South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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Effects of a psychological skills training programme for underserved rugby union players

Heinrich W. Grobbelaar


The development of psychological skills is an important, but often neglected part of sport. This study aimed to determine the effects of a psychological skills training (PST) programme delivered to underserved club rugby players. Twenty-four (n=24) rugby  union players (Age: M=27.02 years) shared their views about psychological skills  development in rugby and completed the Psychological Skills Inventory (PSI) and the Peak Performance Profile (PPP). A quasi-experimental research design was used in which 11 participants took part in a six-week PST programme, with 13 participants  acting as non-attentional controls. Repeated measures two-way ANOVAs revealed  significant main time effects, with paired t-tests showing statistically significant pre- to post-test improvements for 10 of the 11 psychological skills among the experimental group. The programme’s effectiveness was further validated by the experimental group’s feedback. Recommendations are made for future research, as well as practical  application within existing rugby development programmes in South Africa.

Keywords: Mental skills; Psycho-educational programme; Rugby development; Sport performance.

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