This thesis attempts to assess the impact of a psychological skills training (PST) programme on the athletic performance of sprinters at Technikon Pretoria, South Africa. The structure of the PST programme was based on the structure outlined by Wann (1997), and Winter and Martin’s (1993) Sport Psychology Basic Training Programme constitutes the content of the programme. The programme consisted of five stages: education, pretests of psychological skills, the PST programme per se, an implementation phase, and posttests. The specific psychological skills that the programme attempted to enhance were self-confidence, stress management, attention, intrinsic motivation and mental imagery. Athletic performance was measured by the sprinters’ personal best times on the one hundred meter event at the beginning and end of the PST programme. Firstly, the data was analysed to determine if there was an improvement in psychological skills and athletic performance. Thereafter the difference in athletic performance between the beginning and end of the programme was correlated with the difference between the pretest and posttest scores of the psychological skills measured. The research findings indicated that there was a significant improvement in the reduction of stress levels, mental imagery skills, and a greater number of athletes had an internal focus of attention. No significant differences were found in self-confidence, intrinsic motivation and the number of athletes with a narrow focus of attention. The only significant correlation was between intrinsic motivation and athletic performance.
Dissertation (MA (Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.