Exposure to, perceptions and levels of mental skills among tertiary institution field hockey players
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The importance of mental skills training (MST) is emphasized by previous/available research findings which show that by combining MST with physical training it enhances players’ ability to cope with the demands of the sport and subsequently results in better sport performance. The main aims of the present study (presented in two articles which can be read independently) were twofold. The first was to determine field hockey players’ perceived need for MST, and their perception regarding their ability to prepare psychologically for matches, as well as compile a general profile of their psychological skill for the total group and by gender. The second aim of the study was to determine the possible positional differences in mental skill levels among 91 South African tertiary institutions’ male field hockey. A total of one hundred and ninety seven (91 males and 106 females) South African field hockey players who competed in the 2008 University Sport of South Africa tournament participated in the study. The participants completed the Psychological Skills Inventory (PSI) and the Ottawa Mental Skills Assessment Tool–3 (OMSAT–3) questionnaires. The results from Article 1 showed significant gender differences from the Psychological Skills Inventory (PSI) according to which the males outperformed the females in the skills of concentration, activation and activation control. In addition, significant gender differences were observed for mental skills training (MST) measures for goal–setting and commitment in which the females outperformed the males, whilst the males fared better than the females in stress reaction. The hockey players perceived MST as important to enhance performance in field hockey. The players furthermore perceived their ability to prepare psychologically for matches as good, which contradicts the results from the questionnaires as the players showed poor mean scores for five of the six subscales of the PSI questionnaire. The results from article 2 showed that the goalkeepers had the lowest scores for seven of the 12 tested skills, whereas midfielders outperformed the other positions in six of the 12 subscales. It is clear from these results that MST is important for field hockey and therefore warrants the attention of all role players in field hockey.
- Health Sciences