Mental skills training for enjoyment: Exploring experiences, processes, and outcomes with recreational golfers

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Title: Mental skills training for enjoyment: Exploring experiences, processes, and outcomes with recreational golfers
Authors: Stodel, Emma J
Date: 2004
Abstract: The critical role enjoyment plays in prolonging sport participation highlights the necessity of maximising opportunities for enjoyment in sport. Extant research suggests that mental skills training (MST) may be a potentially valuable means through which this can be achieved. However, no one has specifically examined the value of a comprehensive MST program as a means of enhancing sport participants' enjoyment of the sport experience. Consequently, the purpose of this inquiry was to explore the role of MST in increasing sport enjoyment. Not only was the effectiveness of MST in enhancing enjoyment investigated, but also an attempt was made to gain an understanding of the MST experience from the perspective of the participants. Furthermore, the MST process for the participants was documented. The inquiry was qualitative in nature and conducted from a constructivist perspective. A multiple case study approach was employed to collect data from seven recreational golfers (four males, three females). Various data collection methodologies were selected for use in this inquiry to allow the participants' voices to be heard. Data sources included interviews, individual consultations, MST seminars, observations, documents, and a questionnaire. Both within-case and cross-case analyses were conducted. Findings indicated there is a role for MST in increasing golf enjoyment for recreational golfers. All the participants indicated they enjoyed golf more after the training. They attributed the increase in enjoyment to a number of cognitive, affective, and behavioural outcomes of the MST. First, the MST changed the participants' attitudes, making them more confident, balanced, and disciplined. Second, the participants learned to become more relaxed when playing golf. Third, the participants felt their golf had improved. Fourth, the participants learned to derive enjoyment from diverse sources as a result of learning to switch their focus away from their performance when appropriate. Lastly, the participants developed a sense of control over their performance and emotions. Despite the significant impact the MST had on the participants' golf enjoyment, they reported their primary reason for engaging in the MST was to improve their golf performance. During the MST the participants were taught diverse MST techniques and guided in their mental skill development. The use of these techniques varied across participants in terms of how they adapted them to meet their needs and the degree to which they integrated them into their golf. Yet in spite of these differences in the participants' involvement with the training, they all enjoyed the experience and benefited from it in different ways. The individual consultations emerged as the most helpful aspects of the MST, but the seminars also played a critical role in the mental training experience. The social element of the seminars contributed to both the participants' enjoyment and learning. Furthermore, the findings highlighted the importance of grounding MST for adults in the principles of effective practice for adult education. Implications of the findings for sport psychology theory and practice are discussed.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/29171
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-12805
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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