A survey of mental skills training among South African field hockey players at tertiary institutions
The aims of the study were to determine student field hockey players’ perceived need for Mental skills training (MST), and their perceptions regarding their ability to prepare psychologically for matches, as well as to compile a general profile of their psychological skills for the total group
and by gender. A total of 197 (91 men and 106 women) South African field hockey players at tertiary institutions who participated in the University Sport of South Africa (USSA) tournament, took part in the study. The subjects completed two standardised sport psychological questionnaires (the Psychological Skills Inventory (PSI) and the Ottawa Mental Skills
Assessment Tool-3 (OMSAT-3). Descriptive statistics, t-tests and frequency analyses were calculated using SPSS for Windows (Version 3.1). The results from the PSI questionnaire showed poor values for skills such as goal directedness, activation control, maintaining selfconfidence, concentration and imagery among the total group. Significant gender differences in which the male subjects performed better than the females were observed for concentration, achievement motivation and activation control. The highest mean scores on the OMSAT-3 were found for goal setting, self-confidence and commitment. Significant gender differences were observed for goal setting and commitment (in which the females performed better than the
males), whilst the males fared better than the females in stress reaction. The participants in the study perceived MST as an important tool to enhance performance in field hockey. From these results, it can be recommended that sport psychologists and other role players in field hockey pay more attention to the development and implementation of MST programmes.
Keywords: Mental skills training, field hockey, sport psychology, South African student sport.