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careers. In contrast, very few, if any of the 195 gymnasts surveyed in this researcher’s

study had ever been presented with a psychological assessment of any kind.

Edwards and Huston (1984) are in agreement with Dr. Konzag, at least on one

principle. They believe it is essential that coaches need psychological training first

since they set the tone of an athletic team. The researchers make some valid points that

seem relevant to sports such as gymnastics. Few athletes have received psychological

training that in any way approaches the complexity of their physiological training, even

though many athletes believe that the mental aspects of their sport prevail over the

physical aspects.

One of the benefits of more research on psychological variables in gymnastics,

mentioned earlier, is for the development and implementation of intervention programs

designed to enhance performance. Mace and Carroll (1989) studied the effect of stress

inoculation training as related to gymnastics performance, which consisted of training

in relaxation, imagery, and making self-statements in order to develop a set of coping

skills. They found that stress inoculation training was effective in minimizing

performance deterioration. Normally, competitive stress and the associated increases in

anxiety result in considerable disruption of skill performance. This finding is

particularly important since the ultimate aim of stress management programs in sport is

to prevent high levels of anxiety from disrupting performance.

Up until the late ‘90’s gymnastics experienced a rapid growth in number of

participants. In fact, during the ‘70’s and ‘80’s women’s gymnastics became the fastest

growing sport in America (McAuley et al., 1987). Today, children are pursuing

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