Vijay Kumar

Date of Submission



This thesis investigated the effectiveness of mental skills training. A meta-analysis (Study 1) was conducted to examine the existing evidence on mental skills training interventions: goal setting, self-talk, relaxation, imagery and multicomponent as performance enhancing strategies in the sporting domain. A total of 128 studies with 684 effect sizes were included in the final meta-analysis. Overall, mental skills training had a moderate, positive association with performance outcomes (d = .72, 95% CI = [.60, .85]). The I2 analysis showed that 18% of the variation was attributable to differences within study and 70% was attributed to between studies. Mental practice length was a significant moderator, showing that comparatively shorter duration of mental practice improved performance more substantively. An intervention research approach was undertaken to investigate the effectiveness of the mental skills training with football players in Fiji. Test of Performance Strategies, short form (TOPS 2S) was developed (Study 2) and utilised for the intervention in a cross-cultural setting in Fiji (Study 3). There were three parts in the intervention study, which examined the following: the cross-validation of the TOPS 2S (Part A); intervention effects on mental skills use (Part B1), psychological strengths (mental toughness, self-concept, life effectiveness, and flow, Part B2); and football performance (Part C). Part A, the cross-validation results, showed that the TOPS 2S had consistent moderate reliability and acceptable (Hu & Bentler, 1999) fit indices. Part B, the quantitative component of the intervention study, showed the significant intervention effect on the use of goal setting, self-talk, relaxation and imagery. Furthermore, there were mediation effects on the psychological strengths; mental toughness, self-concept, flow, and life effectiveness. Part C, the qualitative component of the intervention, was the school coaches’ perception of the intervention, and the findings demonstrated that the “train the trainer” model was an effective form of intervention delivery for the players, as well as coaches. The coaches reported that the multicomponent program not only helped the players improve their football performance, but also enhanced their well-being. Coaches, who were classroom teachers, incorporated mental skills programs in their teaching practice to enrich student learning, and reported personal gains such as better emotion regulation and improved classroom and behaviour management.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


359 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Health Sciences