Date of Award

5-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Craig A. Wrisberg

Committee Members

Leslee A. Fisher, Jeffrey T. Fairbrother, Schuyler W. Huck

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a season-long mental skills training (MST) program based on a conceptual framework informed by humanism and cognitive-behaviorism on the anxiety, confidence, mental skills usage, quality of life, and performance of an intact team. Participants consisted of a team of 14 female NCAA Division III collegiate volleyball players. The MST program was molded by the players and consisted of relaxation, team building, imagery, goal setting, pre-serve and pre-performance routines, anxiety management, focus words, confidence building, cognitive restructuring (positive self-talk), refocusing after mistakes, and defining roles on the team. The Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS), the Trait Sport-Confidence Inventory (TSCI), the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28 (ACSI), the Test of Performance Strategies (TOPS), and the Athlete Life Quality Scale (ALQS) were given during the pre-season, mid-season, and post-season. Consultant effectiveness was also measured during the post-season using the Sport Psychology (Mental Training) Consultant Evaluation Form. A repeated measures MANOVA revealed no significant differences over time for any of the questionnaires (F [4, 10] = 2.25, p > .05), although the TSCI approached significance (p = .05). ACSI and TOPS scores were used to assign players to high and low mental skills usage groups. Athletes who reported high usage had significantly lower anxiety and significantly higher confidence than athletes who reported low usage. The players were also grouped based on academic class (freshmen or non-freshmen). Over the season, the anxiety of freshmen increased and the anxiety of non-freshmen decreased. Both freshmen and non-freshmen increased in confidence over time, but non-freshmen had significantly higher confidence than freshmen. Non-freshmen also had significantly higher life quality than freshmen. The high usage players performed significantly better than low usage players for the following statistics: assists/game average, kill percentage, kills/game average, ace/game average, and digs/game average. Overall, it was concluded that the MST program with this team affected athletes differentially and it is recommended that consultants remain flexible with respect to the frequency and content of MST sessions they offer.

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