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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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Brian J. McMorrow, Massimiliano Ditroilo and Brendan Egan

was achieved by increasing the number of repetitions by 1 each week for the first 5 weeks with reduced volume in week 6 as a taper week (Table  2 ). An effort was made to reschedule any missed sessions, but due to injuries, rescheduling of competitive matches (week 3), and illness, compliance to the

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Lena Fung

The motives for participating in competitive sports among male and female elite disabled athletes from different countries have not been studied. Similarities and differences were therefore examined in the rating of importance of the seven motive factors of fitness, team atmosphere, skill development, excitement and challenge, friendship, achievement and status, and energy release. The countries studied included the U.S., Great Britain, and Japan. Data were collected during the Seoul Paralympics from 15 male and 15 female track athletes ages 20–30 from each country. All subjects competed in wheelchairs and met the eligibility criteria of the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation. The instrument used was a questionnaire designed by Gould, Feltz, and Weiss (1985) to examine motives for participating in competition. There were significant differences among athletes from the three countries in the motive factors of fitness, team atmosphere, and excitement and challenge. Gender differences were found in the motive factors of friendship as well as achievement and status.

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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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Rylee Dionigi

The number of older athletes is growing with the aging of populations across the developed world. This article reviews studies from a variety of disciplines that focus specifically on the motives and experiences of older adults competing in physically demanding sports at events such as masters and veterans competitions in Australia or the Senior Olympics in North America. It is shown that the majority of research into this phenomenon has taken a quantitative approach or failed to consider older athletes’ experiences in the context of broader sociocultural discourses. Therefore, using the author’s research into the experiences of older Australian masters athletes as a catalyst, the need for and strength of sociological qualitative research in this area is discussed. The use of qualitative methods, such as in-depth interviews and observations, and interpretive analysis provided alternative ways of making sense of older adults and their relationship with competitive sport to what is typically found in the sport and aging literature.

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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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Michael J. Greenspan and Deborah L. Feltz

Although sport psychologists utilize numerous interventions and techniques intended to enhance the performance of athletes in competition, the selection of those interventions has not always been based on research for which adequate validity has been established. In an attempt to provide sport psychologists with a working body of accurate knowledge and suggestions for future intervention research, an analysis and synthesis of research is presented that addresses the efficacy of different psychological interventions with athletes performing in competitive situations in the sport in which they regularly compete. From information reported in 19 published studies, covering 23 interventions, it was concluded that educational relaxation-based interventions and remedial cognitive restructuring interventions with individual athletes are, in general, effective.

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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.

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Windee M. Weiss and Maureen R. Weiss

The purpose of this study was to examine correlates of attraction- and entrapment-based commitment among young competitive female gymnasts. Participants were 124 gymnasts (Levels 9, 10, and Elite) ranging in age from 10 to 18 years. Based on theory and research (Raedeke, 1997; Schmidt & Stein, 1991), commitment profiles were determined based on benefits, costs, enjoyment, personal investments, and attractive alternatives. Three profiles emerged when using cluster analysis. Attracted gymnasts were higher in enjoyment and benefits but lower in costs and attractive alternatives. Entrapped gymnasts were lower in enjoyment and benefits but higher in costs and attractive alternatives. Vulnerable gymnasts were moderately lower in enjoyment and benefits, average in costs, and moderately higher in attractive alternatives. These groups were significantly different on social support, social constraints, motivational orientation, and training behaviors. The three profiles were similar but not identical to Schmidt and Stein’s predicted types of commitment, with each type being further differentiated by social, motivational, and behavioral variables.