POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE FACTORS AFFECTING OLYMPIANS
Greenleaf, C., Gould, D., & Diffenbach, K. (2001). Factors influencing Olympic performance. Interviews with Atlanta and Nagano US Olympians. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 13, 154-184.
Atlanta (N = 8) and Nagano (N = 7) Olympians were interviewed by telephone, tape recorded, and their responses content analyzed by three investigators. Ss were divided into those who met and did not meet performance expectations at the Games.
Major factors perceived to have positively influenced performance included mental skills and preparation, attitude toward the Olympics, support services, support facilitation, multifaceted preparation, physical preparation, and coaching. Factors negatively influencing performance included departing from normal routines, media distractions, coaching issues, overtraining, and injury. The two groups were separated by the positive factors of attitude toward the Games, Olympic housing, and team unity, and by the negative factors of team selection, coaching, lack of support, and team issues.
The general factors described should only serve as a framework for general preparation. Each individual modifies those factors. Without knowledge of the individual, the interpretation of these factors will have little use in applied settings.
Without more extensive research and a greater number of Ss, the involvement of the identified variables in performance prediction will be spurious at best.
Implication. General factors of importance for athletes at Olympic Games were identified for a select group of US Olympians.
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