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Louise M. Burke and David B. Pyne

Bicarbonate loading is a popular ergogenic aid used primarily by athletes in short-duration, high-intensity sporting events and competitions. Controlled experimental trials have shown that small (worthwhile) benefits can obtained from acute doses of bicarbonate taken before exercise. Gastrointestinal problems encountered by some athletes limit the widespread use of this practice, however. The transfer of positive research findings to the competitive environment has proved problematic for some individuals. More recent applications involve serial ingestion of bicarbonate over several days before competition or during high-intensity training sessions over a few weeks. A number of research questions need to be addressed to enhance applications of bicarbonate loading in the elite sport environment. This commentary examines some of research and practical issues of bicarbonate loading used to enhance both training and competitive performance.

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Magnus Carlsson, Tomas Carlsson, Daniel Hammarström, Christer Malm and Michail Tonkonogi

Purpose:

This study investigated whether there is a correlation between time-trial performance and competitive performance capacity of male and female junior cross-country skiers and sought to explain sex-specific competitive performance capacity through multiple-regression modeling.

Methods:

The International Ski Federation’s (FIS) junior ranking points for distance (FISdist) and sprint (FISsprint) competitions were used as performance parameters. A total of 38 elite junior (age 18.5 ± 1.0 y) cross-country skiers (24 men and 14 women) completed 3 time-trial tests: a 3-km level-running time trial (TTRun), a 2-km moderate uphill (1.2° slope) roller-skiing time trial using the double-poling technique (TTDP), and a 2-km uphill (2.8° slope) roller-skiing time trial using the diagonal-stride technique (TTDiag). The correlations were investigated using Pearson correlation analysis, and regression models were created using multiple-linear-regression analysis.

Results:

For men, FISsprint and FISdist were correlated with the times for TTRun, TTDP, and TTDiag (all P < .001). For women, FISsprint was correlated with the times for TTRun (P < .05), TTDP (P < .01), and TTDiag (P < .01), whereas FISdist was correlated only with the times for TTDP (P < .01) and TTDiag (P < .05). The models developed for FISdist and FISsprint explained 73.9–82.3% of the variance in the performance capacity of male junior cross-country skiers. No statistically valid regression model was found for the women.

Conclusions:

Running and roller-skiing time trials are useful tests for accurately predicting the performance capacity of junior cross-country skiers.

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Kai C. Bormann, Paul Schulte-Coerne, Mathias Diebig and Jens Rowold

The goal of this study is to examine the effects of coaches’ transformational leadership on player performance. To advance existing research, we examine (a) effects on individual and team performance and (b) consider joint moderating effects of players’ win orientation and teams’ competitive performance on the leadership– individual performance link. In a three-source sample from German handball teams, we collected data on 336 players and 30 coaches and teams. Results showed positive main effects of transformational leadership’s facet of articulating a vision (AV) on team and individual performance and negative main effects of providing an appropriate model (PAM) on team performance. With regard to moderating effects, AV increased and PAM decreased individual performance when both moderators were low, and intellectual stimulation had a positive effect when both were high. This study expands insights into the potential and limitation of transformational leadership with a strong focus on the role of situational contingencies.

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Tara K. Scanlan and Michael W. Passer

Identification of factors influencing expectancies of successful performance in competitive youth sports is important to understanding the way in which children perceive and respond to this evaluative achievement situation. Therefore, in this field study involving 10- to 12-year-old female soccer players, intrapersonal factors affecting players' pregame personal performance expectancies were first identified. Soccer ability and self-esteem were found to be related to personal performance expectancies, but competitive trait anxiety was not Second, the impact of game outcome, the previously mentioned intrapersonal variables, and the interaction of game outcome and intrapersonal variables was examined by determining players' postgame team expectancies in a hypothetical rematch with the same opponent. The postgame findings showed that winning players evidenced higher team expectancies than tying and losing players. Moreover, the expectancies of tying players were low and, in fact, similar to those of losers. The results of this study successfully replicated and extended previous findings with young male athletes.

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Robert S. Weinberg, David Yukelson and Allen Jackson

The present investigation was designed to extend Weinberg, Gould, and Jackson's (1979) efficacy-performance results to a back-to-back competitive situation as well as to determine whether performance would be affected by the solicitation of public vs. private expectancy statements. Subjects (56 males and 56 females) were randomly assigned to either a high or low self-efficacy condition and either stated their expectancy of success publicly or privately in a 2 × 2 × 2 (sex × self-efficacy × publiclprivate) factorial design. Self-efficacy was manipulated by having subjects compete against a confederate on a muscular leg-endurance task in which the confederate was said to be either a varsity track athlete who exhibited higher performance on a related task (low self-efficacy), or an individual who had a knee injury and exhibited poorer performance on a related task (high self-efficacy). The results supported self-efficacy predictions, and thus extended Weinberg et al.'s findings to a back-to-back competitive situation. The public/private manipulation produced no significant performance effects. In addition, the sex by self-efficacy interaction indicated that the self-efficacy main effect was due primarily to high-efficacy males extending their legs significantly longer than low-efficacy males. These results are discussed in terms of the differing patterns of sex-role socialization.

