Performance-enhancing shouts

Topic: Sport Psychology
Publication: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2012)
Article: Something to shout about: A simple, quick performance enhancement technique improved strength in both experts and novices
Authors: Amy S. Welch & Mark Tschampl
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

imagery_10_12_08_000547Have you ever watched tennis – particularly the women’s professional tennis association – and wondered why the athletes grunted as they struck the ball?  Though I cannot speak on behalf of any of the players, my assumption was that it increased the attention and ultimately performance of the athlete.

According to research by Amy Welch & Mark Tschampl, I was half right, and the grunting does improve performance, but the boost is related to increased strength and not increased attention.

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Characteristics athletes look for in a sport-psychology practitioner

Topic: Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2012)
Article: Athletes’ preferred characteristics and qualifications of sport psychology practitioners: A consumer market analysis
Authors: John R. Lubker, Amanda J. Visek, Jack C. Watson II, & Darius Singpurwalla
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

PR_004-_SI_-_29_02_12-049When choosing a sport-psychology practitioner, intercollegiate athletes prefer a female practitioner who is physically fit with high interpersonal skills, large amounts of sport knowledge, an ethnicity similar to that of the athlete, an athletic background, and a professional degree, according to research by John R. Lubker, Amanda J. Visek, Jack C. Watson II, & Darius Singpurwalla.

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Burned Out? It Might Be Time to Look at Your Goals (IO Psychology)

Topic: Burnout, Stress, Goals
Publication: Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Article: The 2×2 model of goal orientation and burnout: The role of approach-avoidance dimensions in predicting burnout
Authors: Naidoo, L. J., DeCriscio, A., Bily, H., Manipella, A., Ryan, M., & Youdim, J.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

There have been times when we’ve all felt a little burned out from work. When we feel burned out the usual suspects are situational factors like the job, occupation, organizational characteristics, leadership, and individual differences. But there is one variable that has typically been ignored in the literature—our motivational dispositions, or in other words, our goals.

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Smile, you may pitch better

Topic: Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2003)
Article: The relationship between emotional intelligence and performance among college
baseball players
Authors: S. Zizzi, H. Deaner, & D. Hirschhorn
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

Emotional intelligence refers to the capacity to recognize and use emotions. If I smile, do you recognize this as happiness? Or do you believe that me laughing means that I am sad? If you knew that a smile typically indicates a state of happiness, give yourself a gold star. Now that you are the Albert Einstein of recognizing emotions, can you use them?

For instance, if you want to non-verbally convey how you are feeling, can you alter your body language so as to communicate your mood? If so, two gold stars for you. Since recognizing and using emotions seems important to the performance of everyday activities and communications, does recognizing and using emotions affect performance in other domains such as collegiate sports?

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Score one for the small town!

Topic: Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2009)
Article: Place but not date of birth influences the development and emergence of athletic talent in American football
Authors: D. MacDonald, M. Cheung, J. Côté, & B. Abernethy
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell (2008) contends that date of birth is relevant to the success of hockey and soccer players. Can that be true? As you ponder this, also consider the relevance of someone’s place of birth.

Does the success of an athlete relate to the population size of the city that he or she was born in? For example, would you rather select an athlete who was born in February in a town of over 5,000,000 or an athlete born in September in a town of less then 500,000?

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Want increased performance? Provide social support (IO Psychology)

Topic: Development
Publication: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2009)
Article: An Intervention to Increase Social Support and Improve Performance
Authors: Paul Freeman, Tim Rees, and Lew Hardy
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

Can social support improve performance? According to Rees and Hardy, the four types of social support are emotional support, which refers to listening and talking things through; esteem support, such as emphasizing the positives; informational support, which includes advice and feedback; and tangible support, such as money and resources.

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Does Practice Makes Perfect?

Topic: Teams, Development
Publication: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2003)

Article: Sport-specific practice and the development of expert decision-making in team ball sports
Authors: J. Baker, J. Cote, & B. Abernethy
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

How long does an athlete need to practice before he or she becomes an expert?  In the 1970s, the amount was 10,000 hours, or, approximately 10 years (sound familiar to you “Outliers” fans?).  As of late, the theory has been refined to reflect the notion that quality is at least as important as the quantity of practice.  Deliberate practice, a high-quality type of practice that focuses on improving performance with a work-like fervor, has been shown to differentiate expert from non-expert athletes, academics, and artists.  

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