The role of mental toughness, psychological skills and team cohesion in soccer performance

Asamoah, Benjamin (2013-12)

Thesis (MScSportSc)-- Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There is a relative lack of information in sport psychology research literature about the role of psychological dimensions in team sport – especially in soccer (Reilly et al., 2000). It is consequently not surprising that research on applied strategies in soccer has concentrated mainly on technical, tactical and physiological aspects. This defies anecdotal evidence and literature reports alluding to the importance of psychological and team factors in achieving sport excellence. This study examined the role of mental toughness, psychological skills and team cohesion in soccer performance. It also considered differences between individuals from different playing positions regarding these modalities. A total of 263 male soccer players aged between 17 and 32 years from 16 South African tertiary institutions participated in the study. A cross-sectional study design was used to determine the players’ mental toughness, psychological skills and team cohesion by means of the Sports Mental Toughness Questionnaire (SMTQ); the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28 (ACSI-28); and the Group Environmental Questionnaire (GEQ). The final log standings at the 2012 University Sport South Africa (USSA) Soccer Championship were used as an indication of team performance. The results yielded differences between successful and less successful teams with regard to age, previous tournament experience, and the time players had been part of their respective teams. There were no significant differences between the teams for any of the mental toughness and psychological skills scores. However, group cohesion did play a role in team performance. The more successful teams scored better than their less successful counterparts in the following subscales of the GEQ: Individual attraction to group-social and individual attraction to group-task. However, the less successful teams scored better than their more successful counterparts regarding group integration-task, and group integration-social. Practical significant differences of moderate magnitude were observed for five of the 96 player positional comparisons. Midfielders scored higher than the defenders and forwards on the control subscale of the SMTQ. The forwards recorded higher scores than midfielders with regard to the GEQ subscale of group integration-task, whereas goalkeepers yielded higher scores than midfielders on the group integration-task subscale. There was a difference between the scores on the constancy subscale of the SMTQ where the defenders outscored the midfielders. No positional differences were recorded for any of the psychological skills. The overall results revealed that at the developmental level of the study sample, team cohesion and other moderating variables might be the key to enhanced performance of soccer teams. In addition, the results supported the general assumption that a relationship exists between playing positions in team sports and various psychological variables.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar is ’n relatiewe gebrek aan navorsingsliteratuur in sportsielkunde oor die rol van sielkundige dimensies in spansoorte – veral in sokker (Reilly et al., 2000). Dit is gevolglik logies dat navorsing oor toegepaste strategieë in sokker hoofsaaklik fokus op tegniese, taktiese en fisiologiese aspekte. Dit druis in teen anekdotiese getuienis en opvattings wat dui op die belangrikheid van sielkundige en spanfaktore in die bereiking van sportuitnemendheid. Hierdie studie ondersoek die rol van geestelike taaiheid, sielkundige vaardighede en spankohesie in sokkerprestasie. Dit bestudeer ook die verskille tussen individue van verskillende speelposisies met betrekking tot hierdie modaliteite. ’n Totaal van 263 manlike sokkerspelers tussen die ouderdom van 17 en 32 jaar, van 16 Suid-Afrikaanse tersiêre inrigtings, het aan hierdie ondersoek deelgeneem. ’n Dwarsdeursnitstudie-ontwerp is gebruik om spelers se geestelike taaiheid, sielkundige vaardighede en spankohesie te bepaal deur middel van die Sports Mental Toughness Questionnaire (SMTQ); die Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28 (ACSI-28); en die Group Environmental Questionnaire (GEQ). Die finale posisies van spanne op die punteleer na afloop van die 2012 Universiteit Sport Suid-Afrika (USSA) sokkertoernooi is gebruik as aanduiding van hul prestasie. Die resultate het verskille opgelewer tussen suksesvolle-en minder-suksesvolle spanne met betrekking tot ouderdom, vorige toernooi-ervaring, en die tydperk wat spelers lede van hul onderskeie spanne was. Daar was geen beduidende tellingverskille tussen spanne rakende enige van die geestelike taaiheid en sielkundige vaardighede nie. Groepkohesie het egter ’n rol in spanprestasie gespeel. Die meer-suksesvolle spanne het beter gevaar as die minder-suksesvolle spanne in die volgende subskale van die GEQ: Individuele aantreklikheid van die groep-sosiaal; Individuele aantreklikheid van die groep-taak. Die minder-suksevolle spanne het egter beter gevaar as die meer-suksesvolle spanne met betrekking tot: Groepintegrasie-taak, en Groepintegrasie-sosiaal. Prakties beduidende verskille is waargeneem vir vyf van die 96 speelposisie-vergelykings. Middelveldspelers het hoër tellings behaal as verdedigers en voorspelers op die beheer-subskaal van die SMTQ. Voorspelers het beter tellings aangeteken as middelveldspelers op die GEQ subskaal groepintegrasie-taak; terwyl doelwagters hoër tellings as middelveldspelers op die subskaal groepintegrasie-taak aangeteken het. Daar was ’n verskil in die konstantheid-subskaal van die SMTQ waar verdedigers beter as middelveldspelers gevaar het. Daar was geen beduidende verskille tussen speelposisies rakend enige van die sielkundige vaardighede nie. Die oorkoepelende bevindinge dui daarop dat op die ontwikkelingsvlak van die studiesteekproef, spankohesie, en ander prestasiedimensies moontlik die sleutel bevat vir verhoogde prestasie-uitkomste van sokkerspanne. Verder ondersteun die resultate die algemene aanname dat daar ’n verband bestaan tussen speelposisies in spansportsoorte en verskeie sielkundige veranderlikes.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85729
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