|dc.description.abstract||The main purpose of this study was to examine the psychological skill
usage between four elite and four non-elite athletes, participating in noncontact
sports. A qualitative approach was used to examine the effect of the 4
psychological skills of goal setting, imagery, self-talk and relaxation, in training
Two semi-structured interviews were completed by eight athletes,
which allowed the athletes to provide detailed responses of how they use
psychological skills in training and competition. Interviews were transcribed
and inductive and deductive analysis took place, enabling themes and
patterns to be identified. The data was presented via causal networks
showing the relationship that each psychological skill had upon performance
in training and competition, between elite and non-elite athletes.
All athletes reported that they use self-talk during competition to
increase their performance. However, not all participants reported using all of
the psychological skills.
One non-elite athlete stated that they used all of the psychological
skills in competition, resulting in improved performance. Furthermore, elite
athletes also used imagery during competition to enhance performance.
The findings state that elite and non-elite athletes, experience
improved performance using psychological skills in training and competition.
However, results revealed that elite athletes place more thought prior to
competition of why, how and when they would use them, compared to nonelite,
who use them when they “feel the time is right”. Psychological skills
need to be fully understood by athletes, coaches and psychologists to ensure
they are used appropriately and to understand which ones are best, to
enhance the likelihood of improving an athlete’s performance.||en_US