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Kinesiology 1088A/B
Bob Larose

Psychological Skills Training 2013-10-21 12:15 PM Definition: a systematic and consistent practice of mental or psychological skills (understanding its steps, components etc.) Psychological skills can be learned but must be practiced and integrated into your training routine Psychological factors account for most day-to-day fluctuations in performance Myths • Psychological skills are “innate” (can’t be learned) • Only for “problem athletes” • Only effective for “elite” athletes • Provide “quick fix” solutions • Not useful - “hocus pocus” Components of PST Programs 1. Education Phase: learn the nature and basis of the skill & understand how it influences performance 2. Acquisition Phase: structured training program to develop skills and techniques 3. Practice Phase: integrate skill development into practice and competitive settings * Process makes sporting experience fun + helps meet everyone’s needs. * PST Program WHO? • Sport Psychology Consultant • Coach – there everyday WHEN? • Pre-season or off-season • 3-6 month duration • Ongoing process integrated into practices NEEDS ASSESSMENT • evaluate strengths and weaknesses • oral interview & psych inventories (p 262) • performance profiling (p 261) WHAT? • Which skills to include? • Scheduling • Evaluation & follow-up PROBLEMS • Lack of conviction • Lack of time • Lack of knowledge • Lack of follow-up Psychological SKILLS (Initial Focus) Psychological METHODS (Secondary Focus) Psychological Skills Personal qualities to be attained or developed (i.e. target behaviours) a. Performance Skills o Optimal Arousal – mental, physical o Attention Control b. Foundation Skills o Self Confidence o Volition (motivation) o Self-esteem / self-awareness c. Facilitative Skills o Interpersonal Relations o Lifestyle Management Psychological Methods • Procedures or techniques used to develop psychological SKILLS (vehicle used to attain skills) • Examples: o goal setting o relaxation o imagery o thought processes o attributions Arousal, Stress and Anxiety 2013-10-21 12:15 PM AROUSAL • A blend of physiological and psychological activation • The intensity of motivation at any particular time (variable) • Activation or excitation ranging on a continuum from sleep to hyper-intensity • Caused by anticipation of an event/threat/worry Arousal Theories: 1. Drive Theory (Spense, 1966) o Performance = habit/drive o Linear relationship b/w arousal and performance (as arousal goes up, so does performance o Impact dependent on how well the task is learned (social facilitation theory) o No longer much support for this theory o NOTE: arousal/stress/anxiety are not always a bad thing 2. Inverted U Hypothesis o There are optimal levels of arousal o Once optimal level reached, performance deteriorates if you continue to become more aroused or activated o Is a zone not a point o Varies from person to person (some can operate at higher levels of arousal) o Different tasks have different optimal levels. 3. Catastrophe Theory (Hardy, 1996) o Somatic anxiety can have markedly different effects on performance depending on the cognitive anxiety (worry) being experienced. o If worry low – inverted U relationship o If worry high – activation reaches an optimal threshold after which there is a dramatic or “catastrophic” decline in performance o Difficult to recover from once experienced 4. Reversal Theory (Apter & Kerr, 1984/85) o It is the cognitive interpretation of one’s arousal level that impacts performance o High arousal = excitement or anxiety Pleasant or o Low arousal = relaxation or boredom unpleasant o Individuals are subject to very raped changes or reversals in their interpretation of the same event (i.e. parachuting) o Best performance when interpretation is pleasant excitement STRESS • Selye (1956) - “fight or flight” • The result of a substantial imbalance between the physical & psychological demands of a task and one’s response capabilities under conditions where failure has important consequences Four stages: 1. Environmental Demand 2. Perception of Demand (threat) 3. Stress Response (anxiety) 4. Behavioural consequences (outcome/performance) Sources of Stress – individualized 1. Situational o A) Importance of the event or segments of it o B) Uncertainty of outcome of life events 2. Personal o A) Trait anxiety o B) Self-esteem o C) Social physique evaluation anxiety Other Factors influencing perception of stress in a competitive situation 1. Individual or team sport (different factors)(Individual sport athletes tend to feel more stress and anxiety because the outcome of the game is resting solely on that individuals shoulders. No where to hide) 2. Expectations for success (If you have low expectations for success you will most likely have less success) 3. Winning vs. losing or trying to do one’s best (outcome vs. performance) (reference to goal setting)… not necessarily about winning. Set goals appropriately so you know to try you best and feel good about