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The Perception of Psychology and the Frequency of Psychological Strategies Used by Strength and Conditioning Practitioners

Radcliffe, Jon N.; Comfort, Paul; Fawcett, Tom

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2013 - Volume 27 - Issue 4 - p 1136–1146
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182606ddc
Original Research

Abstract: Radcliffe, JN, Comfort, P, and Fawcett, T. The perception of psychology and the frequency of psychological strategies used by strength and conditioning practitioners. J Strength Cond Res 27(4): 1136–1146, 2013—The study aimed to first examine the frequency of the psychological skills and strategies of strength and conditioning practitioners and second distinguish between demographic differences in relation to psychological skills and strategy use. The Strength and Conditioning Sport Psychology Questionnaire was developed to measure the frequency of use of 11 subscales. These consisted of goal setting, imagery, self-talk, mental toughness, attention control, relaxation, stress management, adherence, activation, self-confidence, and ego management. Each subscale demonstrated acceptable internal validity ale (mean interitem correlations ranged as 0.227–0.427). The instrument allowed up to 5 open-ended responses concerning skills considered most important to strength and conditioning practice and up to 5 psychological attributes considered detrimental within strength and conditioning. One hundred and two participants met the inclusion criteria (90 men and 12 women; age 34.7 ± 9.7 years; experience 7.4 ± 5.2 years; part time 36.5%; full time 63.5%). The respondents were registered with the following organizations: United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association: 41, National Strength and Conditioning Association: 48 and Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA): 48. Goal setting was found to be the most frequently used skill with mental imagery the least used with significant differences identified in the frequency of skill use. The strategies deemed to be most important were motivation and confidence with the most debilitating factors identified as a lack of motivation and a lack of confidence. When comparing demographics, overall skill use varied between practitioners with different experience with more experienced practitioners having greater skill use, both overall and particular individual skills. Participants accredited by the ASCA had a greater psychological skill use than those accredited by other bodies.

Directorate of Sport, Exercise, and Physiotherapy, The University of Salford, Salford, United Kingdom

Address correspondence to Jon N. Radcliffe, j.n.radcliffe@edu.salford.ac.uk.

Copyright © 2013 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.