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Diane L. Gill, Betty C. Kelley, Jeffrey J. Martin and Christina M. Caruso

We compared two sport-specific measures of competitive orientation, the Sport Orientation Questionnaire (SOQ; Gill & Deeter, 1988) and the Competitive Orientation Inventory (COI; Vealey, 1986), and an alternative 4-item version of the COL Male and female athletes and nonathletes at two small colleges completed questionnaire packets. Competitive-orientation scores were similar to those reported in previous research. The 4-item measure correlated with the COI, and neither of those measures correlated with the SOQ. As in previous studies, males scored higher than females on SOQ competitiveness and win orientation, and athletes scored higher than nonathletes on all SOQ scores. Our results suggest that the SOQ and COI do not assess the same competitive-orientation constructs. The SOQ assesses sport-specific achievement orientation; the COI assesses the relative importance of performance versus outcome. Our 4-item measure is comparable and provides a reasonable substitute for the more complex COI.

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Hannah Macdougall, Paul O’Halloran, Emma Sherry and Nora Shields

The well-being needs and strengths of para-athletes in a global and sport-specific context were investigated across subjective psychological, social, and physical health and well-being dimensions. Data were drawn from (a) semistructured interviews with Australian para-athletes (n = 23), (b) a focus group with the Australian Paralympic Committee (n = 9), and (c) a confirmatory para-athlete focus group (n = 8). The well-being needs and strengths of para-athletes differed across gender, sport, level of competition, and nature of impairment. Well-being needs were an interaction between physical pain, emotional regulation, lacking purpose outside of sport, and a lack of self-acceptance, especially for athletes with acquired impairments. Well-being strengths were perceived to increase as athletes increased their level of competition, and included personal growth, optimism, strong social support networks, and contributing to multiple communities. The importance of well-being as a multidimensional concept within the global and sport-specific context for para-athletes is discussed.

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Jeffery J. Summers, Kerryn Miller and Stephen Ford

The Test of Attentional and Interpersonal Style (TAIS) has been used to examine the attention-performance relationship in sport with mixed results. However, sport-specific versions of the TAIS attentional subscales appear to provide improved measurement of attentional processes in sport. The present study farther evaluated the utility of a sport-specific TAIS. A secondary aim was to examine the relationship between attentional style and competitive trait anxiety. The TAIS and a basketball-specific form (BB-TAIS) were administered to 110 basketball players classified into three skill-level groups. Both instruments were psychometrically similar. The bandwidth dimension was supported, although it appeared to be multidimensional. The validity of the direction dimension, however, remains inconclusive. Neither instrument was able to reliably discriminate between basketball players of different skill levels. Predicted relationships, however, were obtained between the BB-TAIS subscales and measures of competitive trait anxiety. The use of the TAIS as a research instrument for examining attentional styles in sport is questioned.

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Warren B. Young

Static stretching (SS) is widely used in warm-ups before training and competition. A growing amount of research, however, has demonstrated that SS can impair muscle performance, leading to a reevaluation of optimal warm-up protocols. This commentary discusses many of the methodological issues that can influence conclusions about the acute effects of SS on performance. One difficulty in interpreting the literature is the lack of control or communication about the volume and intensity of the various stretching treatments used. Another major issue is the failure of many researchers to evaluate SS as it is used in practice, particularly the interaction with the other general and sport-specific components of the warm-up. Acute warm-up effects on performance should be considered in conjunction with potential effects on injury prevention. Future directions in research include optimizing general and sport-specific warm-ups, time course of physiological and performance effects, and individualization of warm-ups according to fitness and skill level.

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Sue Hillman

The kinetic chain is open in the upper extremity skills used in most sports. Although closed chain exercises will increase stability, open chain strengthening is more sport specific. This article addresses general concepts of upper extremity rehabilitation, including exercises to restore normal range of motion, joint mechanics, and muscle strength. The roles of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, plyometric training, and elastic band exercises are also discussed. Finally, a progression of specificity training is presented to return the athlete to successful sport performance.

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Maria Kavussanu, Adrian Willoughby and Christopher Ring

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of moral identity on physiological responses to affective pictures, namely, the startle blink reflex and pain-related evoked potential. Male (n = 48) and female (n = 46) athletes participating in contact team sports were randomly assigned to either a moral identity group or a non-moral identity group and viewed a series of unpleasant, neutral, and pleasant sport-specific pictures. During picture viewing, a noxious electrocutaneous stimulus was delivered as the startle probe and the startle blink and pain-related evoked potential were measured. Upon completion of physiological measures, participants reviewed the pictures and rated them for valence and arousal. ANOVAs revealed that participants in the moral identity group displayed larger startle blinks and smaller pain-related potentials than did those in the non-moral identity group across all picture valence categories. However, the difference in the magnitude of startle blinks between the moral and non-moral identity groups was larger in response to unpleasant than pleasant and neutral pictures. Our findings suggest that moral identity affects physiological responses to sport-specific affective pictures, thereby providing objective evidence for the link between moral identity and emotion in athletes.

