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Evaluation of a psychological skills training programme with a group of nine South African Under-21 provincial rugby players revealed its general effectiveness. An age-matched quasi-experimental control group design was used. Over a period of four months, rugby players improved in psychological skills and psychological well-being as assessed on standardized measures and as experientially evaluated. Comparisons with a matched control group indicated significant differences between rugby players and control group's perceptions of improvement in total psychological skills and especially those involving mental preparation, as well as anxiety and worry management. In terms of psychological wellbeing, the rugby group perceived themselves to have improved significantly more than the control group with regard to personal growth. Its adaptability and comparisons with related studies indicate ready transferability of the programme in sport, health and related community contexts.
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... Mental skills training have been identified as an important strategy to facilitate and develop an athlete's capacity to focus on performance, and to cope more effectively with negative situations [4]. Mental skills training techniques are used to develop and improve a variety of naturally occurring psychological abilities, which include attention and emotional arousal [5]. Similarly, improving essential cognitive abilities associated with peak mental functioning such as executive functioning, processing speed, and working memory have also demonstrated a significant improvement in cognitive abilities [6] that can be applied to elite athletes. ...
... Both mindfulness and cognitive brain training have previously been demonstrated to be effective interventions in enhancing mental functioning [5], [6]. Combined with efficient and easy to access smartphone technology, it was hypothesized that athletes would engage with these apps (compared to control) and as a result, show effects across a range of psychological attributes. ...
... Smartphone technology is growing at a rapid rate and is efficient and accessible [11]. The results of the current study are contrary to that of previous research that has investigated the effect of mental skills training [5]. It should be noted, however, that the present study differed from [5]. ...
... In addition to perceived social support, challenge appraisals are thought to be influenced by a range of personal resilient qualities (e.g., positive personality, confidence), which have also been suggested to influence thriving (see Fletcher & Sarkar, 2012;Sarkar & Fletcher, 2014a). Moreover, research has highlighted various psychological skills (e.g., goal-setting, imagery) that are believed to assist with adaptive stress responses and relate to sporting success and well-being (see e.g., Edwards & Edwards, 2012;Mahoney, Gabriel, & Perkins, 1987;Rees et al., 2016), and are, thus, worthy of study in relation to thriving in sport. ...
... The second personal enabler considered in the present study, use of psychological skills, was found to significantly decrease the likelihood of membership to the below average and low-functioning profiles compared with thriving; no prediction effect was found for membership to the above average profile. Identifying that psychological skills use can be used to predict membership to thriving versus lower functioning response profiles supports previous findings, suggesting that mental skills use is associated with enhanced performance and well-being (e.g., Boat & Taylor, 2015;Edwards & Edwards, 2012). However, the inability of scores on the use of psychological skills to differentiate between the likelihood of membership to above average profile when compared with the thriving profile challenges the utility of this enabler as a predictor across all functioning responses displayed by sport performers. ...
Article
Although considerable research exists on performers' responses to sporting encounters, little is known about thriving in sport contexts. The current study examined if distinct response patterns existed between sport performers who thrived in competitive encounters compared with those who did not. Participants were 535 sport performers (134 women; Mage = 23.60 years, SDage = 8.08; Mcompeting = 11.84 years, SDcompeting = 7.11). Results of factor mixture analysis supported a four-profile solution comprising a thriving group (n = 146), a low-functioning group (n = 38), and two groups characterized by scores marginally above (n = 131) and below (n = 209) the sample mean. Profile membership was found to be predicted by personal enablers (viz., personal resilient qualities, psychological skills use) and process variables (viz., basic psychological need satisfaction and frustration, challenge appraisal). This examination of thriving in sport performers offers significant implications for research and practice.
... This study aims to add to the current body of knowledge by examining the factor structure of the RPWB in a South African sample. Although various South African studies have used the RPWB as a measuring instrument (see Boers, 2014;Botha, 2006;Edwards & Edwards, 2012;Erhabor & Ndlovo, 2013;Jones, 2014;Steyn & Roux, 2009;Vazi et al., 2013;Vercueil, 2010;Victor, 2013), there have been no published South African peer-reviewed studies investigating the factor structure of the RPWB. Vazi et al. (2013) and Boers (2014) reported on factor structure in the course of answering other, non-related research questions. ...
... The RPWB has been frequently used within South Africa to measure well-being in various peer-reviewed research articles (see Edwards & Edwards, 2012;Erhabor & Ndlovo, 2013;Steyn & Roux, 2009;Van Schalkwyk & Wissing, 2010;Vazi et al., 2013) and post-graduate research studies (see Boers, 2014;Botha, 2006;Jones, 2014;Vercueil, 2010;Victor, 2013). Additionally, the instrument is used by practitioners to determine a student or an employee's level of well-being when needed relating to health behaviour and possible workplace interventions. ...
