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Craig R. Hall and Wendy M. Rodgers

Research on various psychological techniques indicates that their use by athletes, particularly in combination with one another, can produce enhanced performance. An extension of this finding would seem to be that coaches should be able to incorporate combinations of various mental training techniques in their teaching to improve their coaching effectiveness. A work-shop was developed and conducted for figure skating coaches on the use of various psychological techniques with their skaters. Prior to and following the workshop, the coaches were asked about their use of the psychological techniques. While most coaches were familiar with the techniques before participating in the workshop, they evaluated the workshop as being informative and felt it helped them to more effectively use the techniques. The more qualified and experienced coaches generally were the most positive toward the workshop and the various mental training techniques covered. The skaters they coached reported improvements in their lessons following the coaches’ participation in the workshop.

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Amanda Martindale and Dave Collins

On the basis of anecdotal evidence and media interest, the public profile of applied sport psychology is ever increasing in terms of its perceived impact on the performance of elite athletes and teams. In the profession, however, there is some concern over whether we are managing to concurrently match this pace empirically, through the evolution of scientific methods and mechanisms to evaluate the effectiveness of practice. This article considers requirements of the current evaluation climate and provides an overview of existing formal evaluation procedures. It is suggested that the evolving intricacies and complexities of applied sport psychology practice are neither fully captured nor represented by these procedures. Consequently, a framework of professional judgment and decision making (PJDM) is proposed from which to consider the evaluation of practice. In addition, methods and mechanisms for enhancing and building on our current evaluation procedures are offered.

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Lillian A. De Petrillo, Keith A. Kaufman, Carol R. Glass and Diane B. Arnkoff

The present study sought to determine the effects of Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE) on runners. Participants were 25 recreational long-distance runners openly assigned to either the 4-week intervention or to a waiting-list control group, which later received the same program. Results indicate that the MSPE group showed significantly more improvement in organizational demands (an aspect of perfectionism) compared with controls. Analyses of pre- to postworkshop change found a significant increase in state mindfulness and trait awareness and decreases in sport-related worries, personal standards perfectionism, and parental criticism. No improvements in actual running performance were found. Regression analyses revealed that higher ratings of expectations and credibility of the workshop were associated with lower postworkshop perfectionism, more years running predicted higher ratings of perfectionism, and more life stressors predicted lower levels of worry. Findings suggest that MSPE may be a useful mental training intervention for improving mindfulness, sport-anxiety related worry, and aspects of perfectionism in long-distance runners.

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Gert Vande Broek, Filip Boen, Manu Claessens, Jos Feys and Tanja Ceux

This study investigated the decision-making process of three instructional groups (i.e., teacher-centered, student-centered with tactical questioning and student-centered without tactical questioning) in practical courses in volleyball among university students. All students (N = 122) performed a Tactical Awareness task on the correctness of the decision-making process at three testing phases (i.e., pretest, posttest and retention test). The results revealed that the tactical awareness of all students ameliorated after five lessons (posttest) and this effect persisted over time after six weeks (retention test). However, the tactical knowledge of the student-centered instructional group with tactical questioning improved significantly more than the two other instructional groups. These findings highlight the importance of a student-centered approach with an active involvement of students in evaluative skills to enhance the tactical decision-making process.

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Fuzhong Li, Edward McAuley, Peter Harmer, Terry E. Duncan and Nigel R. Chaumeton

The article describes a randomized, controlled trial conducted to examine the effects of a Tai Chi intervention program on perceptions of personal efficacy and exercise behavior in older adults. The sample comprised 94 low-active, healthy participants (mean age = 72.8 years. SD = 5.1) randomly assigned to either an experimental (Tai Chi) group or a wait-list control group. The study length was 6 months, with self-efficacy responses (barrier, performance efficacies) assessed at baseline, at Week 12, and at termination (Week 24) of the study. Exercise attendance was recorded as an outcome measure of exercise behavior. Random-effects models revealed that participants in the experimental group experienced significant improvements in self-efficacy over the course of the intervention. Subsequent repeated-measures ANOVA revealed that participants’ changes in efficacy were associated with higher levels of program attendance. The findings suggest that self-efficacy can be enhanced through Tai Chi and that the changes in self-efficacy are likely to improve exercise adherence.

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Jeffrey S. Hird, Daniel M. Landers, Jerry R. Thomas and John J. Horan

This study compared varying ratios of physical to mental practice on cognitive (pegboard) and motor (pursuit rotor) task performance. Subjects (36 males and 36 females) were randomly assigned to one of six conditions experiencing different amounts of combined mental and physical practice. Seven practice sessions (four trials per session for the pegboard and eight trials per session for the pursuit rotor) were employed. ANOVA results showed that all treatment conditions, except the pegboard control group, showed significant differential pre- to posttest improvement. Furthermore, effect sizes and significant linear trends of posttest scores from both tasks showed that as the relative proportion of physical practice increased, performance was enhanced. In support of previous meta-analytic research, for all treatment groups, the effect sizes for the cognitive task were larger than for the motor task. These findings are consistent with the symbolic-learning theory explanation for mental-practice effects. In addition, the results indicate that replacing physical practice with any mental practice would be counterproductive.

