in differing activity content. Participants included 430 students enrolled in 25 BIP classes delivered in SE. A mixed method design included multiple data collection: critical incident, interview, and Physical Activity Group Environmental Questionnaire (PAGEQ). Lifetime skill and competitive sport class participants reflected more group cohesion than exercise class participants. Exercise class participants reported lower task cohesion than other groups, p < .05. Sport participants reported higher social cohesion than lifetime skill participants, whose responses were higher than exercise participants, ps<.05. Findings from critical incident and interview data provided further support for the PAGEQ results. We suggest that exercise classes may not spontaneously lend themselves to cohesion; thus, teachers need to be more creative in designing SE for exercise classes to increase cohesion.

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Patsy Tremayne and Debra A. Ballinger

Ballroom dance has resurfaced worldwide as a highly popular competitive sport and might be added to Olympic medal competition for the 2012 London Games. This resurgence presents opportunities for sport psychologists to provide psychological-skills and performance-enhancement training for ballroom dancers at all competitive levels. Few sport psychologists have the personal experience, expertise, or an adequate knowledge base about the competitive-ballroom-dance environment to provide meaningful intervention strategies for participants. This article was developed to provide initial guidance for sport psychology professionals interested in working in this environment. An overview of the competitive-dance and ballroom-dance environment, strategies used by dance couples for enhanced mental preparation before and during dance competitions, and excerpts from an interview with an Australian championship-level couple provide readers insight into performance-enhancement strategies for DanceSport.

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Naomi Fejgin

Longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of 10th graders (National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 First Follow-Up) were used to assess the net effect of athletic participation on student outcomes after controlling for student background and 8th-grade measures of the dependent variables. The analyses show positive effects of sport participation on grades, self-concept, locus of control, and educational aspirations, and a negative effect on discipline problems. Analysis also shows that athletic participation is unequally distributed across gender and socioeconomic groups: Males, students from higher socioeconomic levels, students attending private and smaller schools, and those with previous experience in school and private sport teams are more engaged in high school competitive sport.

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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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Diane L. Gill, David A. Dzewaltowski and Thomas E. Deeter

The validity of the recently developed Sport Orientation Questionnaire (SOQ), a multidimensional measure of sport achievement orientation, was investigated with both high school and university students. Specifically, we examined the correlations of SOQ scores with other measures of competitiveness and general achievement orientation and we compared the relative abilities of SOQ scores and other achievement measures to discriminate participants and nonpar-ticipants in competitive sports, noncompetitive sports, and nonsport activities. The findings obtained with both high school and university students provided convergent and divergent evidence for the validity of the SOQ. SOQ scores were highly correlated with other competitiveness measures, moderately correlated with general achievement measures, and uncorrelated with competitive anxiety and social desirability. Competitiveness scores were the strongest discriminators between competitive sport participants and nonpar-ticipants, but SOQ scores were weaker discriminators for noncompetitive achievement choices. The findings confirm the value of a multidimensional, sport-specific achievement measure and provide good evidence for the validity of the Sport Orientation Questionnaire.

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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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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.