Sport psychological skills that distinguish between u/19 club rugby players of different participation levels and positional groups
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Sport psychological skills play an important role in sport performance. Evidence further suggests that the psychological skill levels may be influenced by the particular playing position. One hundred and eighty u/19 rugby players from the PUK Rugby Institute (average age: 18.79 +- 0.28 years) were tested during the 2003-2005 rugby seasons by means of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2), Psychological Skills Inventory (PSI), Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28 (ACSI-28), as well as a questionnaire dealing with psychosocial factors influencing participation and performance in rugby. Players from the 2004 and 2005 seasons (n=120) were first divided into two groups (top- and lower ranked players) of 60 players each. Effect size results (practical significance) revealed moderately significant differences between the two groups, with the top ranked players outscoring their lower ranked counterparts in self-confidence, general coping resources, coping with adversity, average psychological skills score, as well as the effect of team members/team spirit, coaches and financial aspects on participation and performance. These results confirm that sport psychological skill levels and related psychosocial factors can distinguish between rugby union players of different participation levels. Secondly, the total subject group (n=180) was divided into seven positional groups (props, hookers, locks, loose trio, half-backs, centres and back three). These groups were compared by means of effect sizes (practical significance) for each of seven sport psychological skills as measured with the PSI. Moderate (46) and large (20) practically significant differences were reported for the 147 inter-positional comparisons. The results show that the half-backs and hookers consistently outperformed the other three positional groups, while the props, locks and back three often showed the lowest skill levels. While these results are discussed in reference to practical implications for future position specific sport psychological skills training sessions, they clearly show that sport psychological skill levels differ from one position to another.
- Health Sciences