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Mental Preparation Strategies, Cognitions, and Strength Performance

Daniel Gould, Robert Weinberg, and Allen Jackson

Two experiments were conducted to determine if different mental preparation strategies produced differential strength performance and whether arousal was the major mediating variable explicating this relationship. In the first experiment, 15 male and 15 female subjects performed under five different mental preparation conditions in a 2 × 5 (sex by mental preparation strategy) Latin square design. The mental preparation conditions included: attentional focus, imagery, preparatory arousal, a control-rest condition, and a counting backwards cognitive-distraction condition. Immediately after employing each technique, all subjects performed four trials on a leg-strength task, and measures of state anxiety and other cognitions were then obtained. The findings revealed that the preparatory arousal and imagery techniques produced the greatest change in performance, with preparatory arousal subjects also reporting the greatest changes in cognitive states. However, due to the possibility of range effects resulting from the within-subjects design used in Experiment I, a second between-subjects experiment was conducted. Thirty males and 30females performed in a 2 × 3 (sex by mental preparation) design using the preparatory arousal, imagery and control conditions of Experiment 1. Only the preparatory arousal condition was found to facilitate performance. However, no consistent changes in cognitive states were found between experiments, and these inconsistent findings were interpreted as being caused by methodological problems associated with self-report assessment of cognitive states.

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“Don’t Touch My Bag”: The Role of Superstition in Professional Male Boxing

Georgia Allen, Claire Thornton, and Holly Riby

.A. Smith (Ed.), Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods (pp. 26 – 52 ). London, UK : Sage . Gould , D. , Eklund , R. , & Jackson , S. ( 1992 ). 1988 U.S. Olympic wrestling excellence: I. Mental preparation, precompetitive cognition, and affect . The Sport Psychologist

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Use of Mental Preparation Strategies by International Elite Female Lacrosse Players from Five Countries

Mary Frances Heishman and Linda Bunker

Fifty-five lacrosse players from five countries (Australia, Canada, England, the United States, and Wales) competing in the 1986 Lacrosse World Cup Tournament completed a questionnaire regarding their use of mental preparation in training and competition. The findings revealed that 81 % of the subjects considered mental preparation to be very important or extremely important in preparing for competition, and only 2% considered it to be unimportant. A one-way ANOVA indicated a significant difference among the countries on 3 of 10 variables studied. A significant difference was demonstrated between lacrosse teams from various countries in the use of visualization/imagery and frequency of dreams about play (Canada made most frequent use). There was also a significant difference in the frequency of mental training received from a trained sport psychologist. Perhaps not coincidentally, the lacrosse team that had the most frequent contact with a trained sport psychologist (Australia) was the most successful team at the tournament.

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1988 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Excellence: I. Mental Preparation, Precompetitive Cognition, and Affect

Daniel Gould, Robert C. Eklund, and Susan A. Jackson

This study involved extensive interviews with all 20 members of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team about their performances in the Seoul Olympics. Qualitative research methodology and analyses were employed to acquire and preserve rich representations of these experiences. Mental preparation strategies, precompetitive cognition, and affect were examined by having the wrestlers respond to a series of questions about their all-time best match, worst Olympic match, and most crucial Olympic match. Considerable consistency was found across wrestlers’ responses regarding all-time best and worst Olympic matches whereas striking differences were found between the best and worst matches. For example, before best matches, wrestlers followed mental preparation plans and routines and were extremely confident, totally focused, and optimally aroused. They also focused on clear tactical strategies. Before worst matches, wrestlers were not confident, had inappropriate feeling states and experienced many task-irrelevant and negative thoughts, and deviated from preparation plans. These results are consistent with other research with Olympic athletes and suggest that precompetitive states play a critical role in competitive performance.

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A Conceptual Model for Integrating Athletes’ Needs and Sport Demands in the Development of Competitive Mental Preparation Strategies

Jim Taylor

This article provides a conceptual model that describes several critical aspects in the development of competitive mental preparation strategies: (a) a complete understanding of the specific needs of the athlete, (b) detailed knowledge of the particular demands of the sport, (c) integration of this information to identify the most critical psychological factors that will affect performance, and (d) a the development of the most effective competitive mental preparation strategies for the specific athlete. This discussion is presented in several stages. First, gaining an in-depth understanding of an athlete with the use of subjective and objective assessment is described. Second, the critical physical, technical, and logistical differences between sports are delineated. Third, the roles that key psychological factors play and what priority they should be given in each sport are discussed. Fourth, strategies that are most suitable to each mental factor within each sport are identified.

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A Mental Warm-Up for Athletes

Britton W. Brewer, Adisa Haznadar, Dylan Katz, Judy L. Van Raalte, and Albert J. Petitpas

routinely applied before training and competition, particularly in team sports. Nevertheless, a mental warm-up could fulfill mental-preparation functions analogous to the physical-preparation functions fulfilled by a physical warm-up. Just as a warm-up consisting of a sampling of physical activities

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Train Your Mind for Athletic Success: Mental Preparation to Achieve Your Sports Goals

Megan M. Buning

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Psychological Skills Training of an Elite Wheelchair Water-Skiing Athlete: A Single-Case Study

Virginie de Bressy de Guast, Jim Golby, Anna Van Wersch, and Fabienne d’Arripe-Longueville

This study presents a complete psychological skills training (PST) program with a wheelchair athlete and examines the program effectiveness using a mixed-method approach. After initial testing, the athlete followed a two-month program of self-confidence building, motivational, visualization/relaxation, and injury management techniques. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to examine the impacts on performance and psychological abilities. The triangulated results suggest that the PST program was perceived as effective by the athlete in terms of his sporting performances and mental skills. The characteristics and implications of a PST program with this wheelchair athlete are discussed, as well as the study limitations and the perspectives for future research.

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Effects of Self-Talk: A Systematic Review

David Tod, James Hardy, and Emily Oliver

This article presents a systematic review of the literature examining the relationship between self-talk and performance. “Second-generation questions” regarding potential mediators and moderators of the self-talk–performance relationship were also examined. A total of 47 studies were analyzed. Results indicated beneficial effects of positive, instructional, and motivational self-talk for performance. Somewhat surprisingly, two evidence-based challenges to popular current viewpoints on self-talk emerged. First, negative self-talk did not impede performance. Second, there was inconsistent evidence for the differential effects of instructional and motivational self-talk based on task characteristics. Results from the mediation-based analysis indicate that cognitive and behavioral factors had the most consistent relationships with self-talk. The findings are discussed in the context of recent theoretical advances, and the article includes recommendations for future research (e.g., the use of designs allowing the testing of meditational hypotheses) and for current applied practice (e.g., avoiding the use of thought-stopping techniques).

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The Relationship Between the Perceived Motivational Climate in Elite Collegiate Sport and Athlete Psychological Coping Skills

Mary D. Fry, Candace M. Hogue, Susumu Iwasaki, and Gloria B. Solomon

effective use of the following psychological coping skills: coping with adversity, peaking under pressure, goal setting/mental preparation, concentration, freedom from worry, confidence/achievement motivation, and coachability. Each subscale has four items. The coping with adversity subscale measures the