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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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Jimmy A. Frazier and Eldon E. Snyder

The tension and excitement of competitive sport is created by the indeterminacy of the contest that is based on an approximate equity between the contestants. Yet players and teams vary in competence and prestige, and those with less competence are frequently labeled as the underdog. While winning is valued, cross-cutting values often create sentiments for the underdog, that is, the desire for the underdog to overcome the inferior status and upset the favored opponent. Social support for the underdog reflects a utilitarian perspective that helps maintain an emotional interest in a contest; additionally, underdogs receive support from the social value of equity. At a microlevel, the underdog status is often used to increase the level of motivation and performance. Data gathered from university students are used to support the positions taken in the paper.

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Andreas Volp and Udo Keil Johann

Athletes* success and failure have often been linked to certain personality characteristics. Although previous results in this area were equivocal, many researchers concluded that athletes often drop out of competitive sport because of conflicts of interest, or because they fail to demonstrate high ability in sports. This investigation assessed the importance of intrapersonal conflicts to athletic performance and to dropping out. Swimmers competing at three different levels of performance filled out a conflict questionnaire. Some had indicated that they planned to discontinue their swimming career soon. High performers showed less conflict and a more intensive use of cognitive conflict reduction mechanisms than did medium performers and low level swimmers. Dropouts, on the other hand, had higher conflict scores in areas directly related to athletic performance than did continuers. Intrapersonal conflict was interpreted to be an important mediating variable in sport and personality research.

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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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Jessica Fraser-Thomas and Jean Côté

The purpose of this study was to gain understanding of adolescents’ positive and negative developmental experiences in sport. Twenty-two purposefully sampled adolescent competitive swimmers participated in a semistructured qualitative interview. Content analysis led to the organization of meaning units into themes and categories (Patton, 2002). Athletes suggested their sport involvement facilitated many positive developmental experiences (i.e., related to challenge, meaningful adult and peer relationships, a sense of community, and other life experiences) and some negative developmental experiences (i.e., related to poor coach relationships, negative peer influences, parent pressure, and the challenging psychological environment of competitive sport). Findings underline the important roles of sport programmers, clubs, coaches, and parents in facilitating youths’ positive developmental experiences in sport, while highlighting numerous important directions for future research. Implications for coach training and practice are outlined.

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Robert J. Brustad

This study was designed to examine potential correlates of positive and negative affect experienced by young athletes during a competitive sport season. An index of both positive affect, season-long enjoyment, and negative affect, competitive trait anxiety (CTA) were included. The study was grounded within Harter's (1978, 1981a) theory of competence motivation. Male and female participants (N=207) in an agency-sponsored youth basketball league completed self-report measures of self-esteem, perceived basketball competence, intrinsic/extrinsic motivational orientation, perceived parental pressure, and frequency of performance and evaluative worries. Team win/loss records and estimates of each player's ability were obtained from the coaches. Multiple regression analyses revealed that for both boys and girls, greater enjoyment was predicted by high intrinsic motivation and low perceived parental pressure. High CTA was predicted for both boys and girls by low self-esteem. These findings are consistent with predictions stemming from competence motivation theory.

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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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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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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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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.