An examination of the use of psychological skills by elite wheelchair rugby players and elite able-bodied rugby players
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this study was to address the insufficient availability of research regarding the use of psychological skills and strategies by disabled athletes. Particular attention was placed on the use of psychological skills by the elite sample group and the psychological strategies, which could discriminate between elite wheelchair rugby players and elite able-bodied rugby players. A sample group consisting of 19 elite rugby players and,77 elite wheelchair rugby players were given a psychological skills inventory GOPS - test of performance strategres). The inventory is designed to measure psychological skills used by athletes in competition and in practice. The research methodology adopted was quantitative in nature, in the form of the psychological skills inventory. The method selected permitted the process to be orchestrated efficiently and effectively. A multiple discriminant analysis (MDA) was used to discriminate between the utilisation of psychological skills of the two gtoups. The MDA revealed competition results to almost mirror the stated significance level, with relaxation, emotional control and automaticity being identified as possible variables that can discriminate between the two groups. The Wilk's Lambda significance level of 0.095, for the use of psychological skills during practice, was not signif,rcant, contradicting previous results by Thomas et al. (1999). The null hypothesis - H03, \Nas supported stating that 'the use of psychological skills during practice will not be shown to significantly discriminate between elite wheelchair rugby players and elite able-bodied rugby players.' The study does offer support for previous research that has suggested that elite disabled athletes do demonstrate superior psychologrcal skills to those of elite ablebodied athletes. However, futher research on the use of psychological skills by elite/pre-elite/non-elite athletes needs to be implemented and developed allowing coaches and athletes to adopt and integrate such findings into their training programmes.
BSc (Hons) Sport, PE and Recreation
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