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The prevalence and influence of psychosocial factors on technical refinement amongst highly-skilled tennis players

Toner, John; Carson, Howie J.; Collins, Dave; Nicholls, Adam


Dr John Toner
Lecturer in Sports Coaching and Performance

Howie J. Carson

Dave Collins

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Professor Adam Nicholls
Professor of Psychology/ Leader of the Sport Psychology and Coaching Group


The present study investigated the prevalence and influence of psychosocial factors amongst a sample of highly-skilled athletes who had previously attempted to refine their technique. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with eight tennis players to gain an in-depth understanding of their experiences during the process. Results revealed that participants sought to refine their technique in order to address an “attenuated” movement pattern perceived as causing a competitive disadvantage. Addressing the psychosocial factors of interest here, commitment and confidence were reportedly important concomitants during the refinement process. Upon reflection, participants indicated that taking a break from competition and dedicating more time to the refinement might have increased the likelihood of effective change and performance improvement. Overall, findings indicate that psychosocial factors have a significant influence on players’ ability to successfully enact technical refinement. However, it is suggested that greater consideration towards other motoric factors could also have improved levels of success. In conclusion, while the importance for change was understood, there is a need for improved understanding and planning in terms of how a coach might operationalise these factors within training for the competition environment.


Toner, J., Carson, H. J., Collins, D., & Nicholls, A. (in press). The prevalence and influence of psychosocial factors on technical refinement amongst highly-skilled tennis players. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1-17. doi:10.1080/1612197x.2018.1511621

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 4, 2018
Online Publication Date Aug 30, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 22, 2018
Publicly Available Date Aug 31, 2019
Journal International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Print ISSN 1612-197X
Electronic ISSN 1557-251X
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-17
Keywords Applied Psychology; Social Psychology
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope:


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