performance whether you win or lose 4. Attributions to outcome – learned helplessness (we lost b/c…) Fear of Success (Horner 1985) (if I do well, I may be expected to do well every time) If your subjected to losing and making inappropriate attributions you tend to develop a ‘learned helplessness’… one may say “No matter what I do I just cant succeed.” ANXIETY • A negative emotional state characterized by nervousness, worry, & apprehension • Has a cognitive (mental) component (worry, apprehension, etc) AND • Has a somatic (physiological) component (increased heart / breathing rate, sweating, nausea, “butterflies”) • Need for Achievement vs. Fear of Failure (Speilberger, 1966) • These are personality traits, independent of one another and stable over long periods of time. • They are basic traits that will influence how arousal will affect a person in a specific situation (competitive sport) Trait Anxiety • Stable personality tendency to perceive situations as threatening when they really are not State Anxiety • A changing emotional state characterized by tension and apprehension and by autonomic nervous system reactions. • Measure with inventories like SCAT (Sport Competition Anxiety Test – Martens, 1997) • Gradually decreases with age and experience Sport Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT) • Assess the degree of the personality trait of anxiety • Assess the degree of stress before, during, and after an event (state anxiety) • Assess the overall effect of anxiety during a competition Findings: o No difference in trait or state anxiety levels between… ▯ Participants & non participants ▯ Most skilled vs. least skilled competitors. o High trait anxious individuals experience higher feelings of state anxiety prior to, during and after competitions. o Trait anxiety levels have no influence on ultimate ability levels Effects of Anxiety 1. Somatic – interferes with muscle co-ordination - Simultaneous contraction or tension in antagonistic muscle groups 2. Psychological – distraction of attention - think about physical problems and not focus on task at hand - Narrowing of the visual field and elimination of relevant cues. • Anxiety results in a negative cycle or spiral (more anxious, more determinants to performance; poorer performance, more anxiety) o Must break the cycle and control arousal (stress & anxiety) o Be in control but relaxed Coping With Stress and Anxiety (Ch. 12) Coping • Players and coaches must learn various techniques to help them COPE with the anxiety that arises from competition • Coping: a dynamic process of constantly changing cognitive & behavioural efforts to manage specific internal or external demands that are viewed as exceeding one’s resources (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) o Can be: a. Problem focused – manage problem b. Emotion focused – regulating emotional responses Coping Techniques: 1. Self-awareness: o Monitoring own tension levels o Recognize & accept (can be facilitative or debilitative) 2. Dissociation: o Change the focus of attention from the stressor to a more neutral situation A) Prevention of Chronic (long term) problems 1. Physiological (somatic) techniques o Used to reduce physical tension levels. o Progressive Relaxation (Jacobsen, 1938) (flexing of individual muscles to help one relax) o Biofeedback: ▯ Use of instrumentation to provide signals that indicate current & subsequent levels of physiological tension ▯ Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, and Galvanic Skin Response etc. o Breath Control 2. Cognitive Techniques o Used to reduce worry & negative thoughts. o Meditation (relaxation response) ▯ Quiet the mind ▯ Passive process – don’t force it ▯ Use neutral key words or sounds (mantra) ▯ Count exhalations – if lose count, simply start over. o Autogenic Training ▯ Exercises designed to produce feelings of warmth & heaviness o Hypnosis ▯ Gradual progression intro trance-like state during which goal the leader gives directed suggestions. o Matching Hypothesis ▯ Match anxiety type with style of intervention (cognitive and somatic) Multimodal Reduction Packages a. SMT o Stress Management Training o An integrated cognitive and somatic intervention strategy o Accounts for situation, appraisal of situation, physiological response and actual behaviour a. SIT o Stress inoculation Training o Gradual exposure to and coping with increasingly stressful situations B) Dealing with ACUTE (more immediate) problems • Immediately prior to or during a contest • Help participants focus on the task at hand • Negative thought stopping (positive thinking) A. Self-Talk: ▯ stop thinking negatively, substitute positive thoughts immediately, use CUE words, images, music etc, relatively new area of study ▯ Definition: An internal dialogue through which a person interprets feelings and perceptions, regulates (changes) evaluations and convictions, and gives self-instructions and reinforcement o 6 Dimensions of self-talk ▯ Self- determined or assigned ▯ Perspective – internal (voice in