Psychological Determinants of Whole-Body Endurance Performance

McCormick, Alister, Meijen, Carla and Marcora, Samuele (2015) Psychological Determinants of Whole-Body Endurance Performance. Sports Medicine, 45 (7). pp. 997-1015. ISSN 0112-1642

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Background No literature reviews have systematically identified and evaluated research on the psychological determinants of endurance performance, and sport psychology performance enhancement guidelines for endurance sports are not founded on a systematic appraisal of endurance-specific research. Objective A systematic literature review was conducted to identify practical psychological interventions that improve endurance performance and to identify additional psychological factors that affect endurance performance. Additional objectives were to evaluate the research practices of the included studies, to suggest theoretical and applied implications, and to guide future research. Methods Electronic databases, forward-citation searches and manual searches of reference lists were used to locate relevant studies. Peer-reviewed studies were included when they chose an experimental or quasi-experimental research design; a psychological manipulation; endurance performance as the dependent variable; and athletes or physically active, healthy adults as participants. Results Consistent support was found for using imagery, self-talk and goal setting to improve endurance performance, but it is unclear whether learning multiple psychological skills is more beneficial than learning one psychological skill. The results also demonstrated that mental fatigue undermines endurance performance, and verbal encouragement and head-to-head competition can have a beneficial effect. Interventions that influenced perception of effort consistently affected endurance performance. Conclusions Psychological skills training could benefit an endurance athlete. Researchers are encouraged to compare different practical psychological interventions, to examine the effects of these interventions for athletes in competition and to include a placebo control condition or an alternative control treatment. Researchers are also encouraged to explore additional psychological factors that could have a negative effect on endurance performance. Future research should include psychological mediating variables and moderating variables. Implications for theoretical explanations for endurance performance and evidence-based practice are described.

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Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2017 17:16
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2020 15:25

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