Pre-Competition Anxiety and Self-Confidence in Collegiate Track and Field Athletes: A Comparison between African American and non-Hispanic Caucasian Men and Women

Submitted by Ms. Vasiliki Anagnostopoulos 1*, Michele M. Carter Ph.D 2*, and Carol Weissbrod Ph.D 3*

1*MA, Department of Psychology, American University, Washington, DC.

2* Professor, Department of Psychology, American University, Washington DC

3*Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, American University, Washington DC

Vasiliki received her BA from Princeton university where she was a varsity soccer athlete.  Since then she has earned her MA in Psychology from American University.  She is currently working on completing her dissertation under the direction of Dr. Carter.  She works primarily in the area of anxiety and related disorders and sport performance.

Abstract                                                    

This study examined ethnic differences in the intensity and direction of pre-competition cognitive and somatic anxiety and self-confidence among Division I collegiate track and field men and women athletes.  At a regular season track meet participants from seven Division I schools were approached and agreed to complete survey questions addressing competitive anxiety and win orientation.  Study measures within three days of the event.  Results were first analyzed by gender.  It was found that the only difference between African American men and non-Hispanic Caucasian men athletes was that African American men reported lower cognitive direction scores than non-Hispanic Caucasian men. Among women, results indicated that African American women athletes reported less cognitive anxiety intensity and higher self-confidence than non-Hispanic Caucasian women.  Interestingly, results also indicated few differences between African American women athletes as compared to either group of men athletes.  Cultural factors are discussed that explain why African American women athletes are different from other groups.

Keywords: ethnicity, gender, competitiveness

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Modernizing the Navy’s Physical Readiness Test: Introducing the Navy General Fitness Test and Navy Operational Fitness Test

Submitted by CDR D. D. Peterson1* MSC USN, E.d.D, CSCS*D

Abstract

The lessons learned from recent combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown operational commanders that the military fitness tests currently used by the different services are inadequate in terms of assessing the physical fitness required for combat.  Currently, only the U.S. Marine Corps employs a combat specific fitness test; although the U.S. Army and Air Force have recognized the need and rationale for one as well. Unfortunately, the U.S. Navy continues to lag behind the other services in terms of modernizing its physical fitness training and testing programs.  The purpose of this article is four-fold:  1) justify the need for service-specific combat fitness tests, 2) discuss past and current examples service-specific combat fitness tests, 3) introduce a revised general fitness test intended to replace the current Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT), and 4) propose an operational fitness test that could be adopted and employed by the U.S. Navy.

Commander David Peterson currently serves as the Executive Officer, Physical Education Department at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He also serves as the Director, Human Performance Laboratory at the Naval Academy.

Keywords:  physical fitness; fitness tests; fitness assessments; combat readiness; operational readiness; Combat Fitness Test; Physical Readiness Test

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How Mindfulness Training may mediate Stress, Performance and Burnout

Submitted by  P. Furrer1*, Dr. F. Moen2*,  and. Dr. K. Firing3*

1* Master student; Faculty of Teacher Education; The Nord-Trøndelag University College; Levanger, Norway

2* Associate Professor; Department of Education; Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Trondheim, Norway

3*Associate Professor; Department of Leadership; The Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy; Trondheim, Norway

Frode Moen is currently the head manager of the Olympic Athlete program in central Norway, where he also has a position as a coach / mental trainer for elite athletes and coaches.  He also is an associate professor at the Department of Education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.  He previously has worked as a teacher in high school where sport was his major subject, and he has been a coach for the national team in Nordic combined in Norway for several years.  Frode received his Ph.D.  in coaching and performance psychology from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.  His research focuses mainly on coaching in business, coaching in sport, communication, performance psychology and relationship issues.

ABSTRACT

The aim of this article was to explore the influence of mindfulness training on stress, perceived performance in school and sports, and athlete burnout among junior elite athletes.  One goal was to determine the usefulness of mindfulness training in performance enhancement and burnout prevention in junior elite sports.  A mindfulness-training program (MTP) was conducted with 29 junior elite athletes over a period of 12-weeks.  Six of the athletes who were participating in the MTP were randomly chosen to voluntarily participate in a semi structural interview that explored possible effects from the MTP.  Our qualitative analyses showed that the mindfulness intervention had a positive impact on the athletes’ awareness and recovery.  The authors also discuss positive effects on the athletes’ focus and performances.  The findings are discussed against the usefulness of mindfulness training in athlete burnout prevention.

Key words: mindfulness, stress, athlete burnout, sport

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High School Coaches’ Continuing Education Delivery Preferences

Submitted by Brooke E. Forester, Ph.D.1*; Shelley L. Holden, Ed.D.2*; Christopher M. Keshock, Ph.D.3*

1* Assistant Professor of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Studies, University of South Alabama

2* Associate Professor of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Studies, University of South Alabama

3* Associate Professor of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Studies, University of South Alabama

Dr. Forester’s current position is with the University of South Alabama as a professor of Sport and Recreation Management.  Her research interests are focused on coach education, corporate social responsibility in the sport industry, and sport politics. Previously, Dr. Forester taught as a visiting faculty member at The Florida State University.

Abstract

According to the National Federation of High State High School Associations (NFHS), there are approximately 7.6 million high school athletes across the country (14).   These athletes are led by coaches who often seek continuing education opportunities to further their professional development.  The purpose of the study was to examine the preferences of continuing education delivery methods among high school coaches. Data were collected through online surveys.  Both male (n = 74) and female (n = 29) head and assistant coaches participated in the study.  The participating coaches (N = 103) were presented with six options of content delivery methods.  Data were analyzed using a 5×2 mixed model analysis of variance (ANOVA). The within subjects factor was delivery method (1. live, 2. books, 3.on-line, 4. hybrid, and 5. DVD/video) and the between subjects factor, gender. Results showed a significant main effect for delivery method F(4,404)=13.198, p<.001 but not gender (males M=3.343±1.08; females M=3.345±1.12; p>.05). Post Hoc comparisons found the highest rated delivery method (live course M=3.991±1.378) to be significantly different (p≤.05) from books (M=2.709±1.218), on-line, on-demand (M=3.325±1.182), and live courses on-line (M=3.250±1.283) methods but not DVD/video (M=3.530±1.136). To date, there has been little research conducted with American high school coaches’ continuing education.  Continuing education research including other subjects however provides contrasting results.  Nurse practitioners prefer in-person conferences most (3) while Canadian sport coaches seem to prefer to learn from a variety of sources (5).  Results of the current study would be useful for the development of continuing education content for coaches and to assist academicians in better understanding the intricacies of coaching education.

Keywords:  Coaching, continuing education, coaching education

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How to Effectively Manage Coach, Parent, and Player Relationships

Submitted by: Shelley L. Holden, Ed.D1*, Brooke E. Forester, Ph.D2*, Christopher M. Keshock, Ph.D3*, Steven F. Pugh, Ph.D.

1* Associate Professor of Health, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Ala.

2* Assistant Professor of Health, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Ala.

3* Associate Professor of Health, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Ala.

4* Professor of Health, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Ala.

Shelley Holden  is an associate professor in the Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Studies Department at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Ala.

ABSTRACT

Youth sports are an integral part of the culture in the United States and directly impact the lives of many children and adolescents. Parents play a major role in a child’s athletic development and are members of the athletic triangle.  The athletic triangle consists of the coach, athlete, and parent and the relationships within this triad can have significant impact on the psychological development of the child (6, 23. 27). The following article aims to provide a general overview of the athletic triangle in the context of youth and high school sports with a focus on the role of effective communication for optimal athletic success.

Keywords: coaching, athletic triangle

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