Mental tumbling blocks are a problem in sports such as cheerleading where the athlete has an unexplained fear related to performing a skill that has been previously executed successfully. The current study compared participants with and without a mental tumbling block on self-report measures of anxiety and on vocal analysis data indicating if anxiety or fear is present. Participants were female cheerleaders who ranged in age from 10 to 16 years old. The Sport Anxiety Scale-2 (SAS-2; Smith, Smoll, Cumming & Grossbard, 2006) and the Cheerleading Fear Inventory (CFI; modified from Cartoni, Minganti, and Zelli, 2005) were used in addition to vocal analysis measures assessing pitch and intensity. These vocal analysis measures were taken under two conditions while the cheerleader was interviewed (1) about tumbling and (2) about school. Results indicated that athletes with a mental block reported higher somatic anxiety, concentration disruption, and overall anxiety on the SAS-2 than participants who did not have a mental tumbling block. Similarly, athletes with a mental tumbling block reported higher scores on the CFI than athletes without a mental tumbling block. In addition, athletes with a mental tumbling block showed higher pitch on the vocal analysis measure than athletes without a mental tumbling regardless of interview condition. Finally, several significant correlations emerged between scores on the SAS-2, the CFI, and the vocal analysis measures. These results are discussed in terms of the existing literature, and practical suggestions are offered that may help coaches understand how to effectively handle mental blocks at practice.
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Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
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Honors in the Major Thesis
Thompson, Shannon, "The role of anxiety in mental tumbling blocks" (2013). HIM 1990-2015. 1473.