Precompetitive Preparations in Professional Hockey

By Keating, Judith; Hogg, John | Journal of Sport Behavior, December 1995 | Go to article overview

Precompetitive Preparations in Professional Hockey


Keating, Judith, Hogg, John, Journal of Sport Behavior


Sport at the professional level may be stressful intense, emotional, and physically demanding on the players. Coaches and players are constantly searching for new ideas and strategies that are effective in generating optimal readiness in every sense. The hours immediately prior to the competition are critical to determine a player's physical and psychological readiness. How a player engages his cognitions, emotions, and behavior at this time could be the difference between success and failure. Precompetitive preparations are both physical and psychological in nature. Psychological preparation is becoming increasingly important particularly at the elite level, where athletes possess similar physical skills and the difference between winning and losing is perhaps embedded in the behavioral efficiency of the athlete. Psychological preparation requires an athlete to utilize skills such as concentration, focusing and refocusing, arousal control, relaxation, goal setting, positive thinking, and calming the mind before competition occurs.

An athlete may carry out pregame rituals inclusive of psychological skills while preparing for competition. Despite media attention and the widespread belief in the prevalence of ritualistic behavior in sport, little empirical attention has been focused on this area. Most research has concentrated on superstitions in general, and even classified ritual as superstitious behavior (Becker, 1975; Buhrmann, Brown, & Zaugg, 1982; Gmetch, 1972; Gregory, 1979; Gregory & Petrie, 1975; Neil, 1975, 1982; Neil, Anderson, & Sheppard, 1981).

Much of the research to date investigates "sport as ritual" rather than "ritual within sport" (Blanchard, 1988; Cheska, 1981; Harris, 1983; Smith, 1976). Yet athletes do use a variety of pregame rituals that are an important part of their physical and psychological preparation. It would be beneficial for athletes to become more sensitive to the diverse forms pregame rituals can assume and the functions they serve. Athletes can then implement psychological skills as part of their rituals thereby eliminating distractions and allowing for a more focused preparation. Research indicates that the incidence of pregame rituals increases with higher levels of competitive involvement and professional hockey is an example of a sport in which athletes frequently perform pregame rituals (Neil et al., 1981).

Some research studies have focused on superstitious behaviors exhibited and reported by athletes (Buhrmann et al., 1982; Gmetch, 1972; Gregory & Petrie, 1975; Neil et al., 1981). These studies describe in detail, the superstitious beliefs and idiosyncratic behaviors of athletes, and in particular the kinds of rituals, fetishes, and taboos adopted by athletes. However, only a few studies have considered what these behaviors realty mean to an athlete (Dunleavy & Miracle, 1981; Womack, 1979). One reason for this has been the methodological problem facing researchers who wish to study a topic of a personal nature. An athlete's preparations are often private and self-disclosure of these behaviors can be difficult.

On the day of competition coaches aim to have their athletes attain an ideal performance state (I.P.S), a state typically associated with the athletes' peak performance. The I.P.S is the unique psychological state that allows athletes to perform at or near their performance potential. Each athlete needs to discover the conditions under which he or she performs to his or her optimum potential (Cox, 1990). Performance is likely to be enhanced if preparation is repetitious and systematic (Williams, 1986). Pregame rituals are utilized by athletes for many reasons including (a) to focus attention, (b) to organize internal and external stimulus, (c) to isolate oneself from others, (d) to create team cohesion, and (e) to bring good luck. However, Sherman (1988), warns that athletes are vulnerable and the use of rituals can be "nonfunctional. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Precompetitive Preparations in Professional Hockey
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.