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Yannis Theodorakis

The present study tested the effects of self-efficacy, past performance, personal goal setting, and self-satisfaction on swimming performance. Participants (N = 42) performed four trials of a specific swimming task with 10-min intervals between each trial. During the third and fourth trials they performed trials after setting personal goals and completing self-efficacy and selfsatisfaction scales. Results showed significant improvement in level of performance in these two trials. Past performance, self-efficacy, self-satisfaction, and personal goal setting were predictors of performance at the third and the fourth trial. A LISREL VI path analysis indicated that past performance was the main determinant of future performance. Personal goal setting was affected by level of past performance, as well as by perceived self-efficacy and satisfaction. In a second stage of analysis, past performance was eliminated, and results supported the mediating role of personal goals between self-efficacy and performance.

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Teri Todd, Greg Reid and Lynn Butler-Kisber

Individuals with autism often lack motivation to engage in sustained physical activity. Three adolescents with severe autism participated in a 16-week program and each regularly completed 30 min of cycling at the end of program. This study investigated the effect of a self-regulation instructional strategy on sustained cycling, which included self-monitoring, goal setting, and self-reinforcement. Of particular interest was the development of self-efficacy during the physical activity as a mediator of goal setting. A multiple baseline changing criterion design established the effectiveness of the intervention. The results suggest that self-regulation interventions can promote sustained participation in physical activity for adolescents with severe autism.

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Robert Weinberg, Lawrence Bruya, Janice Longino and Allen Jackson

The purpose of this investigation was to test the effects of goal proximity and goal specificity on endurance performance of young children. Subjects were 130 boys and 125 girls from the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. Children were matched on baseline performance of the 2-min sit-up test and then randomly assigned to one of the following goal setting conditions: (a) short-term goal improvement of 4% each test trial, (b) long-term goal of 20% improvement over the course of the 10-week study, (c) short-term plus long-term goal, and (d) do your best. Subjects practiced sit-ups in class every day with practice tests once a week and actual scored tests once every other week. No significant differences between goal-setting conditions were found on baseline performance and thus a 4 × 3 × 2 × 5 (Goal × Grade × Gender × Trials) ANOVA was conducted. Results produced significant gender and grade main effects, with boys and sixth graders exhibiting the best performance. More important, a significant goal-condition-by-trials interaction revealed there were no differences on Trials 1 and 2, but on Trials 3, 4, and 5 the specific goal groups performed significantly better than the do-your-best group. A postexperimental questionnaire revealed that children were highly committed to their goals and tried extremely hard to reach their goals. Results are discussed in terms of Locke's goal-setting theory as well as recent empirical goal-setting studies conducted in physical activity settings.

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Richard C. Thelwell, Neil J.V. Weston, Iain A. Greenlees and Nicholas V. Hutchings

The current study examined whether, where, when, and for what purposes coaches use psychological skills. A total of 13 elite-level coaches completed a structured interview using open-ended questions to examine their use of self-talk, imagery, relaxation, and goal-setting skills. Data were analyzed via deductive content analysis and indicated self-talk and imagery to be cited more frequently than relaxation and goal setting throughout the interviews. In addition, some purposes for using each skill were specific to training or competition across each time frame (before, during, and after), whereas there were several purposes consistent across each environment. Although the findings suggest that coaches employ psychological skills, it is imperative that they become aware of what skills they require and what skills they possess if they are to maximize their use across their wide-ranging coaching roles.

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Lydia Ievleva and Terry Orlick

The purpose of this exploratory study was to determine whether athletes who healed very rapidly demonstrated greater evidence than did slower healing athletes of psychosocial factors thought to be related to enhanced healing. A survey format was used to measure the following factors—positive attitude, outlook, stress and stress control, social support, goal setting, positive selftalk, and mental imagery—as well as related items about beliefs and recommendations for enhanced healing. Thirty-two former sports medicine clinic patients with either knee or ankle injuries participated in the study. Some 19% of these athletes had exceptionally fast recoveries. These subjects evidenced high scores on all variables tested, while those in the slowest healing group evidenced low scores. The most significant results were found in the more action related factors of goal setting, positive self-talk, and the use of healing imagery. This is particularly encouraging for those working in an applied setting, as these factors are within one’s potential control.

