An evaluation of the reliability and validity of sport-specific behavioral checklists for volleyball, running, basketball, and swimming

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Leslie-Toogood, S. Adrienne
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When an athlete seeks help from a sport psychologist, one of the first priorities is to clarify the nature of the problem and to i entify some target behaviors for treatment. Some sport psychologists have used traditional psychological instruments to evaluate the mental skill strengths and weaknesses of athletes. Other sport psychologists have raised concerns about the efficacy of this approach with elite athletes (Martin, 1997; Orlick, 1989; Rushall, 1979). The use of sport specific behavioral checklists has been suggested as a more effective alternative (Martin, 1997; Martin, Toogood, Tkachuk, 1997). Initial research on sport specific questionnaires for basketball players and swimmers has found the questionnaires to have high face validity and high test-retest reliability (Lines, Schwartzman, Tkachuk, Leslie-Toogood, Martin, in press). The current research involved two investigations. The first study evaluated the test-retest reliability, face validity, and a measure of convergent validity of sport specific questionnaires for two additional sports, running and volleyball (at both the highschool and university level). Overall, the test-retest reliability was moderate (r = 0.59) for runners, and good (r = 0.78) for volleyball players. There were low to moderate levels of test-retest reliability for most individual items, with higher levels of reliability for university-level athletes in both sports, and for the sport of volleyball (players and coaches). Face validity was found to be high for both sports at both levels (i.e., highschool and university), whereas the convergent validity was low. The second study examined the predictive validity of the sport specific questionnaires for basketball and swimming. The predictive validity was low, whereas the convergent validity of the questionnaires completed after practices and games/races included some items which were significantly correlated. Practical implications and recommendations are discussed for both studies.