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Orientation: South African studies investigating the factor structure of the Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-being (RPWB) are needed to ensure that the instrument is valid and reliable within the South African context. Research purpose: The objective of this study was to investigate the factor structure of the RPWB within two South African samples. Motivation for the study: Although a substantial number of studies have been undertaken, results regarding the factor structure of the Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-Being are inconclusive. There is a dearth of information in relation to South African studies examining the scales’ factor structure. Research design, approach and method: A quantitative research approach using a cross-sectional field survey design was utilised. An adult working group (n = 202) was selected using convenience sampling, and a student group (n = 226) was selected by means of purposive non-probability sampling. An Exploratory Factor Analysis and a Confirmatory Factor Analysis were conducted to examine the factor structure. Main findings: The preferred model was a two-factor model where all the positively worded items were grouped in the first factor and all the negatively worded items were grouped in the second factor. Practical/managerial implications: The factor structure of the original RPWB was not satisfactorily replicated and remains seemingly unsettled. The utility of negatively worded items should be considered carefully, and alternatives such as mixed response options and phrase completion should be explored. The scales should be used with caution. Contribution/value-add: The study contributes to the literature concerning the factor structure of the RPWB with an emphasis on the South African context. It contributes to ensuring that researchers and practitioners use a valid and reliable instrument when measuring psychological well-being.
... Results demonstrated that imagery together with seven other psychological skills improved well-being at both the individual and group level, which was assessed by six distinct components (i.e., self-acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose in life, and personal growth; Ryff, 1989). A few years later, Edwards and Edwards (2012) employed a mixed method design to evaluate a similar PST program with a sample of provincial rugby players. The findings revealed that athletes increased their well-being over time compared to a control group and the aspect of personal growth was perceived as highly valued. ...
Article
Objectives The purpose of the present study was to examine the effectiveness of an imagery intervention on eudaimonic well-being (EWB) of soccer players using a single-subject multiple baseline design. Methods Five female varsity level soccer players ( M age =19.80, SD =1.64) participated in the study. Each athlete engaged in eight individual imagery sessions (i.e., intervention phase) aimed at increasing EWB. Results Visual and statistical analyses demonstrated a small increase on EWB for two participants. However, post-intervention interviews revealed that all the players believed the intervention was beneficial and had a positive impact on their EWB. Conclusions The utility of employing imagery interventions for enhancing athletes’ EWB in various contexts within and outside sport was highlighted.
... Consequently, stress management programmes, including psychological well-being and resilience workshops, became integral components of public health promotion in many countries (Brown, Cochrane, & Cardone 1999). In the humanistic orientated, positive mental health context of the present research, "psychological well-being" refers to a particular theoretical, empirical construct, which integrates various psychological well-being components (Ryff & Keyes, 1995), and sport psychological skills, such as resilience, mindfulness, physiological arousal, cognitive arousal, mental imagery, attention, concentration, self-confidence, goal-setting and motivation (Edwards & Edwards, 2012). Resilience, in particular, has received increasing recognition (Smith, Epstein, Ortiz, Christopher, & Tooley, 2013). ...
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This brief report constitutes an evidence based, evaluation of a resilience workshop for 328 male professional rugby players, with mean age of 25 and standard deviation (SD) of 4.7 years. Quantitative findings revealed significant changes in pre-test to post-test resilience scale scores. Qualitative findings indicated helpful experiential dimensions and those needing change. Integral findings pointed towards ongoing, humanistic, dynamic and systemic approaches involving all stakeholders in the professional rugby fraternity are recommended.
... With regard to PST packages, Edwards and Edwards (2012b) presented a four-month PST programme to U21 players from a provincial rugby academy. The participants' mental preparation, imagery ability and management of anxiety improved significantly, whereas the scores of the age-matched non-rugby playing students remained unchanged. ...
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This article introduces, describes and evaluates a phenomenological, breath based, psychological skills training programme for health and sport. The programme as such is grounded on a holistic conception of psychology and the recognition of breath as an essential vital function and learnable skill from which all other forms of psychological skills can develop through practise. Programme evaluation with a group of young provincial rugby players revealed its effectiveness in improving psychological skills, health and sport as assessed on a standardized measure of psychological skills and as experienced by players. Implications for further research and implementation of the programme are discussed with special reference to South Africa.
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The Mental Game Plan. Getting Psyched for Sport
  • S Bull
  • J Albinson
  • C Shambrook
Bull, S., Albinson, J. & Shambrook, C. (1996). The Mental Game Plan. Getting Psyched for Sport. Eastbourne, East Sussex: Sports Dynamics.
Promoting community mental health through team sport in Zululand (Doctoral dissertation in Community Psychology)
  • D Danariah
Danariah, D. (2007). Promoting community mental health through team sport in Zululand (Doctoral dissertation in Community Psychology). University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa, South Africa.