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Marco J. Konings, Jordan Parkinson, Inge Zijdewind and Florentina J. Hettinga

attentional focus from external to internal factors. 24 If the “competitor” was not visible during the trial, even the prospect of a monetary incentive ($100) did not lead to an improvement in 1500-m cycling performance. 25 The improvements during a 2-km head-to-head competition with a virtual opponent were

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Callum J. McCaskie, Warren B. Young, Brendan B. Fahrner and Marc Sim

begin preseason training earlier than their more experienced counterparts. This is based on beliefs that more experienced players have built up a tolerance to the increased training load and may not require the same volume of training to prepare for the demands of competition. All correlations were

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Sebastian Harenberg, Harold A. Riemer, Erwin Karreman and Kim Dorsch

The study explored the competition between teammates for playing time (i.e., positional competition) within university team sports from the athletes’ perspective. Sixteen Canadian interuniversity team sport athletes (11 women, 5 men) participated in semistructured interviews. Results revealed that positional competition (a) occurs between players in the same position, (b) is necessary to determine playing time, (c) is an ongoing, omni-present process, and (d) happens under the awareness of the coach. Furthermore, various inputs (by the individual athlete, team, coach), processes (performance-related, information-related), and outcomes (individual, collective) became apparent. Positional competition is a group process that occurs across multiple competitive situations (e.g., practices, games). Future research is needed to clearly define and operationalize it as its own construct.

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Lee J. Moore, Mark R. Wilson, Samuel J. Vine, Adam H. Coussens and Paul Freeman

The present research examined the immediate impact of challenge and threat states on golf performance in both real competition and a laboratory-based task. In Study 1, 199 experienced golfers reported their evaluations of competition demands and personal coping resources before a golf competition. Evaluating the competition as a challenge (i.e., sufficient resources to cope with demands) was associated with superior performance. In Study 2, 60 experienced golfers randomly received challenge or threat manipulation instructions and then performed a competitive golf-putting task. Challenge and threat states were successfully manipulated and the challenge group outperformed the threat group. Furthermore, the challenge group reported less anxiety, more facilitative interpretations of anxiety, less conscious processing, and displayed longer quiet eye durations. However, these variables failed to mediate the group–performance relationship. These studies demonstrate the importance of considering preperformance psychophysiological states when examining the influence of competitive pressure on motor performance.

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Craig A. Bridge, Michelle A. Jones and Barry Drust


To investigate the physiological responses and perceived exertion during international Taekwondo competition.


Eight male Taekwondo black belts (mean ± SD, age 22 ± 4 y, body mass 69.4 ± 13.4 kg, height 1.82 ± 0.10 m, competition experience 9 ± 5 y) took part in an international-level Taekwondo competition. Each combat included three 2-min rounds with 30 s of recovery between each round. Heart rate (HR) was recorded at 5-s intervals during each combat. Capillary blood lactate samples were taken from the fingertip 1 min before competition, directly after each round and 1 min after competition. Competitors’ rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was recorded for each round using Borg’s 6-to-20 scale.


HR (round 1: 175 ± 15 to round 3: 187 ± 8 beats·min−1; P < .05), percentage of HR maximum (round 1: 89 ± 8 to round 3: 96 ± 5% HRmax; P < .05), blood lactate (round 1: 7.5 ± 1.6 to round 3: 11.9 ± 2.1 mmol·L-1; P < .05) and RPE (round 1: 11 ± 2 to round 3: 14 ± 2; P < .05; mean ± SD) increased significantly across rounds.


International-level Taekwondo competition elicited near-maximal cardiovascular responses, high blood lactate concentrations, and increases in competitors' RPE across combat. Training should therefore include exercise bouts that sufficiently stimulate both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism.

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Christine E. Dziedzic and Dean G. Higham

Rugby sevens is an abbreviated version of rugby union, played by teams of seven players over 7-min halves. International competitions are usually played in a tournament format. While shorter in duration, the movement demands of rugby sevens per min of match time are greater than rugby union, resulting in an accentuated load on players. This load can be repeated up to six times over a typical 2- or 3-day competition period. The potential cumulative effect of inadequate carbohydrate, protein and/or fluid intake over the course of a tournament is the greatest nutrition-related concern for players. Nutritional strategies before and during competition are suggested to replenish substrate stores, maintain fluid balance and promote recovery between matches. The use of ergogenic aids known to enhance intermittent, high-intensity activity and/or the execution of motor skills may be advantageous to rugby sevens performance and is discussed. This review provides a best-practice model of nutritional support for international rugby sevens competition based on our current understanding of the sport combined with pragmatic guidelines and considerations for the practitioner.

