This book integrates theory and practice, and addresses the key principles of sport, exercise, and performance psychology. It reflects the broadening of sport psychology studies to encompass more widespread human performance research. Chapters address such essential concepts as the key principles of sport, exercise, and performance psychology, individual differences, identity development, individual differences associated with personality, motivation, self-efficacy, stress and coping, injury, decision making, job opportunities, and burnout in the context of human performance. Motivation is likely one of the most critical variables in determining one’s behaviors and ultimate success because it impels them to act or sit still. Self-efficacy is said to influence whether people are optimistic or pessimistic, the goals they select, and their willingness to persist in the face of failure. Stressors fall into one of three possible categories-bioecological, psychointrapersonal, and/or social. Bringing these topics to life are companion “Applying the Concepts” chapters demonstrating how these principles are directly applied in real-life situations. The text focuses on the core theories underpinning sport psychology. Interviews with researchers, coaches, athletes, and other individuals from performance-intensive professions vividly reinforce the book’s content. Additionally, the book contains insights on theories and research findings that students can apply to their own experience.
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This chapter addresses the key principles of sport, exercise, and performance psychology. It reflects the broadening of sport psychology studies to encompass more widespread human performance research. It provides Dr. Sachs’s honest and open remarks along with interspersed additions from the authors to introduce the field and its accompanying issues. In explaining his career trajectory, Dr. Sachs recalls earning his undergraduate degree in psychology and then applying to graduate programs in applied behavioral analysis. Dr. Sachs’s somewhat zigzagged trajectory in the field demonstrates the important sport and exercise psychology principle that explains the benefits of focusing on the process rather than the outcome when setting goals. Dr. Sachs added that the United States leads the way in research and writing with regard to sport and exercise psychology, while other countries may be more advanced in the application of that knowledge at the professional levels.
This chapter addresses the key principles of sport, exercise, and performance psychology. It reflects the broadening of sport psychology studies to encompass more widespread human performance research. The topic of decision making has been covered in psychology, economics, and motor learning but addressed very sparsely in sport, exercise, and performance psychology. Rational decision making requires defining the problem, identifying criteria, weighing those criteria, generating alternative solutions, and ultimately computing the optimal decision. The chapter introduces the literature on decision making and provides examples of factors that influence the choices people make. The decision to act, move, or what move to make is decided in the response selection stage, and the final stage is when one’s brain and muscles are organized to make the actual move. The key to improve the decision-making over time is to increase personal awareness of own limitations and keep learning and collecting information from reliable sources.
The guru-driven nature of sport psychology has contaminated the field and how it is perceived, evaluated, and valuated by coaches, athletes, and decision makers in organizations who may want to utilize the services of sport psychology practitioners. This chapter provides a foundational and fundamental rationale for advancing evidence-based and validated athlete assessment and intervention protocols. The prevalent approach to applied sport psychology is practitioner-centered. The American Board of Sport Psychology (ABSP) mission is to advance practice, education, and training standards in the field of applied sport psychology as well as provide licensed psychologists the opportunity to achieve board certification in sport psychology. Sport psychologists and sport psychology practitioners must distinguish themselves from coaches and other practitioner-advisors who work with athletes. Sport psychology offers practitioners of highly disparate education, training, experience, and credentials an unparalleled opportunity to break into the elite strata of sports.
- Go to chapter: Sport Psychological Performance Statistics and Analysis II: Criticality Analyses During Training and Competition
Sport Psychological Performance Statistics and Analysis II: Criticality Analyses During Training and Competition
The Critical Moment (CMT) testing paradigm introduces psychological stressors to practice settings by attaching physical, psychological, and material value to what would otherwise be routine moments during training. CMT brings accountability to practice sessions by documenting performance throughout a training period or on demand during specific testing epochs. The CMT creates psychological stress in a performance situation that otherwise might be perceived as routine and innocuous by an athlete. CMT paradigms are sport specific and can be customized so as to simulate important actions or tasks that are common and important to a particular sport. Anecdotally, one will frequently observe that athletes of all levels also are motivated intrinsically to compete and want to perform well and win, even in intra-squad competitive events or tasks that are ancillary or irrelevant to real game statistical performance.
