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Robert J. Schinke, Alain P. Gauthier, Nicole G. Dubuc and Troy Crowder

The study of adaptation in elite sport delineates the adjustment strategies of amateur and professional athletes during career transitions (e.g., promotion, relocation). Fiske (2004) recently identified 5 core motives as the vehicles to adaptation: belonging, understanding, controlling, self-enhancement, and trusting. The goal was to verify and contextualize these core motives with 2 respondent groups of professional athletes from the National Hockey League. The groups consisted of those experiencing rookie adaptation and veteran adaptation. A total of 58 athletes were divided into groups representing the Canadian mainstream, Canadian Aboriginal culture, and Europe. There were 175 newspaper articles that were retrieved using online and library resources. The similarities and discrepancies in and across groups provides insight into this hard-to-reach population.

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Liam A. Slack, Ian W. Maynard, Joanne Butt and Peter Olusoga

The present study evaluated the effectiveness of a Mental Toughness Education and Training Program (MTETP) in elite football officiating. The MTETP consisted of four individual and two group-based workshops designed to develop mental toughness (MT) and enhance performance in three English Football League (EFL) referees. Adopting a single-subject, multiple-baseline-across-participants design, MT and referee-assessor reports were evaluated. Self and coach-ratings of MT highlighted an instant and continued improvement in all three referees during the intervention phases. Performance reports of all referees improved throughout the intervention phases compared with the baseline phase. Social validation data indicated that an array of strategies within the MTETP facilitated MT development. Discussions acknowledge theoretical and practical implications relating to the continued progression of MT interventions in elite sport.

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David Fletcher and Sheldon Hanton

This study extends recent research investigating organizational stress in elite sport. Fourteen international performers (7 men and 7 women) from a wide range of sports were interviewed with regard to potential sources of organizational stress. Consistent with Woodman and Hardy’s (2001a) theoretical framework of organizational stress in sport, four main categories were examined: environmental issues, personal issues, leadership issues, and team issues. The main environmental issues that emerged were selection, finances, training environment, accommodation, travel, and competition environment. The main personal issues were nutrition, injury, and goals and expectations. The main leadership issues were coaches and coaching styles. The main team issues were team atmosphere, support network, roles, and communication. The findings are discussed in relation to previous research and in terms of their implications for sport organizations and personnel working with elite performers.

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Lawrence R. Brawley, Albert V. Carron and W. Neil Widmeyer

Gross and Martin (1952), and Escovar and Sim (1974), proposed group resistance to disruption (GRD) as an alternative conception of cohesion, but the GRD/cohesion relationship has not been empirically examined. In Study 1, this relationship was examined using an extreme-groups design. It was a priori predicted that elite athletes perceiving high team cohesion would also perceive high GRD. The prediction was supported for three of four aspects of cohesion assessed by the Group Environment Questionnaire. Study 2 methodologically extended Study 1 and examined the GRD/cohesion relationship comparatively across physical activity groups. Elite sport, recreational sport, and fitness class groups were assessed. Participants extreme in GRD were predicted on the basis of their cohesion scores. Results indicated that the form and extent of the GRD/cohesion relationship was moderated by group type. In both studies, group task cohesion was positively related to GRD for all samples. The studies represent the first demonstration of this important but neglected relationship.

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Tara K. Scanlan, Paul J. Carpenter, Marci Lobel and Jeffery P. Simons

The positive emotion of enjoyment has been shown to be an important ingredient to motivation in youth and elite sport. This article first summarizes the progress made to date in developing and measuring the enjoyment construct, and in understanding its sources and motivational consequences. Then a field study is presented that focuses on sources of enjoyment in a large youth sample (N=1,342) that is diverse image, ethnicity, and gender. Factor analytic and multiple regression techniques were used to determine categories and predictors of sport enjoyment. The significant sources of enjoyment for these participants were greater effort and mastery, positive team interactions and support, and positive coach support and satisfaction with the players’ seasonal performance. These findings accounted for 47% of the variance in sport enjoyment and shed light on the predictors of this important affect for a diverse group of athletes.

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Peter A. Hastie and John E. Saunders

The concept of academic work has been developed as a means of examining the curriculum used in classrooms. Tousignant’s study of secondary school physical education classes was the first to apply this concept to teaching physical education. This paper reports on a study that examined the program in action in a junior elite-sport setting (a state-level volleyball squad). The conceptualization of instructional, managerial, and transitional task systems developed in physical education classes was found to be relevant in this setting. In addition, a further task system, the match-play task system, was identified. A subset of the instructional task system identified as role-specific instructional tasks also emerged. The paper concludes that similar task systems operate in physical education and coaching and that the concept of accountability is important in understanding both teaching and coaching processes.

