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.  Specifically, the investigators found that the strength of 25 expert and 25 novice martial artists as measured by a handgrip strength test was significantly higher when the martial artists grunted or made some similar verbal outburst.  In applying these results to a business setting, next time you have to move a file cabinet or other heavy object, grunt at what you feel is an appropriate level, and if your coworkers give you a funny look, just inform them that you are implementing the latest state-of-the-art evidence-based practice.

Welch, A.S.  & Tschampl, M. (2012). Something to shout about: A simple, quick performance enhancement technique improved strength in both experts and novices. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 24(4), 418-428.

human resource management, organizational industrial psychology, organizational management



source for picture:

I/O Psychology and Sports: The Do’s and Don’ts of Handling Stress.

Topic: Selection, Human Resources, Sports Psychology
Publication: The Sport Psychologist (2006)
Article: Stressors, Coping, and Coping Effectiveness Among Professional Rugby Union Players.
Authors: Nicholls, Adam R.; Holt, Nicholas L.; Polman, Remco C. J.; Bloomfield, Jonny
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

10, 9, 8, 7; the clock ticks down in the final game and you are passed the ball. Make it, and your team is the champion. Miss it, and you have an off-season filled with regret and disappointment. From the field to the boardroom, stress exists. How do you handle it?

Adam Nicholls, Nicholas Holt, Remco Polman, and Jonny Bloomfield collaborated to investigate the coping strategies used by professional rugby players. Broadly speaking, there are two types of coping strategies, problem-focused and emotion-focused. A problem-focused coping strategy focuses on practical solutions to the stress-inducing situation. An emotion-focused coping strategy focuses on ameliorating the emotions (e.g., frustration, sadness) caused by the stress- inducing situation. In a 28-day diary, eight elite rugby players recorded their stressors, coping responses, and the efficacy of their coping strategies. It was found that the most frequently cited stressors were injury concerns, mental mistakes, and physical mistakes while the most effective coping strategies were problem-focused (e.g., focusing on the task, increasing effort).

Like the rugby players, do you also use problem-focused coping strategies before the big
meeting? Or do you kiss your lucky penny, cross your fingers, spin in circles three times, and hope for the best? It’s up to you. But considering that professional athletes focus on the task and increase effort when the heat is on, maybe you should too.

Nicholls, A.R., Holt, N.L., Polman, R.C.J., & Bloomfield, J. (2006). Stressors, coping, and
coping effectiveness among professional rugby union players. The Sport Psychologist, 20, 314-329.

human resource management,organizational industrial psychology, organizational management

Want to up your game? You’re more likely to with a little help from your friends.

Topic: Development, Sports Psychology
Publication: Journal of Sports Sciences (2007)
Article: Stressors, social support, and effects upon performance in golf
Authors: T. Rees, L. Hardy, & P. Freeman
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

Does encouragement and other forms of social support affect the performance of athletes? Tim Rees, Lew Hardy, and Paul Freeman think so.  They hypothesized that social support would affect the performance of golfers.

In investigating this hypothesis, the researchers evaluated the stress, social support, and performance of 117 amateur golfers.  The results were in accordance with the researchers’ hypothesis.  Specifically, stress decreased performance while social support improved performance. These results suggest that social support positively affects the performance of golfers.

These findings seem to be applicable to the development of golfers, and possibly, athletes as a whole.  For instance, if a golfer is underperforming, a possible remedy could be increased social support from the athlete’s coach and manager.  If this intervention is a success, the athlete’s performance may improve.

Rees, T., Hardy, L., & Freeman, P. (2007). Stressors, social support, and effects upon performance in golf. Journal of Sports Sciences, 25(1), 33–42.

human resource management,organizational industrial psychology, organizational management