Psychophysiological stress testing (PST) should be routinely administered to all athletes at intake. This test provides an additional layer in the evidence hierarchy by extending Athlete’s Profile Primary Higher Order (AP PHO) constellation self-report and behavioral measures to underlying mind-body responding. Feelings of discomfort, worry, nervousness, and overall stress are expected to heighten in athletes with the most detrimental AP PHO constellation or in athletes who score high for neuroticism/subliminal reactivity (N/SR), and induce changes in heart rate variability (HRV) that are associated with increases in sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity. While differential levels of activation are usually necessary for sport performance, in the context of a static situation and cognitive stressors, greater low frequency (LF) and accompanying SNS is hypothesized to be disruptive and interfere with mental tasks, such as strategic planning as a precursor to motor action.
Mental imagery (MI) or visualization can be considered the go-to mental training (MT) method and is used by the vast majority of sport psychology practitioners. MI is addressed in the context of the Theory of Critical Moments and athlete’s profile (AP) models of peak performance construct bases and the brain-heart-mind-body-motor dynamics they advance in regard to intervention efficiency and efficacy. Athlete is tested for Visualization Responsivity (VR) using the Carlstedt Protocol Visualization Responsivity Test-Athlete Version (CPVR-A). This chapter provides some consecutive autonomic nervous system (ANS)-heart rate variability (HRV) reports that emanate from a professional tennis player who was high in hypnotic susceptibility (HS)/subliminal attention (SA), namely the baseline condition, positive-negative and relaxation visualization scenario-based HRV responses. It presents an MI intervention efficacy case study in the context of actual competition using a repeated A-B-A design. Variance explained in a visualization-based or associated outcome measure should be the intervention efficacy benchmark.
- Go to chapter: Heart Rate Variability Monitoring and Assessment During Training and Competition: A Window Into Athlete Mind–Body Responding
Heart Rate Variability Monitoring and Assessment During Training and Competition: A Window Into Athlete Mind–Body Responding
Heart rate variability (HRV) measures have been found to consistently predict macro- and micro-level sport-specific outcomes, including performance during critical moments as well as reflecting differential states of attention, intensity, and mental control, especially when an athlete is under competitive pressure. This chapter explores and explicates HRV in the context of pre-intervention assessment of athlete mind-body-motor and outcome responses and attempts to arrive at an athlete’s individual zone of optimum functioning (IZOF), as well as criterion reference athlete’s profile primary higher-order (AP PHO) constellations with autonomic nervous system (ANS)/psychophysiological measures in both training and real competition. The polar system allows for real-time wireless and telemetry HRV data acquisition and analyses opening up the possibility of isolating specific inter-beat intervals during action. Such a capability facilitates micro-analyses of HRV and heart rate deceleration (HRD) on an unprecedented level, since investigations of HRV/HRD can be carried out during high-intensity training and competition.
- Go to chapter: Neurocognitive Testing and Quantitative Electroencephalography: Brain Functioning and Athlete Performance
Neurocognitive Testing and Quantitative Electroencephalography: Brain Functioning and Athlete Performance
Neurocognitive testing (NCT) and quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG) are brain assessment procedures that are used to investigate relationships between cortical functioning and context-specific outcome measures to arrive at clinical diagnoses or better informed patient and client evaluations. Research is ongoing to test the premise that NCT and qEEG can serve as reliable criterion-referenced measures for athletes profile primary higher order (AP PHO) constellations, heart rate variability (HRV) responding and eventually macro- and micro-performance outcome. Low/high ratio (L/H) was associated with numerous conceptually relevant NCT tests, including motor tapping variability, motor tapping, and switching of attention completion time. This chapter reviews the results from pilot research encompassing over 50 athletes from the sports of baseball, tennis, and ice hockey prior to presenting a case study of an ex-world class professional tennis player who underwent NCT and qEEG as part of the American Board of Sport Psychology-Carlstedt Protocol (ABSP-CP) pre-intervention evaluation process.