Competitive Performance Effects of Psychological Skill Training for Youth Swimmers

Jennifer Meggs, Mark Chen

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Abstract

This study assessed the effect of two different psychological methods of skills training – self-talk and goal setting - on the swimming performance of youth swimmers. We allocated aconvenience sample of club and county level youth swimmers (N=49;Mage= 10.8,SD = 1.25) to one of three groups: self-talk, goal setting or a control group engaged in no systematic psychological method of skills training. The groups were balanced in terms of competitive performance ability, age and gender.Participantsin the experimental conditions (self-talk and goal setting) completed a five-week psychological skills intervention program and were measured on pre- and post-200meter swimming time in competition. After controlling for level of engagement in the program, ANCOVA revealed a significant omnibus effect (p = 0.006, η2 = 0.20) with post hoc pairwise comparisons using magnitude based statistics demonstrating that goal setting had a smallpositive effect compared to self-talk (2 = 0.40; +/- 0.45). Both self-talk (2=0.50 +/- 0.48) and goal setting (2= 0.71 +/- 0.4), showed a small and moderate positive effect,respectively,relative to the control group. A social validation check confirmed that the swimmers found the intervention to be relevant, beneficial and meaningful for improving performance. Psychological skills training may be effective in improving youth swimming performance; specific mechanisms underlying these benefits need further exploration.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalPerceptual and Motor Skills
Early online date11 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jun 2019

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abstract = "This study assessed the effect of two different psychological methods of skills training – self-talk and goal setting - on the swimming performance of youth swimmers. We allocated aconvenience sample of club and county level youth swimmers (N=49;Mage= 10.8,SD = 1.25) to one of three groups: self-talk, goal setting or a control group engaged in no systematic psychological method of skills training. The groups were balanced in terms of competitive performance ability, age and gender.Participantsin the experimental conditions (self-talk and goal setting) completed a five-week psychological skills intervention program and were measured on pre- and post-200meter swimming time in competition. After controlling for level of engagement in the program, ANCOVA revealed a significant omnibus effect (p = 0.006, η2 = 0.20) with post hoc pairwise comparisons using magnitude based statistics demonstrating that goal setting had a smallpositive effect compared to self-talk (2 = 0.40; +/- 0.45). Both self-talk (2=0.50 +/- 0.48) and goal setting (2= 0.71 +/- 0.4), showed a small and moderate positive effect,respectively,relative to the control group. A social validation check confirmed that the swimmers found the intervention to be relevant, beneficial and meaningful for improving performance. Psychological skills training may be effective in improving youth swimming performance; specific mechanisms underlying these benefits need further exploration.",
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Competitive Performance Effects of Psychological Skill Training for Youth Swimmers. / Meggs, Jennifer; Chen, Mark.

In: Perceptual and Motor Skills, 11.06.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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