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Sean Müller, Yasmin Gurisik, Mark Hecimovich, Allen G. Harbaugh and Ann-Maree Vallence

Training studies in a variety of domains focus on between-group comparisons. This study investigated individual differences in learning based upon visual anticipation training using field hockey goalkeeping as the exemplar motor skill. In a within-subject design, four state-league level field hockey goalkeepers were tested before and after visual anticipatory training in an in-situ test that required them to save goals from a drag flick. Response initiation time and response accuracy were measured. Participants were tested at baseline, completed a control phase of sport-specific practice, were retested, then given an intervention phase of temporal occlusion training plus sport-specific practice, and retested. Results indicated that two goalkeepers’ response initiation times were earlier after the intervention. Effect sizes indicated that the two goalkeepers improved response accuracy after the intervention. Another goalkeeper’s response initiation time was later after the intervention, but this did not impede response accuracy of goals saved. The mechanism of individual learning appeared to be modulation of response timing to save goals. Anticipation training can improve in-situ visual-perceptual motor skill performance in an individualized and nonlinear fashion. Further research is needed to better understand how each individual learns the visual-perceptual motor skills of high time-stress tasks in the sport domain.

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Harry Prapavessis and Albert V. Carron

One purpose of the present investigation was to examine whether tennis athletes have maladaptive achievement patterns associated with learned helplessness, and whether this condition is related to gender and/or skill level. A second purpose was to determine if there is a relationship between maladaptive achievement patterns and the attributional styles used in failure performances. A sport-specific questionnaire based upon the research of Dweck and others was designed to assess the cognitive, motivational, and emotional maladaptive achievement patterns in male and female highly skilled and lesser skilled athletes enrolled in a tennis academy (N=50). Another sport-specific questionnaire based on Abramson’s attributional model was used to measure each athlete’s attributional style (i.e., locus of control, stability, globality, and importance). Results revealed that 11 subjects demonstrated maladaptive achievement patterns associated with learned helplessness. No gender or skill level differences were present. Subjects classified as helpless had a different attribution dimension style for explaining failure performances than did subjects classified as nonhelpless. Specifically, helpless subjects gave ratings that were internal, persistent, and recurrent. The results were discussed in terms of their practical implications.

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Edmund O. Acevedo, David A. Dzewaltowski, Diane L. Gill and John M. Noble

The purpose of this study was to examine the sport-specific cognitions of 112 ultramarathoners competing in a 100-mile trail run. Subjects completed the Sport Orientation Questionnaire, the Trait Sport-Confidence Inventory, the Commitment to Running Scale, and a questionnaire designed by the investigators to assess goals, cognitive strategies, perceptions of “runner’s high,” and feelings that occur when subjects are unable to run. Ultramarathoners were more confident, more committed to running, slightly higher in competitiveness, lower on win orientation, and higher on goal orientation in comparison to other athletes. Ultramarathoners also rated importance of and commitment to time goals very high; importance of and commitment to place goals were rated low. No significant differences in cognitive orientations were found between finishers and nonfinishers or between males and females. Responses to open-ended questions revealed that most ultramarathoners reported predominately external thoughts during races, had feelings of psychological well-being and strength as a result of ultramarathoning, never or rarely experienced runner’s high, and experienced negative psychological states when unable to run. Overall, these results demonstrate the unique sport-specific cognitive orientations of ultramarathoners.

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Martin E. Block and Ron Zeman

The purpose of this study was to measure the impact of including three 6th-grade students with severe disabilities who were given support services into a regular physical education class. Basketball skill improvement in passing, shooting, and dribbling during a 3-1/2-week basketball unit and attitudes toward students with disabilities were compared between a 6th-grade class that included 3 students with severe disabilities (CI) and a 6th-grade class in the same school that did not have any students with disabilities (C2). Results from the nonparametric Mann-Whitney U test indicated no differences in skill improvement between the two groups except in dribbling, which favored C2. C1 showed significantly greater pretest scores in general and sport-specific attitudes compared to C2, but there were no differences in gain scores for either general or sport-specific attitude. It was argued that, with proper support services, students with severe disabilities can be included in regular physical education without negatively affecting the program for students without disabilities.