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Stefanos Perkos, Yannis Theodorakis and Stiliani Chroni

This study examined the effectiveness of instructional self-talk on acquiring and performing three basketball skills (dribbling, passing, and shooting). Sixty-two young, novice players were organized into two groups. The experimental group accompanied the practice of three specific drills with self-talk. The control group performed the same drills traditionally. Six assessment sessions were completed. Repeated measures MANOVAs showed that experimental group participants performed better than their control group counterparts when dribbling and passing. Experimental group participants and their coaches reported using self-talk more when passing and dribbling and less when shooting. In addition, experimental group participants achieved significantly better dribbling and passing scores (p < .05) between assessment sessions. These results support instructional self-talk as an effective tool for skill acquisition and performance enhancement of skills low in complexity.

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Andy R. Dotterweich, Anna Swisher, Sterlynn Clendenin, Mauro Palmero, Amy E. Greene and Joseph T. Walker

The application of sport science is crucial to athlete performance development. However, the frequent disconnection among sport scientists, coaches, and athletes often leads to miscommunication and increased potential for performance barriers. The creation of sport performance enhancement groups (SPEGs) can help with the professional integration and communication among all personnel involved in the training process. However, SPEG formation faces a number of barriers in the current coaching landscape. The application of a benefits-based programming (BBP) model may aid in the formation of an SPEG and the dissemination of education for coaches, athletes, and administrators. A field experience involving the BBP model and SPEG creation in a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II school is presented with multiple model iterations

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Martin J. Barwood, Jo Corbett, John Feeney, Paul Hannaford, Dan Henderson, Ian Jones and Jade Kirke


To establish the thermal and performance effects of wearing a lower-body graduated compression garment (GCG) in a hot environment (35.2°C ± 0.1°C) with a representative radiant heat load (~800 W/m2) in contrast to a control (running shorts) and sham condition (a compression garment 1 size larger than that recommended by the manufacturer), with the latter included to establish any placebo effect.


Eight participants (mean ± SD; age 21 ± 2 y, height 1.77 ± 0.06 m, mass 72.8 ± 7.1 kg, surface area, 1.89 ± 0.10 m2) completed 3 treadmill tests at a fixed speed for 15 min followed by a self-paced 5-km time trial. Performance (completion time) and pacing (split time), thermal responses (aural, skin, and mean body temperature, cardiac frequency), and perceptual responses (rating of perceived exertion [RPE], thermal sensation, thermal comfort) were measured.


Performance in the compression group was not different than in either sham or control at any stage (P > .05); completion time 26.08 ± 4.08, 26.05 ± 3.27, and 25.18 ± 3.15 min, respectively. At the end of the 5-km time trial, RPE was not different; it was 19 ± 1 across conditions. In general, thermal and perceptual responses were not different, although the radiant heat load increased site-specific skin temperature (quadriceps) in the garment conditions.


GCG did not enhance performance in a hot environment with a representative radiant heat load. The sham treatment did not benefit perception. GCG provided no evidence of performance enhancement.

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César Gallo-Salazar, Francisco Areces, Javier Abián-Vicén, Beatriz Lara, Juan José Salinero, Cristina Gonzalez-Millán, Javier Portillo, Victor Muñoz, Daniel Juarez and Juan Del Coso

The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a caffeinated energy drink to enhance physical performance in elite junior tennis players. In 2 different sessions separated by 1 wk, 14 young (16 ± 1 y) elite-level tennis players ingested 3 mg caffeine per kg body mass in the form of an energy drink or the same drink without caffeine (placebo). After 60 min, participants performed a handgrip-strength test, a maximal-velocity serving test, and an 8 × 15-m sprint test and then played a simulated singles match (best of 3 sets). Instantaneous running speed during the matches was assessed using global positioning (GPS) devices. Furthermore, the matches were videotaped and notated afterward. In comparison with the placebo drink, the ingestion of the caffeinated energy drink increased handgrip force by ~4.2% ± 7.2% (P = .03) in both hands, the running pace at high intensity (46.7 ± 28.5 vs 63.3 ± 27.7 m/h, P = .02), and the number of sprints (12.1 ± 1.7 vs 13.2 ± 1.7, P = .05) during the simulated match. There was a tendency for increased maximal running velocity during the sprint test (22.3 ± 2.0 vs 22.9 ± 2.1 km/h, P = .07) and higher percentage of points won on service with the caffeinated energy drink (49.7% ± 9.8% vs 56.4% ± 10.0%, P = .07) in comparison with the placebo drink. The energy drink did not improve ball velocity during the serving test (42.6 ± 4.8 vs 42.7 ± 5.0 m/s, P = .49). The preexercise ingestion of caffeinated energy drinks was effective to enhance some aspects of physical performance of elite junior tennis players.