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Kieran M. Kingston and Lew Hardy

Empirical studies attesting to the effectiveness of goal setting in sport have been plagued by equivocation. Inconsistencies may relate to task/goal complexity and the types of goals that participants are asked to use (Hardy, Jones, & Gould, 1996). This study addresses the second of these issues by examining the relative efficacy of two types of goal-setting training program that differ according to their primary focus. Thirty-seven club golfers completed the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 on three occasions at important competitions and the Sport Psychology Skills Questionnaire prior to, and following, the intervention. Two-factor (Group × Test) ANOVAs revealed a significant interaction (p < .05) for ability, indicating significant improvements from Test 1 to Test 2 for the process-oriented group, and between Test 1 and Test 3. The significant interactions (p < .05) for self-efficacy, cognitive anxiety control, and concentration provide further evidence for the positive impact of process goals in competitive situations.

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Lorcan D. Cronin and Justine B. Allen

The present study explored the relationships between the coaching climate, youth developmental experiences (personal and social skills, cognitive skills, goal setting, and initiative) and psychological well-being (self-esteem, positive affect, and satisfaction with life). In total, 202 youth sport participants (Mage = 13.4, SD = 1.8) completed a survey assessing the main study variables. Findings were consistent with Benson and Saito’s (2001) framework for youth development. In all analyses, the coaching climate was related to personal and social skills, cognitive skills, goal setting, and initiative. Mediational analysis also revealed that the development of personal and social skills mediated the relationships between the coaching climate and all three indices of psychological well-being (self-esteem, positive affect, and satisfaction with life). Interpretation of the results suggests that coaches should display autonomy-supportive coaching behaviors because they are related to the developmental experiences and psychological well-being of youth sport participants.

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Carrie B. Scherzer, Britton W. Brewer, Allen E. Cornelius, Judy L. Van Raalte, Albert J. Petitpas, Joseph H. Sklar, Mark H. Pohlman, Robert J. Krushell and Terry D. Ditmar


To examine the relationship between self-reported use of psychological skills and rehabilitation adherence.


Prospective correlational design.


Outpatient physical-therapy clinic specializing in sports medicine.


Fifty-four patients (17 women and 37 men) undergoing rehabilitation after anterior-cruciate-ligament reconstruction.

Main Outcome Measures:

An abbreviated version of the Sports Injury Survey (Ievleva & Orlick, 1991) was administered approximately 5 weeks after surgery to assess use of goal setting, imagery, and positive self-talk. Four adherence measures were obtained during the remainder of rehabilitation: attendance at rehabilitation sessions, practitioner ratings of patient adherence at rehabilitation sessions, patient self-reports of home exercise completion, and patient self-reports of home cryotherapy completion.


Goal setting was positively associated with home exercise completion and practitioner adherence ratings. Positive self-talk was positively correlated with home exercise completion.


Use of certain psychological skills might contribute to better adherence to sport-injury rehabilitation protocols.

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B. Ann Boyce

This study investigated the effect of three goal-setting conditions on skill acquisition and retention of a selected shooting task. Utilizing a two-stage random-sampling technique, nine classes (N=138 subjects) were assigned to one of three conditions: (a) assigned specific goals, (b) participant-set specific goals, and (c) generalized do-your-best goals. The pretest and five skill acquisition trials were analyzed in a 3×6 (Goal groups × Trials) MANOVA design with repeated measures on the last factor. The procedure for the retention trial resulted in a 3×1 (Goal groups × Trial) ANOVA design. Results indicated a significant groups-by-trials interaction. The follow-up analyses revealed that the two specific goal-setting groups (assigned and participant-set goals) were significantly superior to the do-your-best group during the second, fourth, fifth, and retention trials.

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Damon Burton

This investigation evaluated the impact of goal specificity and task complexity on basketball skill development. Two hypotheses were tested: (a) specific goals promote greater skill improvement than general goals; (b) goal setting effects are significantly greater for simple than for complex tasks. Students in a basketball class were matched on pretest skill and assigned to either specific or general goal setting groups. During each of 15 class periods of the 8-week course, students were assigned specific or general goals for each fundamental basketball skill in a 7-station circuit. Results partially confirmed both hypotheses. Profile analyses revealed that specific-goal subjects significantly outperformed, general-goal classmates on defensive footwork and ball handling drills whereas dribbling drills approached significance. Task complexity results suggested that subjects setting specific goals performed significantly better than those setting general goals on low but not on high complexity tasks, whereas results for moderate task complexity were mixed.