There has been an increasing interest in the psychological aspects of sports performance and treatment strategies known as sport mental training (SMT). The effects of SMT and its underlying processes have been examined on the basis of cognitive behavioral theories mainly in Western countries. However, only a few studies of SMT based on cognitive behavioral theories have been conducted in Japan. In this paper, we outline the features of the cognitive behavioral theories and organize the relationships between transition of these theories and SMT techniques. Finally, we discuss the future directions of SMT research in Japan.
This study aimed to develop the Automatic Thoughts List for Sport (ATLS) and examined the individual differences in thoughts during a sports competition. The participants of this study were undergraduate athletes (N=432) who completed the ATLS, which comprised two related emotion scales and the Diagnostic Inventory of Psychological State during Competition (DIPS-D.2). A factor analysis indicated that all 35 items of the ATLS can be categorized in terms of four factors (subscales): promote instruction, worry, disengagement and confidence. Further, ATLS was shown to have evidences of several aspects (structural, generalzability, and external) supporting validity. The responses for the subscales of the ATLS indicated four thought patterns: “positive thinking type,” “stable thinking type,” “avoidance type,” and “thoughtless type.” The feature of each thought pattern in terms of the psychological state during competition was interpretable using the cognitive behavioral theory (which reveals the interrelationship between thoughts and emotions), and the applicability of the ATLS was confirmed. In addition, the result suggested that the promote instruction, confidence and “positive thinking type” were characterized by the promote instruction and confidence were related to the desired psychological state. These findings suggest that the ATLS has certain validity when used to assess the thoughts in athletes.