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Werner F. Helsen, Janet L. Starkes and Nicola J. Hodges

Two studies tested the theory of deliberate practice (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Romer, 1993) and contrasted results with the sport commitment model (Scanlan, Carpenter, Schmidt, Simons, & Keeler, 1993a, 1993b). In Part I, international, national, and provincial soccer and field hockey players recalled the amount of time they spent in individual and team practice, sport-related activities, and everyday activities at the start of their career and every 3 years since. In Part II, these activities were rated in terms of their relevance for improving performance, effort and concentration required, and enjoyment. A monotonic relationship between accumulated individual plus team practice and skill level was found. In contrast with Ericsson et al.’s (1993) findings for musicians, relevant activities were also enjoyable, while concentration became a separate dimension from effort. The viability of a generalized theory of expertise is discussed.

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Galen Clavio, Lauren M. Burch and Evan L. Frederick

The purpose of this study was to employ systems theory to analyze the social network of a Big Ten football team’s Twitter community. An identifiable network was found among the observed actors (N = 139), with fan accounts composing the largest percentage of the network. The number of observed reciprocal interactions was low, only 11.8% of the interactions and only 21.5% of the nodes. Traditionalmedia accounts frequently interacted with other media accounts, while fans interacted primarily with other fans. Overall, nontraditional-media accounts’ users were most focused on interactivity. Team-related accounts were almost nonexistent in the interactive network. A systems-theory-based network was found in terms of input, transformation, and output components. The feedback loop was the weak link in the network, indicating a possible lack of importance of direct feedback in Twitter social networks.

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David Yukelson, Robert S. Weinberg and Stephen West Allen Jackson

The purpose of this investigation was to test Kukla's attributional theory of performance and to address the mediating link between causal attribution and subsequent action in a competitive motor task. Two experiments were conducted: the first was designed to determine the effect of perceived task difficulty and attributional instructions on the ball-tossing performance of high achievers while competing against a standard of excellence. Results indicated that high achievers performed with greater intensity when receiving an effort rather than ability-oriented instructional set and when they perceive themselves to be behind a normative score of their classmates. To refine and clarify results found in Experiment 1, low as well as high achievers were added to the second study and were placed in face-to-face competition instead of a competition against a standard of excellence. Results from the performance data in Experiment 2 supported Kukla's theory in that high achievers performed best when they perceived themselves to be behind an opponent's score midway through the experiment, whereas low achievers performed best when they perceived themselves to be ahead. Results from the cognitive assessment procedure, however, failed to support the performance findings. Implications for the viability of Kukla's attributional theory of performance and problems related to the assessment of cognitive states are discussed.

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Clifford J. Mallett

The coach is central to the development of expertise in sport (Bloom, 1985) and is subsequently key to facilitating adaptive forms of motivation to enhance the quality of sport performance (Mallett & Hanrahan, 2004). In designing optimal training environments that are sensitive to the underlying motives of athletes, the coach requires an in-depth understanding of motivation. This paper reports on the application of self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000) to coaching elite athletes. Specifically, the application of SDT to designing an autonomy-supportive motivational climate is outlined, which was used in preparing Australia’s two men’s relay teams for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

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Jon Welty Peachey, Nico Schulenkorf and Ramon Spaaij

Practice cannot be blind to theory, and theory cannot be blind to practice. This is simple to say yet immensely difficult to do. ( Morrison & van der Werf, 2012 , p. 400) Theory development around sport for social change agendas has received greater attention from scholars over the past 10 years

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Elske Stolte, Marijke Hopman-Rock, Marja J. Aartsen, Theo G. van Tilburg and Astrid Chorus

determinants need to be targeted. The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) is a frequently used theoretical framework to design behavior change interventions ( Glanz & Bishop, 2010 ). The TPB states that intention, which is defined as indications of how hard people are willing to try to perform the behavior, is

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W. Jack Rejeski and Lawrence R. Brawley

In adopting attribution theory, researchers in the field of sport psychology have followed the cognitive perspectives characteristic of mainstream investigations in this area. Numerous investigations regarding the self-perception of achievement outcomes in sport reveal this trend. The present article discusses the sport psychological perspective of attribution theory in terms of present and future concerns. First, a critical evaluation of existing approaches to the study of sport attribution is presented. The discussion outlines the typical characteristics of such investigations and their problems, some inherited from psychology and others unique to sport. This critical analysis underscores the narrowness of previous interests. Second, the broad scope of attribution is presented to emphasize the wealth of research problems that could be studied, in addition to those concerning self-focus on achievement outcomes. Third, recent investigations of attribution in sport are briefly described to exemplify new research directions. These examples sketch the importance of subjects' phenomenology, the situational and internal variables affecting attributions, and a developmental comment. If future studies recognize the rich array of social inference problems within the sport context and confront previous investigative errors, the result should be a productive decade of attribution research in sport psychology.

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David P. Johns, Koenraad J. Lindner and Karen Wolko

Two components of Gould’s (1987) model for attrition in youth sport appear to lend themselves to sociological analysis and were adopted as theoretical concepts of social exchange theory (Homans, 1961). The constructs were tested and the role of injury was assessed through a questionnaire completed by 76 former female competitive club gymnasts and through semistructured interviews with 10 of these dropouts. Three major findings resulted, with only partial support for the model. The former gymnasts appeared to have a positive perception of their competence as athletes and indicated that the withdrawal had provided them with the desired time for the pursuit of other leisure activities such as hobbies, being with friends and, for the older dropouts, shopping. Injury, even though it was the second most frequent reason for withdrawal, was not seen as a primary cause. The subsumation of achievement and competence as components of social exchange theory provided a plausible framework for the interpretation of the data which demonstrated that the attraction of alternative status cultures was the strongest factor underlying withdrawal.

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Lupe Castañ and Claudine Sherrill

The purpose was to analyze the social construction of Challenger baseball opportunities in a selected community. Participants were 10 boys and 6 girls with mental and/or physical disabilities (ages 7 to 16 years, M = 11.31), their families, and the head coach. Data were collected through interviews in the homes with all family members, participant observation at practices and games, and field notes. The research design was qualitative, and critical theory guided interpretation. Analytical induction revealed five outcomes that were particularly meaningful as families and coach socially constructed Challenger baseball: (a) fun and enjoyment, (b) positive affect related to equal opportunity and feelings of “normalcy,” (c) social networking/emotional support for families, (d) baseball knowledge and skills, and (e) social interactions with peers.

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Catherine D. Ennis

This research was conducted to investigate the role of value orientations in effective elementary physical educators’ curricular decision making. Educational value orientations served as the theoretical base for the research. Three research questions were examined: (a) what were the learning goals and expectations for student performance in each program, (b) why did teachers value these goals, and (c) how well did students understand the goals and expectations of the program? Data were collected through class observations, teacher and student interviews, and the Value Orientation Inventory. Data were analyzed using constant comparison. Results described students’ learning goals and academic and social performance expectations within each teacher’s value profile. Dynamical systems theory was used to elaborate the influence of value orientations in the curriculum decision-making process.