head) vs. external (out loud) ▯ Valence – positive vs. negative ▯ Direction – perception of motivating and demotivating ▯ Intensity – Impact on motivation ▯ Frequency – How often is it used o Performance can be influenced positively or negatively by some or all of the dimensions of self talk B. Refocus – “Parking” o Recognize negative thought or problem but set it aside during competition o Realize we cant deal with it now but will come back later at a more appropriate time o Physically “park” the though (touch) and then come back and retouch to reacquire when ready to deal with it A. Breath Control o Breathing is usually automatic and spontaneous (autonomic) BUT you can take over control of your breathing pattern and direct your breathing response o When anxiety or fright triggers a biological alarm response, the normal patter of breathing changes – sharp inhale and hold breath rather than rhythmical exhale o You must first recognize that your breathing response has changed and then do something about it (self-monitoring) o Breath Control Strategy ▯ Inhale – slowly to count of 4, fill lower abdomen (not chest) using diaphragm, stomach feels stretched/fat, ▯ Pause momentarily with full breath ▯ Exhale slowly to count of 8 –long, loud sigh -practice ▯ Do 3 or 4 slow breaths in a row while sensing a relaxed feeling wash over your body as tension dissipates Other Immediate Coping Techniques a. Attention Control Training b. Centering c. Mental Rehearsal (Imagery) On-site Relaxation a. Self-monitoring of somatic tension levels b. SMILE – takes the edge off tension c. HAVE FUN – enjoy the experience d. Practice stressful situations (simulate pressure) e. Take your time – slow down the pace, maintain regular routines f. Stay focused on/in the present, leave the last play behind – cant change it, forget about “what happens if?” g. Have a game plan, easier decision making, scouting and spotting opponents Arousal Induction a. Consciously increase breathing rate b. Act energized c. Positive self-talk d. Energizing Music e. Arousing Imagery f. Warm up/Workout Presence of Others as a Motivator 2013-10-21 12:15 PM Others = Spectators or audience (observers) = Coactors (others doing the same task –rivals) A) Social Facilitation Theory (Zajonc, 1965) • The mere presence of others serves to increase arousal levels and cause a response to occur faster or more intensely 1. Increased arousal will increase the likelihood that an individuals DOMINANT response will occur 2. In simple, well learned skills, correct responses and improved performance occurs in the presence of others 3. In complex or newly learned skills, the dominant response may be incorrect (old or bad habits) and performance will be impaired in the presence of others B) Evaluation Apprehension (Cottrell, 1972) • It is not just he presence of others that causes arousal. Rather, it is the expectation that those present will judge or evaluate the QUALITY of the performance that increases arousal and influences performance effectiveness • We learn to associate others with praise/blame or reward/punish type of evaluations • An audience can thus have either an arousing or calming effect & produce resultant variations in performance or behaviour C) Cognitive Approach (Borden, 1980) • Incorporates both of the above theories but it takes a step further • The performer is not simply a reactor who responds to an audience or to cofactors • The performer is a PROACTIVE participant who: o Interprets the social situation (through perceptions and expectations) o Predicts the possible audience reactions o Alters behaviour to appeal to this reaction • Previous experience, age, gender and personality will all influence the individuals subjective interpretation of the social situation • The size of the audience is not as important as how the individual interprets the size within the situation (numbers according to setting – hostile vs. supportive) • Expertise - Interpret whether the crowd can accurately assess the quality of the performance • Supportiveness - Quality of social support from those present Home Field a. Advantage (Varca,1980) • Functional aggression (home) = more rebounds, blocks, steals • Dysfunctional aggression (away) = more fouls, turnovers 1. Disadvantage (Beaumeister,1984) • Increased self-consciousness distracts from the automatic execution of skills (playoffs) Implications of Having Others Present There is very little that can be done to eliminate the stressful effects of the presence of others at sporting or exercise events. But: 1. Eliminate evaluative apprehension and control arousal especially when learning new skills – don’t let anyone watch practice 2. Knowledge is power – educate and inform participants about: a. Inform the athletes about the common physiological reactions to stress so they can recognize them when they occur b. Inform them about how audiences can influence performance c. Inform them about the effects that stress and anxiety can have on
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