Self-Esteem of high school football players

Sports Psychology and the self-Esteem of high school football players.

Sports psychology: Annotated bibliography

Cox, R.H., & Yoo, H.S. (1995). Playing position and psychological skill in American football.

Journal of Sport Behavior, 18(3), 183

The Journal of Sports Behavior is a peer-reviewed journal focused upon research in sports psychology and its articles are not directed towards a popular audience. According to Cox & Yoo (1995) in this early study of the sports psychology and football, not only do different players of different sports share distinct psychological features: even within the sport of football, a players’ position and his or her personality dimensions can often be quite unique. The authors begin with a literature review of previous studies which used the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) and yielded the finding that “successful linemen were more organized, predictable, and practical than successful backfield players. Successful defensive backs were reported to be decidedly more introverted than other categories of successful players, whereas successful defensive linemen were decidedly more extroverted” (Cox & Yoo 1995).

The authors interviewed 43 members of a large Division 1 Midwest collegiate American football team and assessed them using the Psychological Ills Inventory for Sports (PSIS R-5). They too found marked differences between players’ psychology particularly between linesmen and backfield players. “The observation that backfield players exhibit superior psychological skills when compared to linesmen may partially be explained by their mental preparation for competition. An assignment error on the line of scrimmage may result in no gain for the offense or some gain for the opposing offense, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a large loss or gain as does an error in the backfield” (Cox & Yoo 1995). Backfield players exhibited notably less anxiety and greater presence of mind than other players. This article is relevant to my research topic because it underlines the effects of self-esteem in a player’s ability to excel at a particular position.

Long, D., Perry, C., Unruh, S.A., Lewis, N., & Stanek-Krogstrand, K. (2011). Personal food systems of male collegiate football players: A grounded theory investigation. Journal of Athletic Training, 46(6), 688-95

This peer-reviewed article from a kinesiology journal aimed an academic audience addresses food issues and body issues as manifested in male Division II college football players. This qualitative study used a grounded theory approach to determine what motivates players to eat healthfully or unhealthfully. Food choice influences included “the physical and social environments, quality, quantity, perceived healthfulness, and convenience” (Long 2011). Data collection involved qualitative interviews with 15 NCAA Division II football players. A variety of positions were surveyed. Athletes were able to identify healthy foods that supported their performance including “lean meats, fruits, and vegetables as preferred choices” versus fast food (Long 2011). The most common reason cited for avoiding fast food was to improve athletic performance. Athletes were also cost-conscious and reported selecting specific types of brands over others based upon price, at times at the expense of nutrition. Athletes also complained that it was time-consuming to eat properly.

Overall, this study shows that athletes had a relatively positive view of their bodies and wished to fuel them properly. There was no sense of negative body image in regards to food consumption, as is often reported with non-athletes or persons who struggle with weight issues. This suggests that some aspects of athletic performance can enhance self-esteem, including a positive body image and relationship with food.

Myers, C.A., Peyton, D.D., & Jensen, B.J. (2004). Treatment acceptability in NCAA division I

football athletes: Rehabilitation intervention strategies. Journal of Sport Behavior, 27(2), 165-169

Resilience is often said to be a key component of success in sports. This article examines the degree to which sports psychology can facilitate resilient behavior in injured NCAA Division I athletes. To test the hypothesis of the need for psychological as well as physical treatment of Division I athletes, forty NCAA Division I football athletes were asked to listen to a “vignette describing a college football player who was participating in a physical rehabilitation program for a recent ACL injury. Immediately following the vignette, the athletes were asked to review two different sport psychology treatment descriptions. The behavioral treatment description included explanations of positive self-talk, imagery, relaxation training, and goal setting strategies. The counseling treatment description focused on an empathetic and supportive relationship between the counselor and athlete, a general feeling of acceptance, and increasing emotional awareness and resulting catharsis” (Myers 2004). The athletes were then asked to rate both treatments for acceptability.

Both interventions were found to be acceptable. Overall, the study seems to be relatively limited in value, other than to indicate an openness to treatment by Division I football players to psychological interventions when faced with an injury. The form of the study was an ‘acceptability’ study of articulated interventions, not an actual assessment of a specific intervention. The receptiveness to interventions for actual injured players might be different.

Stokes, J.V., Luiselli, J.K., Reed, D.D., & Fleming, R.K. (2010). Behavioral coaching to improve offensive line pass-blocking skills of high school football athletes. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43(3), 463-72

This study of Stokes (et al. 2010) was intended to see if behavioral coaching could improve the performance of high school athletes, specifically improving the “offensive line pass-blocking skills of high school football athletes” (Stokes et al. 2010). Five football players were selected for the study, specifically because of their sub-par passing ability. To test the success of the intervention, “measurement during the pass-blocking drill was conducted at weekly practice sessions” (Stokes et al. 2010). Later, “the performance of several of the athletes was also measured during game conditions and a maintenance phase when they returned for a second season. Additional evaluation included a social validity assessment in which the athletes rated the relative value of each of the intervention procedures” (Stokes et al. 2010). Athletes were given descriptive and video feedback to improve their skills.

Overall, descriptive feedback did not improve skills. But “video feedback combined with descriptive feedback was consistently superior to descriptive feedback alone in improving pass blocking” as did teaching with acoustical guidance (TAG). “TAG is formally similar to concurrent feedback by which an auditory stimulus follows a target behavior that is demonstrated under real-time conditions:” as in the case of the study a siren is the auditory stimulus used (Stokes et al. 2010). This suggests that different types of stimulus can improve performance in the short-term. However, the players did not retain the improvements in the second session, suggesting deterioration occurred without positive reinforcement.

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