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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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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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Christine M. Bonci, Beth Sloane and Karen Middleton

Management of the overhead athlete presenting with anterior instability requires an identification of factors influencing successful therapeutic intervention strategies. The importance of differentiating a diagnosis, of knowing something of the demands of the sport, and of addressing pertinent anatomical and biomechanical considerations of the throwing shoulder prior to implementing rehabilitation programs must be considered. An appreciation of the complexities of the throwing shoulder serves as a basis for the selection of rehabilitation activities aimed at returning the athlete to pretrauma levels of overarm proficiency. The challenge of regaining normal shoulder joint osteokinematics and neuromuscular function at a competitive status is described in terms of the proper selection and sequencing of rehabilitation exercises for the initiation and progression of range of motion, muscle strength, muscle reducation, and sport-specific functional activities. Time frames for progressing the various stages of rehabilitation, indications for exercise selection based on electromyographic studies, and attention to detail with regard to exercise execution are emphasized.

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Semyon M. Slobounov, Robert Simon, Wayne Sebastianelli, Angela Carlson and William E. Buckley

A variety of assessment devices have been developed for scientific investigation on human movement that can also be used to assess the progress of a rehabilitation program. The present investigation was undertaken to show how this technology can be combined with the most aggressive type of medical intervention and rehabilitation. Advanced technology was used to assess the physical rehabilitation parameters of active range of motion (AROM) and sport-specific functional progression for an Olympic-caliber diver who had bilateral wrist problems. AROM was measured for both wrists using a Flock of Birds motion-tracking device, and functional progression was assessed with an Advanced Mechanical Technology Inc. force platform for measuring the center of pressure (CP) area. The results of the treatment were clinically favorable, with an increase in AROM and a decrease in the CP area for functional motor control. The technology provided useful information about the progress of a rehabilitation program.

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Kate R. Barrett, Kathleen Williams, Jill McLester and Sara Ljungkvist

Developmental sequences for the vertical cradle were hypothesized and tested using a prelongitudinal screening technique to determine comprehensiveness and developmental accuracy. Fifty-one 10- to 13-year-old children were videotaped as they ran and cradled over a flat surface. A total of 150 trials were categorized for seven components: basic rhythm, hand and arm action, stick position, top hand grip, stick head and top arm action, position of hands, and bottom arm and hand action. Lack of developmental variability occurred for the basic rhythm, hand and arm action, and hand position components. For the stick position component, more younger children were classified at the highest level than older children. The developmental sequence for the stick head and top arm component was comprehensive and age related. The role various constraints play in hypothesizing sequences of sport specific skills needs to be considered along with the quality and amount of instruction.

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Jeffrey J. Martin and Carol A. Mushett

The purpose of this investigation was to describe social support mechanisms of swimmers with disabilities and examine relationships among social support, self-efficacy, and athletic satisfaction. Results indicated that athletes felt satisfied with the social support they received. Mothers and friends provided primary support in a variety of areas requiring non-sport-related knowledge. Additionally, there were important secondary sources of support in areas requiring sport-specific knowledge. Coaches were primary sources of support in areas that required sport expertise. Fathers were also important sources of secondary support in areas that required both sport expertise and nonsport expertise. Correlational results suggested that athletes who were supported by being listened to and by being challenged to become better athletes and people also reported strong self-efficacy.

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Tim Rees and Lew Hardy

Lack of consensus regarding the nature and conceptual definition of the social support construct has led to a plethora of different forms of measurement of this psychosocial variable, many with psychometric limitations. Beyond the psychometric limitations of some measures, in sport there is also a need for measures to be relevant to the specific experiences of sports performers. In order to gain a greater understanding of the social support experiences of sports people, 10 high-level sports performers were interviewed regarding their experiences of social support. Principles of the grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) approach were adopted for analysis of their responses and insights. Four dimensions of support were generated, within each of which were comments relating to sport-specific support and comments relating to support not directly concerning the sport itself. The dimensions were labeled emotional, esteem, informational, and tangible. Example quotes are given to highlight each dimension of support, and implications for intervention are derived.

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Brenda Jo Bredemeier

A structural-developmental approach was employed in the present study to investigate athletes' moral cognitions about intentionally injurious sport acts. Analyses were based on interviews with 40 female and male high school and college basketball players. Subjects reasoned about general life and sport-specific moral dilemmas and made judgments in hypothetical and engaged contexts about the legitimacy of sport behaviors presented in the Continuum of Injurious Acts (CIA). Athletes' moral reasoning levels were inversely related to the number of CIA acts they perceived as legitimate; this reasoning-judgment relationship was particularly strong for sport reasoning and judgments made in the hypothetical context. Also, differences in the perceived legitimacy of CIA acts occurred in hypothetical and engaged contexts and as a function of sex and, in the engaged condition, school level. Results were discussed in light of athletes' coordination of moral reasoning and decision-making about intentionally injurious sport acts.

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Joe D. Willis

Sport-specific motive scales were developed for power, achievement, and fear-of failure. Pilot testing resulted in 80 Likert-type items for the three scales, which were administered to 764 males and 253 females. Subjects were junior high to college level athletes representing 17 sports and 22 schools or colleges. Item analysis further reduced the number of items to 40. Alpha reliabilities for the three scales ranged from .76 to .78, whereas test-retest reliabilities after 8 weeks were .69 to .75. Evidence of content, criterion-related, and construct validity was presented. All scales were found to be relatively free of social desirability bias. It was concluded that the use of the scales was justified when confined to the study of groups and for research purposes only.

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John G.H. Dunn and A. Brian Nielsen

To fully understand why athletes experience anxiety in specific competitive situations, the psychological dimensions upon which threat perceptions are based must also be understood. No studies to date have been designed primarily to facilitate direct cross-sport comparisons of the constructs. The purposes of this study were (a) to identify the psychological dimensions upon which athletes in ice hockey and soccer base threat perceptions towards specific anxiety-inducing game situations, and (b) to determine whether athletes from these sports held similar threat perceptions towards parallel cross-sport situations. Seventy-one athletes rated the degree of similarity of threat perceptions across 15 sport-specific game situations. A multidimensional scaling analysis revealed similar three-dimensional solutions for each sport. However, certain distinct between-sport differences were also observed. Furthermore, the perceptions of threat towards certain situations were found to be multidimensional. The implications these findings have for competitive-anxiety research are discussed.