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Noam Eyal, Michael Bar-Eli, Gershon Tenenbaum and Joan S. Pie

The aim of this study was to examine whether outcome expectations can be generalized from one defined task to other tasks. A deception paradigm was employed in which outcome expectations were manipulated. High, low, or medium expectations toward performing five tasks, which gradually increased in complexity and shared a common skill, were manipulated. Ninety adult males were randomly assigned to manipulation groups. A within-subjects repeated measures ANOVA indicated that those manipulated by medium expectations showed elevated perceptions of outcome expectations. Their performance, however, was superior only in the two tasks most similar in complexity to the initial task. On the less similar tasks, the differences among the groups were insignificant. A generalization effect can therefore be demonstrated on outcome expectations and performance to a certain degree of task complexity. Implications of the superior performance of participants manipulated to produce medium outcome expectations are discussed.

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Burke D. Grandjean, Patricia A. Taylor and Jay Weiner

During the women’s all-around gymnastics final at the 2000 Olympics, the vault was inadvertently set 5 cm too low for a random half of the 36 gymnasts. The error was widely viewed as undermining their confidence and adversely affecting their subsequent performance. This paper examines whether the vault problem had such a carryover effect. Both pretest scores (from preliminary rounds) and posttest scores (from the final) are available on vault, bars, beam. and floor. Manipulation checks establish that the error had experimental impact on vault performance. However, from comparing means, from analysis of covariance, from multiple regression, and from statistically adjusting the official scores, it is clear that the vault error had little if any effect on later performances or on the final standings. Elite athletes in a closed-skill sport apparently learn to concentrate so well that most can recover from a mishap and refocus successfully for the next effort.

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Ian D. Boardley, Ben Jackson and Alexander Simmons

This research aimed to investigate (a) the effect of golfers’ perceptions of coach motivation efficacy on golfers’ precompetition task self-efficacy, (b) the effect of performance on pre-to-postround changes in self-efficacy, (c) the effect of pre-to-postround changes in self-efficacy on pre-to-postround changes in affect and emotion, and (d) whether any effects of performance on pre-to-postcompetition changes in affect and emotion were mediated by pre-to-postcompetition changes in self-efficacy. In Study 1, a scale measuring golf self-efficacy was developed and validated using data from 197 golfers. In Study 2, 200 golfers completed this measure alongside measures of coach motivation efficacy, and positive and negative affect before a golf competition; all measures (except coach motivation efficacy) were again completed following the competition. Structural equation modeling showed that coach motivation efficacy positively predicted precompetition self-efficacy, performance positively predicted pre-to-postcompetition changes in self-efficacy, which had positive and negative effects, respectively, on pre-to-postcompetition changes in positive and negative affect; mediation analyses demonstrated that pre-to-postcompetition changes in self-efficacy mediated effects of performance on pre-to-postcompetition changes in positive and negative affect. In Study 3, the Study-2 procedures were replicated with a separate sample of 212 golfers, except measures of excitement, concentration disruption, somatic anxiety, and worry replaced those for positive and negative affect. Structural analyses showed the findings from Study 2 were largely replicated when specific emotions were investigated in place of general indices of affect. This investigation makes novel contributions regarding the potential importance of perceptions of coach efficacy for golfers’ own efficacy beliefs, and the role personal efficacy beliefs may play in facilitating the effects of performance on affective outcomes.

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Argyris G. Toubekis, Argiro Tsolaki, Ilias Smilios, Helen T. Douda, Thomas Kourtesis and Savvas P. Tokmakidis

Purpose:

To examine the effects of active and passive recovery of various durations after a 100-m swimming test performed at maximal effort.

Methods:

Eleven competitive swimmers (5 males, 6 females, age: 17.3 ± 0.6 y) completed two 100-m tests with a 15-min interval at a maximum swimming effort under three experimental conditions. The recovery between tests was 15 min passive (PAS), 5 min active, and 10 min passive (5ACT) or 10 min active and 5 min passive (10ACT). Self-selected active recovery started immediately after the first test, corresponding to 60 ± 5% of the 100-m time. Blood samples were taken at rest, 5, 10, and 15 min after the first as well as 5 min after the second 100-m test for blood lactate determination. Heart rate was also recorded during the corresponding periods.

Results:

Performance time of the first 100 m was not different between conditions (P > .05). The second 100-m test after the 5ACT (64.49 ± 3.85 s) condition was faster than 10ACT (65.49 ± 4.63 s) and PAS (65.89 ± 4.55 s) conditions (P < .05). Blood lactate during the 15-min recovery period between the 100-m efforts was lower in both active recovery conditions compared with passive recovery (P < .05). Heart rate was higher during the 5ACT and 10ACT conditions compared with PAS during the 15-min recovery period (P < .05).

Conclusion:

Five minutes of active recovery during a 15-min interval period is adequate to facilitate blood lactate removal and enhance performance in swimmers. Passive recovery and/or 10 min of active recovery is not recommended.

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Judy L. Van Raalte, Allen E. Cornelius, Elizabeth M. Mullin, Britton W. Brewer, Erika D. Van Dyke, Alicia J. Johnson and Takehiro Iwatsuki

A series of studies was conducted by Senay et al. in 2010 to replicate and extend research indicating that self-posed questions have performance benefits. Studies 1–3 compared the effects of the self-posed interrogative question (“Will I?”) to declarative (“I will”) and control self-talk, and found no significant group differences in motivation, perceived exertion, or performance. In Studies 4–5, interrogative, declarative, and control self-talk primes were compared, and no outcome differences were found. In Study 6, the effects of self-talk on motivation, perceived exertion, and physical performance were assessed. The self-talk groups performed better and were more motivated than the control group, but declarative and interrogative groups did not differ from each other. Finally, meta-analyses of the six studies indicated no significant differences among conditions. These results highlight the value of replication and suggest that factors other than grammatical form of self-posed questions may drive the demonstrated relationships between self-talk and performance.