n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Evaluation of a mental skills training programme for high school rugby players : sport and exercise psychology

Volume 20, Issue Issue-21
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The purpose of this study was to develop, implement and evaluate a mental skills training programme for male, high school rugby players. The hypotheses were that the mental skills training programme would improve an experimental groups' mental skills and sporting performance perceptions in comparison to a control group as measured on Bulls Mental Skills Questionnaire (BMSQ). It was also expected that each mental skill would improve as a result of the training programme. A quasi-experimental, repeated measures, research design was used to investigate the impact of a mental skills training programme on an experimental group of 19 boys (mean age 17.1 years) in comparison to a control group (mean age 16.2 years). A triangulated approach was used to assess the effectiveness of the programme with quantitative and qualitative measures in addition to process evaluations throughout the intervention to assess the effectiveness of each mental skill within the training programme. The research hypotheses that the programme would improve mental skills were supported in terms of generally significant differences in participants' ratings of session processes and outcomes. The participants' experiences of the mental skills training programme were expressed as an interactive learning experience found to be both beneficial and interesting. The acquisition of new mental skills was a theme pervasive throughout their responses as was an increased ability to regulate their thoughts, feelings and behaviour more effectively. Implicit in all the responses was an increase in mindfulness of the mental aspects of their rugby game and the acquisition of these mental skills.

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