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Zoe Knowles, Jonathan Katz and David Gilbourne

This paper examines reflective practice by illustrating and commenting upon aspects of an elite sport psychology practitioner’s reflective processes. Extracts from a practitioner’s reflective diary, maintained during attendance at a major sporting event, focused upon issues that relate to on-going relationships and communication with fellow practitioners and athletes. Authors one and three offered subsequent comment on these accounts to facilitate movement toward critical reflection via an intrapersonal process creating considerations for the practitioners with regard to skills and personal development. These issues are discussed in relation to pragmatic topics such as “staged” and “layered” reflection encouraged by author collaboration and shared writing within the present paper. We argue these outcomes against more philosophical/opaque considerations such as the progression of critical reflection and critical social science.

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Matthew W. Hoon, Nathan A. Johnson, Phillip G. Chapman and Louise M. Burke

The purpose of this review was to examine the effect of nitrate supplementation on exercise performance by systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled human studies. A search of four electronic databases and cross-referencing found 17 studies investigating the effect of inorganic nitrate supplementation on exercise performance that met the inclusion criteria. Beetroot juice and sodium nitrate were the most common supplements, with doses ranging from 300 to 600 mg nitrate and prescribed in a manner ranging from a single bolus to 15 days of regular ingestion. Pooled analysis showed a significant moderate benefit (ES = 0.79, 95% CI: 0.23–1.35) of nitrate supplementation on performance for time to exhaustion tests (p = .006). There was a small but insignificant beneficial effect on performance for time trials (ES = 0.11, 95% CI: –0.16–0.37) and graded exercise tests (ES = 0.26, 95% CI: –0.10–0.62). Qualitative analysis suggested that performance benefits are more often observed in inactive to recreationally active individuals and when a chronic loading of nitrate over several days is undertaken. Overall, these results suggest that nitrate supplementation is associated with a moderate improvement in constant load time to exhaustion tasks. Despite not reaching statistical significance, the small positive effect on time trial or graded exercise performance may be meaningful in an elite sport context. More data are required to clarify the effect of nitrate supplementation on exercise performance and to elucidate the optimal way to implement supplementation.

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Philip F. Skiba, David Clarke, Anni Vanhatalo and Andrew M. Jones

Recently, an adaptation to the critical-power (CP) model was published, which permits the calculation of the balance of the work capacity available above the CP remaining (Wbal) at any time during intermittent exercise. As the model is now in use in both amateur and elite sport, the purpose of this investigation was to assess the validity of the Wbal model in the field. Data were collected from the bicycle power meters of 8 trained triathletes. Wbal was calculated and compared between files where subjects reported becoming prematurely exhausted during training or competition and files where the athletes successfully completed a difficult assigned task or race without becoming exhausted. Calculated Wbal was significantly different between the 2 conditions (P < .0001). The mean Wbal at exhaustion was 0.5 ± 1.3 kJ (95% CI = 0–0.9 kJ), whereas the minimum Wbal in the nonexhausted condition was 3.6 ± 2.0 kJ (95% CI = 2.1–4.0 kJ). Receiver-operator-characteristic (ROC) curve analysis indicated that the Wbal model is useful for identifying the point at which athletes are in danger of becoming exhausted (area under the ROC curve = .914, SE .05, 95% CI .82–1.0, P < .0001). The Wbal model may therefore represent a useful new development in assessing athlete fatigue state during training and racing.

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Caroline Giroux, Giuseppe Rabita, Didier Chollet and Gaël Guilhem

Performance during human movements is highly related to force and velocity muscle capacities. Those capacities are highly developed in elite athletes practicing power-oriented sports. However, it is still unclear whether the balance between their force and velocity-generating capacities constitutes an optimal profile. In this study, we aimed to determine the effect of elite sport background on the force–velocity relationship in the squat jump, and evaluate the level of optimization of these profiles. Ninetyfive elite athletes in cycling, fencing, taekwondo, and athletic sprinting, and 15 control participants performed squat jumps in 7 loading conditions (range: 0%–60% of the maximal load they were able to lift). Theoretical maximal power (Pm), force (F 0), and velocity (v 0) were determined from the individual force–velocity relationships. Optimal profiles were assessed by calculating the optimal force (F 0th) and velocity (v 0th). Athletic sprinters and cyclists produced greater force than the other groups (P < .05). F 0 was significantly lower than F 0th, and v 0 was significantly higher than v 0th for female fencers and control participants, and for male athletics sprinters, fencers, and taekwondo practitioners (P < .05). Our study shows that the chronic practice of an activity leads to differently balanced force–velocity profiles. Moreover, the differences between measured and optimal force–velocity profiles raise potential sources of performance improvement in elite athletes.