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Chris Lonsdale, Ken Hodge and Elaine A. Rose

The purpose of the four studies described in this article was to develop and test a new measure of competitive sport participants’ intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and amotivation (self-determination theory; Deci & Ryan, 1985). The items for the new measure, named the Behavioral Regulation in Sport Questionnaire (BRSQ), were constructed using interviews, expert review, and pilot testing. Analyses supported the internal consistency, test–retest reliability, and factorial validity of the BRSQ scores. Nomological validity evidence was also supportive, as BRSQ subscale scores were correlated in the expected pattern with scores derived from measures of motivational consequences. When directly compared with scores derived from the Sport Motivation Scale (SMS; Pelletier, Fortier, Vallerand, Tuson, & Blais, 1995) and a revised version of that questionnaire (SMS-6; Mallett, Kawabata, Newcombe, Otero-Forero, & Jackson, 2007), BRSQ scores demonstrated equal or superior reliability and factorial validity as well as better nomological validity.

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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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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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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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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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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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A. Craig Fisher and Elizabeth F. Zwart

Athletes' self-reported perceptions of and responses to anxiety-eliciting situations were probed for the purposes of describing athletes' anxiety profiles. Intrapersonal variables were used to explain the individual differences evident in the data. College male basketball athletes (N = 40) were administered the following four paper-and-pencil inventories: S-R inventory of anxiousness in basketball, similarity of basketball situations, Sport Competition Anxiety Test (competitive trait anxiety), and personal assessment questionnaire (perceived success and ability). Anxiety factors (outcome uncertainty, outcome certainty, ego threat) were deciphered through principal components analysis. Athletes' anxiety responses varied partially with their perceptions of the situations, congruent with the tenets of the interactional model of behavior. Through individual differences analysis, athletes' anxiety responses across all basketball situations were labeled ego threat, outcome certainty/uncertainty, and anticipation. In a multivariate sense, intrapersonal variables (perceived success and ability, and competitive trait anxiety) accounted for 47% of the anxiety response variance. Outcome and efficacy expectations bear direct relevance to the comprehension of competitive sport anxiety.

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Jens Omli

This article is an introduction to the MVP model, which focuses on the experience of competitive sport performance from a phenomenological stance, with particular emphasis on the influence of perceived success and failure. One premise of the MVP model is that sport performance is partially determined by the athlete’s interpretation of prior performances, which influences the trajectory and intensity of his or her phenomenological state. A second premise is that when the experiences described by athletes are analyzed together as a “layered picture,” these experiences tend to follow a pattern summarized by a sequence of six “competitive positions,” which can be arranged around a semicircumplex called the “Performance Dial.” The Performance Dial is an educational tool that can be used in consultations to facilitate communication between practitioners and athletes. The MVP model also serves as a framework within which sport psychology research findings can be understood in relation to the experience of sport performance, thereby increasing the applicability of sport performance research for practitioners.

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Darren C. Treasure, Joan L. Duda, Howard K. Hall, Glyn C. Roberts, Carol Ames and Martin L. Maehr

In a recent article, Harwood, Hardy, and Swain (2000) presented what they termed a critical analysis of the conceptualization and measurement of achievement goals in sport. The purpose of the present article is to challenge their interpretation of achievement goal theory and to question many of their subsequent recommendations. Specifically, the present response will focus on Harwood et al.’s (a) interpretation of Nicholls’ personal theories of achievement; (b) their contention that task involvement cannot exist in competitive sport; (c) the proposed tripartite conceptualization of goal involvement states; (d) their understanding of the relationship between the way an individual conceptualizes ability and the foundation of dispositional goal orientations; and (e) their criticisms of the way dispositional goal orientations have been measured in sport. Theoretical frameworks are always a work in progress. To this end, we concur with the spirit of Harwood et al.’s article which implies that our conceptual models should be continuously questioned, tested, and extended. However, we believe their interpretation and recommendations do little to enhance our conceptual understanding of achievement goal theory in sport.

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Geoff P. Lovell, John K. Parker and Gary J. Slater

Research in sports-science disciplines such as sport psychology has demonstrated that practitioners’ physical characteristics influence clients’ perceptions of their effectiveness, potentially mediating the efficacy of subsequent interventions. However, very little research has been directed toward this issue for sports dietitians (SDs), the health professionals whom athletes are likely to engage to assist with manipulation of traits of physique. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to determine whether SDs’ phenotype, specifically body-mass index (BMI), and type of dress influence potential clients’ preference to consult them for dietetic support and if this affects their perceived effectiveness.

Methods:

One hundred volunteers (mean age 18.7 ± 0 .8 years) all participating in regular competitive sport, classified by gender (male, n = 55, or female, n = 45) and competitive standard (elite/subelite, n = 68, or club/recreational, n = 32) viewed slides representing four concurrently presented computer-generated images of the same female SD manipulated to represent different BMIs and dress types. Participants were asked to rank the SDs in order of their preference to work with them and, second, to rate their perceived effectiveness of each of the SDs.

Results:

Key findings included the observation of a significant BMI main effect F(6, 91) = 387.39, p < .001 (effect size .96), with participants’ ranking of preference and rating of perceived effectiveness of female SDs decreasing with increasing BMI.

Conclusion:

SDs should consider their physical appearance when meeting with athletes, as this may affect their perceived efficacy.