A Case Study into Women’s Rugby: Pre-Kick Routine
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Pre-performance routines are a sequence of self-paced tasks used by numerous athletes to enhance their performance. Performers have been known to use pre-performance routines to recall a desired physiological and psychological state before the execution of their skill; subsequently reducing the impact of the demands put upon them as athletes. This case study used a university level women’s rugby union player. Additionally, the present study used a mixed methods approach (quantitative and qualitative) which reduced the limitations of the methodology. The quantitative aspect consisted of the participants routine being videoed to use for data in a dependent t-test that investigated the differences in routine time and behavioural measures during kicks taken in non-competitive situations in comparison to competitive situations. The qualitative aspect gained an in-depth view of pre-performance routines. The interview provided information about the athlete’s perception of their pre-performance routine, the psychological and physiological techniques involved in their routine and whether they believe a pre-performance routine to be beneficial to their performance. The results demonstrated a significant difference for some of the t-tests calculated; showing that there was a decrease in routine time when the player was under competitive conditions. The interview illustrated that the athlete used coping strategies and physical triggers in her pre-performance routine. Therefore, it is apparent that the findings supported the research question which asked if competitive conditions change a pre-performance routine. The implications that were highlighted in this study were that pre-performance routines can incorporate coping strategies to help athletes cope better in competitive situations. Furthermore, the research showed that routine consistency increased performance success. Future research could examine gender difference in relation to the effectiveness of a pre-performance routine.
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