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Matthew A. Grant and Paul G. Schempp

Researchers sought to identify and analyze the actions of elite swimmers on a competition day that the athletes believed were critical to their success, and to understand the meaning the athletes assigned to each of these activities. The present study describes the competition-day routines of the elite swimmers by presenting the athletes’ actions, meanings, segments, and preparations within a substantive grounded theory. To this end, five U.S. Olympic medal-winning male swimmers from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games participated in a three-stage data collection: an initial interview during a two-day training visit, a competition observation at an elite meet, and a follow-up interview via telephone. In addition, each participant’s coach was interviewed. Utilizing constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006), a substantive theory of a competition-day routine for elite swimmers emerged. Results suggested that athletes understood all their actions during a competition day as one routine, and research of competitive routines should include both the ostensive (i.e., plan) and performative (i.e., enactment) aspects of routines (Feldman & Pentland, 2003).

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Vern Baxter, Anthony V. Margavio and Charles Lambert

This article uses data on sanctions against member schools of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) from 1952 to 1990 to examine density of competition and legitimacy of rules as regulatory dynamics in a relatively stable population of organizations. The NCAA regulates athletic competition through enforcement of rules that mediate between various definitions of legitimate conduct. Schools in less densely competitive environments are more likely to receive penalties for rules violations than are schools in more densely competitive environments. It is also found that NCAA Division I schools in the South, Southwest, and Midwest are significantly more likely to receive penalties than are schools in the Mideast and East. The article concludes that the legitimacy of rules varies across schools and across regions, creating different cultures of competition that affect the likelihood of deviance and sanction.

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Shelley L. Holden, Christopher M. Keshock, Brooke E. Forester and Robert J. Heitman


Athlete burnout is a phenomenon that has been studied in previous research and is a concern in terms of athlete’s health and well–being (Capel, Sisley, & Desertrain, 1987; Harris, 2005; Kelley, Eklund, & Ritter-Taylor, 1999; Kjormo & Halvari, 2006; Raedeke, Warren, & Granzyk, 2000). Further, it is assumed by many sport coaches that the longer an athlete competes competitively in a sport, the greater chance for athlete burnout and the potential negative health consequences they could incur.


The purpose of the current study was to determine the correlation between years of sport competition and an athlete’s level of burnout on the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) subscales of Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization (DP), and Personal Accomplishment (PA).


The study was limited female athletes at a Division I institution in the Southeastern United States. Participants for this study were obtained via voluntary participation. The number of female athletes who completed the survey was 99. Athletes who participated were members of the women’s basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track and field, and volleyball teams.


The data was analyzed using Pearson correlations. Each burnout subscale was analyzed separately with years of sport competition. Results found no significant (p<.05) correlations between years of sport competition and EE (p=.038), DP (p=.029), or PA (p=-.062).


The current findings indicate that years of sport competition are not correlated with levels of burnout and female Division I collegiate athletes. Much prior research has also examined intensive training and effects on young athletes and concluded that there are concerns about intense training and psychological injury (Maffulli & Pintore, 1990). Therefore, based upon prior research and the results of the current study, future research should continue to study the effects of years of competition and burnout in order to truly understand its effects on athletes.

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Laura Capranica and Mindy L. Millard-Stafford

A prevailing theory (and practical application) is that elite performance requires early childhood skill development and training across various domains, including sport. Debate continues whether children specializing early (ie, training/competition in a single sport) have true advantage compared with those who sample various sports early and specialize in a single sport later (adolescence). Retrospective data and case studies suggest either model yields elite status depending upon the sport category (ie, situational: ball games, martial arts, fencing; quantitative: track and feld, swimming, skiing; or qualitative: gymnastics, diving, figure skating). However, potential risks of early specialization include greater attrition and adverse physical/emotional health outcomes. With the advent of the IOC Youth Olympic Games, increased emphasis on global youth competition has unknown implications but also represents a potential platform for investigation. Modification of youth competition formats should be based upon multidisciplinary research on psycho-physiological responses, and technical-tactical behaviors during competition. The assumption that a simple scaled-down approach of adult competitions facilitates the development of technical/tactical skills of youth athletes is not necessarily substantiated with field-based research. Relatively little evidence exists regarding the long-term effects of rigorous training and competitive schedules on children in specific sports. It is clear that more prospective studies are needed to understand the training dose that optimally develops adaptations in youth without inducing dropout, overtraining syndrome, and/or injury. Such an approach should be sport specific as well as gender based. Until such evidence exists, coaches and sport administrators will continue to rely upon their sport-specific dogma to influence programmatic development of our most vulnerable population.