Volume 40 - n. 3 - July-Semptember 2009


Mental skill profiles and expertise levels of elite Iranian athletes

John H. Salmela *, Shamsi S. Monfared **, Fatolla Mosayebi ** and Natalie Durand-Bush *

(*) University of Ottawa, Canada
(**) National Olympic Committee of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iran

The purpose of the present study was to determine whether differences between of the OMSAT-3 scales occurred with an international sample of Iranian athletes with various levels of expertise in sport, e.g., qualifiers versus non-qualifiers or medalists versus non-medalists. Durand-Bush, Salmela and Green-Demers (2001) showed how the OMSAT-3 differentiated between international and national level Canadian athletes on most mental skill scales after ANOVA and MANOVA analyses. It was believed that with the present sample, fewer scales would differentiate between skill levels. Six months prior to the 15th Asian Games in Doha, the Persian version of the OMSAT-3 was administered to 208 Iranian athletes, 110 of whom were selected for the Games in 15 different sports. An overall ANOVA revealed that the selected athletes reported higher mental skill scores. Post-hoc analyses revealed that stress reactions and refocusing skills separated the selected and non-selected athletes at (p < .05) and that the relaxation skill differences approached borderline significance. Following the Games, 38 medal winners and 30 non-medalists were compared and it was found that the stress reaction scale was the only one that differentiated between both groups of athletes. This demonstrated there are expertise-related differences between selected OMSAT-3 scales in international sport.

Keywords: Expertise, International sport performance, Iranian athletes, Mental skills



The effect of implicit and explicit methods in acquisition of anticipation skill in low and high complexity situations

Evandros Votsis, George Tzetzis, Vasilia Hatzitaki and V. George Grouios

Department of Physical Education and Sport Science Control and Learning, Laboratory of Motor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

The purpose of this research was to examine the effectiveness of explicit and implicit learning methods in acquisition and retention of anticipation skill in low and high complexity situations in badminton. Participants were 80 students ranging in age from 18 to 28 years (M=20, SD=2.88) who had no previous experience with racket sports. They were divided into four equal groups and followed different training interventions: a) explicit learning group via guided discovery, b) implicit learning group through concurrent secondary task via method of random letter generation, c) placebo group and d) control group. Groups followed an intervention program of 12 practice sessions, with theoretical and practical lessons. All participants underwent separate video-based, pre-test, posttest, and retention test. The number of explicit rules possessed by participants before and after the training intervention was also assessed to evaluate the correct implementation of the learning methods. Separate two-way (4 groups X 3 measurement tests) analyses of variance with repeated measures on the last factor were applied to analyze performance measured by reaction time and response accuracy for the two complexity situations. In low complexity situations there was no significant main effect of group time or interaction for the reaction time scores. However, experimental groups improved their response accuracy over time and both explicit and implicit groups were better than the control group at the retention test. In high complexity situations, again there was no significant main effect of group time or interaction for the reaction time scores. Both explicit and implicit groups had better reaction time than the control group. Only the explicit group improved the response accuracy overtime and this group was better than implicit, placebo and control groups at the retention test. It can be concluded that when the information selection procedure does not require high attention to the display and when the choices of the motor response are limited novices can be trained via both implicit and explicit learning methods. However, in more complex situations the explicit learning via guided discovery helps participants more substantially to improve their response accuracy. These findings may reflect a learning paradigm for anticipation skill in low and high complexity sport situations.

Keywords: Badminton, Complexity, explicit, and implicit learning



The influence of assimilation and differentiation needs on sport team preferences: The quest for optimal distinctiveness

James A. Dimmock

The University of Western Australia, Australia

Optimal distinctiveness theory indicates that social identification is driven by fundamental needs for assimilation and differentiation. This investigation sought to determine whether priming these needs influences sport team preferences or identification strength. Australian university students who studied sport science undertook a procedure designed to make them feel an increased need for assimilation or differentiation. The participants were then asked to list their favourite sport team and to complete a Team Identification Scale. As expected, those individuals primed to experience an increased need for assimilation were more likely to list a local sport team as their favourite, whereas participants in the need for differentiation group were more likely to list an overseas sport team as their favourite. Three separate 2x2 ANOVAs indicated that identification strength was not influenced by need state priming, by team location, or by an interaction between the two. Discussion is focused on the increasingly important concept of the ‘satellite supporter’ and on recommendations for future research.

Keywords: Optimal Distinctiveness Theory, Sport, Team identification



Differences in processing of game information in basketball players, coaches and referees

Clare Macmahon *, Janet L. Starkes ** and Janice Deakin ***

(*) School of Sport and Exercise Science and the Centre for Aging, Rehabilitation, and Exercise Science, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
(**) Dept. of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
(***) Dept. of Physical Education, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

This study applied the expert performance approach (Ericsson & Smith, 1991) to test groups of players, coaches and referees in three separate video-based decisionmaking tasks designed to correspond to the demands of each role (playing, coaching, refereeing). Although previous research has shown expected role-based superiority in role-based tasks (e.g., Allard, Parker, Deakin & Rodgers, 1993), this study found greater overlap between the groups. For example, referees outperformed players and coaches in deciding on the next optimal offensive move, but were not superior in identifying infractions. The findings show that current role is not a sufficient grouping to elicit clear role-based differences, and indicates that past experience as a player provides lasting influences on current processing for coaches and referees. This interpretation has positive implications for transfer of processing skill during role transitions (e.g., players who become referees). Future research should continue to explore appropriate tasks that elicit role-based differences, and attempt to control for experience more rigorously, given the complexity of capturing rolerelated skill in the laboratory.

Keywords: Basketball, Domain specificity, Information processing, Skill



Perceived development of psychological characteristics in male and female elite gymnasts

Fabienne D'arripe-Longueville *, Magaly Hars **, Nadine Debois ** and Claire Calmels ***

(*) Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France
(**) Institut National du Sport et de l’Education Physique, Paris, France et Université de Lille 2, France
(***) NULL

This study examined the perceived development of psychological characteristics in male and female elite gymnasts. Fourteen participants (seven females and seven males) were engaged in individual semi-structured interviews, which were subjected to an inductive-deductive analysis procedure. Results revealed the main psychological characteristics perceived to be developed by all the participants pertained to achievement motivation, performance enhancement cognitive skills (e.g., focusing, imagery), and affective and psychosomatic skills (e.g., ability to deal with anxiety; relaxation). Although all the participants perceived that their psychological characteristics were influenced by different sources (e.g., social sport environment; family; sport process) and through a variety of methods (e.g., social support; unpleasant social interactions; competitive experiences), some gender differences were suggested. Family influences were perceived as constant among females, whilst the role of competitive experiences was perceived as predominant amongst males. Results are discussed in the context of previous psychological development literature and theories of gender development.

Keywords: Elite sport, Gender, Psychological development, Social influences