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G. Filby et al. 1999; Kingston and Hardy 1997; Zimmerman and Kitsantas 1996), such a process focus has been questioned. g. Hardy et al. 1996; Jackson et al. 2006; Masters 1992). Furthermore, and more specifically, Jackson et al. (2006) provided strong evidence that movement-related process goals were detrimental to performance regardless of individual tendencies for self-focused attention and situational pressure. However, in line with Kingston and Hardy (1997), Jackson went on to suggest that subtly different process goals may have different attentional functions.

2003: 22). Others, however, continue to espouse the merits of giving athletes the what and how of a particular skill to be performed (Masters 2000). The obvious question arising, therefore, is what should athletes be directed to focus upon in order to facilitate learning and the execution of complex sport skills? Support for an external focus of attention One reasonable objective for a coach is to help athletes execute skills in an automated fashion because this is the most efficient manner to perform (and characterises many expert performers).

This is not, however, the case. Indeed, Dishman (1983) has suggested that sport psychology sometimes suffers from an identity crisis. The reason for this is the many and varied perspectives that exist within the field. Nevertheless, a summary definition (based on a number given by Feltz and Kontos 2002) describes sport psychology as the study of people’s behaviour and thoughts in sporting contexts. Furthermore, the general goal of applied sport psychology is to provide athletes and coaches with the necessary mental skills to manage the demands of training and competition, thus helping each realise his/her potential.

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