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Nicola A. Maffiuletti

After a brief introduction on electro stimulation methodology and applications in competitive sport for performance optimization, this technical report presents the principal effects of electro stimulation-induced resistance exercise on neuromus-cular features. The advantages and limitations of this technique compared with those of voluntary exercise training are also discussed.

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Karen M. Appleby and Kristen Dieffenbach

The purpose of this study was to investigate elite masters cyclists’ involvement in competitive sport. Using a descriptive, qualitative approach, the researchers interviewed ten elite-level masters cyclists. Data analysis revealed the following salient themes relevant to participants’ experiences: (a) athletic identity, (b) motivational factors, and (c) life balance. These findings suggest that participation as an elite-level masters athlete reflects a high degree of continuity for athletic identity that can be positive in relation to self-esteem and social validation and challenging in relation to transition and maintaining social relationships out of cycling settings.

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Ralph L. Pim

The purpose of this paper is to examine the values-based competitive sport program at the United States Military Academy (West Point), and to determine if the components of character and leadership development were associated with team success. Strategies employed at West Point to develop cultures that produced leaders of character and teams of significance were reviewed. Major points of emphasis in the competitive sport program included (i) teaching values through sport, (ii) identifying and defining core values, (iii) developing warrior athletes of character, (iv) building teams and cultures of significance, (v) reinforcing values through recognition, and (vi) assessing character and leader development of athletes and teams. Characteristics and specific behaviors of great leaders and teams were identified. A rubric for assessing character and leader development in sport and a survey evaluating the competitive sport experience on the desired learning outcomes of the West Point Cadet Leader Development System were presented. Results indicated that competitive sports programs built on values encouraged and developed behaviors that produced success both on and off the field. Subsequent investigations are recommended to identify how character and leadership development can be integrated into the coaching process and applied in civilian secondary schools and institutions of higher learning.

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Karine Corrion, Thierry Long, Alan L. Smith and Fabienne d’Arripe-Longueville

This study was designed to assess athletes’ use of moral disengagement in competitive sport. We conducted semistructured interviews with 24 elite male and female athletes in basketball and taekwondo. Participants described transgressive behaviors in competitive situations and reasons for adopting such behaviors. Content analyses revealed that the eight moral disengagement mechanisms identified in everyday Life (i.e., moral justification, advantageous comparison, euphemistic labeling, minimizing or ignoring consequences, attribution of blame, dehumanization, displacement of responsibility, and diffusion of responsibility; Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara, & Pastorelli, 1996) were germane in sport. However, the most frequently adopted mechanisms in sport (i.e., displacement and diffusion of responsibility, attribution of blame, minimizing or ignoring consequences, and euphemistic labeling) differed somewhat from those considered most salient in everyday life (i.e., moral justification, advantageous comparison, and euphemistic labeling). Moral disengagement mechanisms linked to projecting fault onto others (“It’s not my fault”) and minimization of transgressions and their consequences (“It’s not serious”) appear to be especially prominent in sport. The findings extend the sport moral disengagement literature by showcasing athlete accounts of moral disengagement.

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Leslie Podlog, Sophie M. Banham, Ross Wadey and James C. Hannon

The purpose of this study was to examine athlete experiences and understandings of psychological readiness to return to sport following a serious injury. A focus group and follow-up semistructured interviews were conducted with seven English athletes representing a variety of sports. Three key attributes of readiness were identified including: (a) confidence in returning to sport; (b) realistic expectations of one’s sporting capabilities; and (c) motivation to regain previous performance standards. Numerous precursors such as trust in rehabilitation providers, accepting postinjury limitations, and feeling wanted by significant others were articulated. Results indicate that psychological readiness is a dynamic, psychosocial process comprised of three dimensions that increase athletes’ perceived likelihood of a successful return to sport following injury. Findings are discussed in relation to previous research and practical implications are offered.

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Robert Weinberg, Damon Burton, David Yukelson and Dan Weigand

The purpose of the present investigation was to explore athletes’ responses regarding the frequency, effectiveness, and importance of different types of goals to enhance their performance. Subjects (N = 678) were collegiate athletes at three NCAA Division I schools from different regions of the United States. Each athlete completed an extensive questionnaire detailing his or her perceptions regarding the use and effectiveness of a number of different goal-setting strategies. Descriptive results revealed that virtually all athletes practiced some type of goal setting to help enhance performance and that they found their goals to be moderately to highly effective. Athletes also reported that improving overall performance, winning, and having fun were their three most important goals. Many significant differences were found when comparing groups. For example, although females generally set more performance goals than males, males set more outcome goals than females. Future directions for research are offered including studying developmental differences and barriers/facilitators to achieving goals.

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J. Robert Grove, David Lavallee, Sandy Gordon and John H. Harvey

In this paper, we examine the account-making model of Harvey, Weber, and Orbuch (1990) as a framework for understanding negative reactions to retirement from competitive sport. Theoretical aspects of the model are first summarized, and a case study is then presented to illustrate the central role of account-making in the adjustment process for an Olympic gold medallist. We conclude by suggesting ways that sport psychology consultants can facilitate account-making and thereby help athletes to cope with distressful reactions to retirement.

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Gregoire P. Millet, David J. Bentley and Veronica E. Vleck

The relationships between sport sciences and sports are complex and changeable, and it is not clear how they reciprocally influence each other. By looking at the relationship between sport sciences and the “new” (~30-year-old) sport of triathlon, together with changes in scientific fields or topics that have occurred between 1984 and 2006 (278 publications), one observes that the change in the sport itself (eg, distance of the events, wetsuit, and drafting) can influence the specific focus of investigation. The sport-scientific fraternity has successfully used triathlon as a model of prolonged strenuous competition to investigate acute physiological adaptations and trauma, as support for better understanding cross-training effects, and, more recently, as a competitive sport with specific demands and physiological features. This commentary discusses the evolution of the scientific study of triathlon and how the development of the sport has affected the nature of scientific investigation directly related to triathlon and endurance sport in general.

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Joanne Hudson and Natalie C. Walker

Using a case study approach, this study examined reversals in metamotivational state during golf competition. Five male golfers competed in a round robin tournament. Following each match, golfers were individually interviewed using a modified Metamotivational State Coding Schedule (Potocky, Cook, & O’Connell, 1993). Content analysis techniques were used to identify metamotivational states, reversals in metamotivational state, and the factors affecting them. Individual differences in metamotivational state profiles were evident; for instance, the tournament winner demonstrated the most consistent profile across matches. Overall, however, players’ profiles demonstrated more similarities than differences. Most frequently cited metamotivational states were paratelic and telic conformity, and reversals were attributable to contingent event, satiation, and frustration factors. These results support reversal theory proposals (Smith & Apter, 1975) and its use as a framework for understanding psychological processes during competitive sport (Kerr, 1993).

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Mark H. Anshel

Drug abuse in competitive sport continues to be pervasive. Numerous explanations have been given for this and the reasons range from performance enhancement (anabolic steroids) to relieving stress and boredom (so-called recreational drugs). Drug testing, strict policies and enforcement, and educational programs have continued to be the main responses to the problem. However, relatively little attention has been given to preventive rather than punitive and curative strategies, particularly with respect to the coach’s input. This article offers several cognitive and behavioral approaches for coaches and sport psychology consultants in dealing with drug abuse among athletes. The recommendations are based on personal interactions with hundreds of intercollegiate athletes conducted over a 6-year period and from the extant professional literature.