Rushall, B. S. (1994). Some psychological considerations for US National Swimming Teams. American Swimming, February-March, 8-12.

In the fall of 1993 members of the USA World Short Course and National A Teams (M = 21; F = 17) were evaluated using the Psychological Inventories for Competitive Swimmers.

Female swimmers were discriminated from males by a number of inventory items. The "marker" characteristics of females were:

  1. Somewhat deficient in psychological control/mental skills.
  2. A degree of uncertainty that produces moderate levels of anxiety.
  3. Unsatisfactory pre-competition mental skills.
  4. Unsatisfactory competition mental skills.
  5. Unfavorable pre-competition states.

When compared to the factors on the Champion Characteristics Checklist deemed desirable for performance excellence, the majority of the females only exhibited 56 of 98 relevant characteristics.

It was concluded that "the 1993 men's and women's national swimming teams displayed some general psychological characteristics. However, the marginal commonness and the implied individual variation in both groups indicates that if future teams are of a similar nature they will have to be treated with intense individuality to create circumstances which foster significant accomplishments in competitions."

Implication. Female national swimming team members need to be handled differently in training, competition, and social situations to males. Mental skill factors seem to be an appropriate focus to initiate a psychological skills development program for female national team swimmers.

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