Abstract

The Ultimate Goal: Achieving Optimal Performance through Increased Sport Enjoyment in Collegiate Women's Soccer

Presenters:
Scott Barnicle, SAIC, USA

Theme: Mental training/interventions

Poster Number: 35

Program ID: POS-1

Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon

Abstract:

The field of sport psychology has grown extensively due to an increase in acceptance and use of applied mental skills training by both athletes and coaches, yet sport enjoyment has often been overlooked as a significant predictor of and contributor to performance. Through the combined use of applied mental skills training utilizing tools (i.e., goal setting, self-talk, relaxation, and imagery) and skills (i.e., self-confidence, arousal control, motivation, concentration, stress management), as well as traditional counseling psychology techniques, the purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of an applied MST intervention as a means of increasing sport enjoyment and potential corresponding performance outcomes. However, the role of enjoyment as a mediator of mental and physical performance enhancement has yet to be thoroughly examined and was a secondary goal of this MST intervention research. This successful intervention with a Division 1 women’s soccer team illustrated the impact that sport enjoyment has on performance and demonstrated the importance of sport enjoyment within applied mental training. This season-long intervention displayed significance in improving the treatment group’s sport enjoyment, both week-to-week and throughout the span of the season. Significant differences were found both in treatment (n=8) vs. control group (n=10) analysis, as well as pre and post intervention with the treatment group regarding factors of sport enjoyment, predictors and influences of sport enjoyment, and the scope of impact sport enjoyment has on athletic performance. The findings of this research may contribute to the awareness of the importance sport enjoyment plays on athlete satisfaction and athletic performance, as well as improving the awareness coaches and staff may have regarding the psychological well-being and enjoyment of athletes. This successful intervention can also aid practitioners and researchers’ understanding and appreciation of sport enjoyment in their practice.

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