Exercise 4.1 to 4.7
4.1) What ways could you use operant conditioning techniques to change an athlete’s negative behaviours such as:
being late for practice, disrespectful of the training staff and game officials, and inappropriate language in the
dressing room and on the playing field? What examples of negative reinforcement and aversive control have you
experienced as an athlete, and did they “work”?
There are a number of techniques that one can use to change an athlete’s negative behaviours. These include: extrinsic
reinforcement, or feedback (faded feedback). This is used to the athlete does not learn to become dependant on proficiency
for successful performances. Another technique would be reinforcing athletes with indirect stimuli in the sporting
environment. The response cost will also work, this is a way that coaches can change undesirable behaviours by taking away
certain rewards that have been previously rewarded reinforced responses.
I would try to avoid punishment, because as the course manual says, it has many undesirable effects. Players may
habituate or adapt to the punishing stimuli over time and therefore, a coach may have to increase the intensity of the
punishment for it to actually work. Another way that would work would be using a “removal” type of punishment, for
example, benching a player as a form of punishment, this is a type of punishment based on omission training.
I was never really that into sport, the only sport I ever really played was rounders and netball, when I lived in England,
and I wasn’t very good so I didn’t play too much. I never got punished because I was always very supportive of the other
players so I can’t say I’ve ever had a sporting type of punishment
4.2) How do you get athletes “to be full partners in the learning process.”? What are the benefits/limitations of this
partnership? At what age or skill level should athletes be seen as “full partners”?
For athletes to be “full partners in the learning process” four factors must be present. These are, attention to the
important features of modeled behaviour, retention of features in memory to guide later performance, reproduction of the
observed behaviours, and motivation to repeatedly practice and put information to their own use.
One of the benefits of this is that athletes need to be seen as active learners and problem solvers who will think about the
skills that have to be acquired and perfect, simply showing the athlete what he or she needs to do is insufficient to learn
successfully. One of the limitations is that athletes can only be taught when they are willing to learn; he or she must be
motivated to practice the sport and put the information to good use
I don’t believe that age is a big factor in being a “full partner in the learning process”, but it definitely is a factor.
Athletes must be at a capable age to understand the four factors of operant learning (attention, retention, reproduction, and
motivation). Athletes must be able to motivate themselves as well as keep the attention and focus o the sport/activity itself.
4.3) Many professional basketball players, hockey players, etc., seem to move and