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Lecture 4

Kinesiology 1070A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Michael Sheard, Negative Affectivity, ConfoundingExam

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Kinesiology 1070A/B
Harry Prapavessis

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Assignment 4: Sport Psychology
Kin 1070A
Cassandra Barry
This assignment is based on a scientific study that supports the following proposition:
Psychological interventions are effective at enhancing psychological processes and/or sport
performance”. My chosen article is titled Effect of a psychological skills training program on
swimming performance and positive psychological development by Michael Sheard and Jim
Provide a brief background to the study: Swimming is a rigorous sport that requires many
long hours of training both in and out of the pool in order to develop the required strength and
stamina to succeed. Demands such as this can put a high amount of stress on any person,
adolescents in particular, which just so happens to be the demographic this study focuses on.
In the past, there have been several studies conducted on the benefits of mental skills
training on sport performance that show very positive results, such as one mentioned in this
studies report that was done on female speed skaters by Wanlin et al. in 1997. Despite previous
good results, relatively few studies have focused in specifically on the benefits in relation to
swimming performance (particularly at the national level of competitiveness). Sheard and Golby
saw this as an issue due to the high level of mental toughness that swimming requires. As a
result, they decided to perform this study to test out their hypothesis stating: well planned
psychological skills trainings (PST) can have a positive impact on an adolescent swimmers
development in competitive sport, as well as facilitate their growth in other areas of their life by
generalizing the use of their newfound mental skills (Sheard & Golby, 2006).
Describe the sample and intervention used: 36 Swimmers (13 boys and 23 girls) ranging from
ages 10 18, all of whom compete at the national level in the UK were drawn from 3 separate
clubs. All 36 athletes selected were naïve to the research hypothesis, screened for acceptable
health status, and were confirmed to all train an equivalent amount of time per week. Participants
were split up into two groups, the first consisting of 17 swimmers all from the same club, and the
second group contained the leftover 19 participants from the other two swim clubs. The group of
17 swimmers went first, and then after their seven weeks were up the second group of 19
underwent PST.
All participants received the PST in 45 minute one on one sessions once per week for five
weeks. Each session focused on a different psychological skill, those being; goal setting,
visualization techniques, relaxation, concentration and thought stopping. The length of the study
was seven weeks (including introduction and follow up). The intervention began with an
introductory group meeting with all participants of one group present. During this meeting, each
swimmer completed several questionnaires that were designed to measure their initial scores in
the variables that were to be measured throughout the study (participants also filled out these
questionnaires before each 45 minute session to track progress). The final session (week 7) was a
debrief done one on one, where participants filled out the same questionnaires used previously.
What outcomes were measured? Several outcomes were measured in this study, so to make
things easier they can be divided in to two separate groups; psychological (using self-reported
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