comparative biomechanics, where evolutionary pressures have driven species-specific movement efficiencies ( Wilson et al., 2018 ). This inverse-optimization approach also characterizes the studies of elite performers for a given movement. Here, individuals have optimized their movement patterns under the
Geoffrey T. Burns, Kenneth M. Kozloff, and Ronald F. Zernicke
Research into the relationship between mood profiles and athletic performance has produced equivocal results. It appears that athletic populations tend to show more positive mood profiles than the general population, but that mood profiles are ineffective in differentiating between athletes of varying achievement levels. POMS appears to have greater discriminatory power among homogeneous ability groups in terms of differentiating between successful and unsuccessful performances. In this paper, a number of conditions that increase the predictive capability of preperformance mood profiling are proposed. In addition, measurement issues, factors influencing crosssectional and intraindividual comparisons, and proposed uses of mood profiling among elite performers are discussed. It is concluded that further research is required to fully understand how intraindividual mood fluctuations influence athletic performance, and to understand the impact of preperformance and intraperformance mood trends upon performance.
George W. Lawton, Tsung Min Hung, Pekka Saarela, and Bradley D. Hatfield
High levels of athletic performance are frequently attributed to mental states. Evidence for this attribution comes mainly from phenomenological reports of athletes. However, research with elite performers using electrophysiological measures has tracked changes in nervous system activity in real time during performance, which may further understanding of such states. Specific patterns of psychophysiological activity from the cerebral cortex, in the form of event-related slow potentials (SPs), as well as spectral content measured by electroencephalography (EEG), occur in the few seconds of performance (preshot) preparation. We discuss these data. We suggest that the logical structure of research with athletes differs from other psychophysiological research. We emphasize the theoretical mind-body issues and the logical structure of these investigations to suggest directions for future research.
Kieran Kingston, Andrew Lane, and Owen Thomas
This study examined temporal changes in sources of sport-confidence during the build up to an important competition. Elite individual athletes (N = 54) completed the Sources of Sport-Confidence Questionnaire (SSCQ) at five precompetition phases (6 weeks, 4 weeks, 3 weeks, 2 weeks and 1 week before competition). A two-factor (gender x time-to-competition) MANOVA revealed no significant interactions, but highlighted both time-to-competition and gender main effects. Time-to-competition main effects indicated the importance placed upon demonstration of ability, physical/mental preparation, physical self-presentation and situational favorableness sources of sport-confidence changed during the precompetition phase. Gender main effects revealed that female athletes demonstrated a significantly greater reliance on sources associated with mastery, physical self-presentation, social support, environmental comfort and coach’s leadership than male athletes. These findings emphasize the benefit of considering sources of sport-confidence as competition approaches; they may have implications for the design and timing of confidence based interventions.
David Alder, Paul R. Ford, Joe Causer, and A. Mark Williams
We examined the effects of high- versus low-anxiety conditions during video-based training of anticipation judgments using international-level badminton players facing serves and the transfer to high-anxiety and field-based conditions. Players were assigned to a high-anxiety training (HA), low-anxiety training (LA) or control group (CON) in a pretraining–posttest design. In the pre- and posttest, players anticipated serves from video and on court under high- and low-anxiety conditions. In the video-based high-anxiety pretest, anticipation response accuracy was lower and final fixations shorter when compared with the low-anxiety pretest. In the low-anxiety posttest, HA and LA demonstrated greater accuracy of judgments and longer final fixations compared with pretest and CON. In the high-anxiety posttest, HA maintained accuracy when compared with the low-anxiety posttest, whereas LA had lower accuracy. In the on-court posttest, the training groups demonstrated greater accuracy of judgments compared with the pretest and CON.
Gennaro Boccia, Marco Cardinale, and Paolo Riccardo Brustio
studies tracked the career trajectories of large samples of athletes, including both junior and senior elite performers, 12 – 14 but these research efforts were confined to national-level athletes, and thus, the conclusions might not apply to world-class performers. In particular, despite their
Tara Edwards, Lew Hardy, Kieran Kingston, and Dan Gould
Structured in-depth interviews explored the catastrophic experiences of eight elite performers. Participants responded to questions concerning an event in which they felt they had experienced an uncharacteristic but very noticeable drop in their performance, a “performance catastrophe.” Inductive and deductive analyses were employed to provide a clear representation of the data. This paper reports on how the dimensions emerging from the hierarchical content analysis changed from prior to the catastrophic drop in performance, during the drop, and after the drop (in terms of any recovery). Two emerging higher order dimensions, “sudden, substantial drop in performance” and “performance continued to deteriorate” provide support for one of the fundamental underpinnings of the catastrophe model (Hardy, 1990, 1996a, 1996b); that is, performance decrements do not follow a smooth and continuous path. The paper examines the implications of the findings with respect to applied practice and future research.
Sheldon Hanton and Graham Jones
This study presents the first in a series of two articles extending previous findings that elite performers, compared to nonelite performers, interpret their preperformance cognitive and somatic anxiety symptoms as more facilitative than debilitating to performance (Jones, Hanton, & Swain, 1994; Jones & Swain, 1995). In-depth interview techniques were employed to investigate the cognitive skills and strategies underlying elite swimmers’ interpretations of their prerace thoughts and feelings. Participants were 10 male elite swimmers who consistently maintained facilitative interpretations. Data were drawn from verbatim transcripts and were inductively content analyzed. Four general dimensions traced the acquisition and development of the cognitive skills and strategies underlying facilitation from early competitive experiences to the present day. It was concluded that participants’ skills and strategies were acquired via natural learning experiences and various educational methods. These results extend the research literature on facilitative anxiety by identifying and clarifying the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon.
David Fletcher and Sheldon Hanton
This study extends recent research investigating organizational stress in elite sport. Fourteen international performers (7 men and 7 women) from a wide range of sports were interviewed with regard to potential sources of organizational stress. Consistent with Woodman and Hardy’s (2001a) theoretical framework of organizational stress in sport, four main categories were examined: environmental issues, personal issues, leadership issues, and team issues. The main environmental issues that emerged were selection, finances, training environment, accommodation, travel, and competition environment. The main personal issues were nutrition, injury, and goals and expectations. The main leadership issues were coaches and coaching styles. The main team issues were team atmosphere, support network, roles, and communication. The findings are discussed in relation to previous research and in terms of their implications for sport organizations and personnel working with elite performers.