Technical and focus threshold testing is a low-tech method that is used to help determine the extent to which an athlete exhibits technical/motor control and concomitant focus or attention in the context of sport-specific task challenges of increasing level of difficulty. It is an important first step in on-the-playing-field assessment of technical/physical and psychological performance, allowing a coach and sport psychology practitioner to quantify technical-psychological balance or how much of an athlete’s performance equation can be explained on the basis of mind-body factors. It provides criterion-referencing for in-office self-report and psychological test scores as well as practitioner intuition. A major issue in the technical-focus threshold equation involves temporal dynamics or time that it takes to achieve enduring change (TAC). TAC can be operationalized as the amount of time that it takes to achieve neuronal consolidation of a technical skill, context-specific attention span, or any other performance-relevant psychological tendency or behavior.
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- Go to chapter: Sport Psychological Performance Statistics and Analysis I: Technical and Focus Threshold Training
The manipulation of cerebral laterality is a validated brain-based experimental procedure that can be used to induce rapid changes in emotional states associated with potentially disruptive athlete’s profile (AP) constellations as well as brain hemispheric shifts in the preaction to action transition. Priming or stimulating the right visual and blocking the left visual field using special goggles/glasses is an experimental cerebral laterality manipulation (CLM) intervention that has been associated with demonstrated intervention efficiency and efficacy. CLM manipulation can also be directly applied to facilitate the well-documented pre-action relative to left-to-right hemispheric shifts associated with peak performance responses, especially in athletes who have an ideal AP or more ambiguous hemispheric valence profiles. The manipulation of visual-field input leads to activation of the contralateral brain hemisphere and unequivocal evidence of intervention efficiency that is hard to demonstrate for most mental training modalities.
- Go to chapter: Spectrum of Intervention and Mental Training Modalities in Sport Psychology: Perspectives and Practices
Spectrum of Intervention and Mental Training Modalities in Sport Psychology: Perspectives and Practices
This chapter presents interventions and mental training (MT) modalities in order of the hypothesized probability that engaging in a select method will lead to a successful outcome per Carlstedt Protocol (CP) efficacy criteria. There are numerous intervention and MT modalities to choose from, both as a practitioner and an athlete. The American Board of Sport Psychology-Carlstedt Protocol (ABSP-CP) approach to intervention and MT is based on the athlete’s profile (AP) model of individual differences that has isolated key primary higher-order (PHO) factors that are intimately related to critical components of performance: attention, physiological reactivity, and strategic planning/coping, all of which play a mediating role in the intervention and MT process. The chapter addresses interventions in the context of ABSP-CP perspectives, procedures, and methodologies, and, particularly, how a specific MT technique can be applied/used to facilitate in-the-moment peak performance as reflected in heart rate deceleration (HRD).
- Go to chapter: Integrative Athlete Assessment and Intervention: Team Case Study of Mind–Body Assessment and Biofeedback During Official Competition
Integrative Athlete Assessment and Intervention: Team Case Study of Mind–Body Assessment and Biofeedback During Official Competition
This chapter presents a validated multifaceted assessment and intervention protocol that has been used on hundreds of athletes over the last 15 years. It provides data and findings on athletes who have experienced the Carlstedt Protocol (CP), and recommends for the integration of procedures and methodologies that are vital to evidence-based applied sport psychology, and the credibility of the field of sport psychology/biofeedback and its practitioners. In addition to guiding biofeedback, the established athlete’s profile is a strong predictor of intervention amenability and compliance tendencies, pain thresholds, attentional control during competitive stress, coachability, and the placebo-nocebo effects. During critical moments, athletes possessing the most negative or disruptive constellation of primary higher-order (PHO) factors exhibit heart rate acceleration (HRA) prior to action, while those having the most facilitative or protective constellation continue to demonstrate heart rate deceleration (HRD).
- Go to chapter: Toward a Gold Standard System of Accountability: Advanced Methodologies in Athlete Assessment and Intervention Efficacy Testing
Toward a Gold Standard System of Accountability: Advanced Methodologies in Athlete Assessment and Intervention Efficacy Testing
This chapter presents an introduction to advanced gold standard accountability procedures for athlete assessment and intervention. The best way to demonstrate the validity of an assessment battery or efficacy of an intervention is through an accountability process. Relative to athlete assessment, accountability can and should be demonstrated in the construct validity of a specific psychological, behavioral, or psychophysiological measure that is being assessed. The field of applied sport psychology is replete with research-based systems, eclectic and hybrid athlete evaluation, and mental training methods, as well as extreme Guru-propagated, “analyze and cure-all” schemes that promise or guarantee incredible success. The preceding data set is consistent with individual athlete differential mind-body responses that have been observed in extensive previous intervention efficacy research. Practitioners should generate and maintain an accountability database throughout the course of their work with an athlete.
- 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.
This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of the book. The book presents information and approaches that are critical to high-standard evidence-based applied sport psychology. Evidence-based practice and empirically validated assessment and interventions have become catch-phrases in psychology. It exposes practitioners, educators, and students to an integrative, interdisciplinary, and systematized approach to athlete assessment and intervention. The book is also designed to foster interdisciplinary understanding, information sharing, and integrative approaches to athlete assessment, mental training, and outcome research. It focuses on the American Board of Sport Psychology-Carlstedt Protocol (ABSP-CP), a system of athlete assessment and intervention that since originally being conceptualized has been applied to hundreds of athletes. The book is replete with extensive case studies of actual athlete assessment and intervention, bringing to life the perspectives, models, methodologies, and procedures in the form of real data sets and their acquisition, analysis, and interpretation.
- Go to chapter: The Athlete’s Profile Model: Primary Higher Order Psychological Mediators of Peak Performance
This chapter presents the athlete’s profile (AP) in an applied context and reviews the primary higher order (PHO) measures that it encompasses and their impact on performance. It describes test instruments, applications/administration, psychometrics and methodology. The AP model is a conceptual and explanatory framework that predicts athlete psychological performance tendencies during pressure situations of competition. The conceptual origins of the AP can be traced to the High Risk Model of Threat Perception (HRMTP) and its isolation of the three so-called subject variables, hypnotic susceptibility (HS), neuroticism (N), and repressive coping (RC). These measures were shown to interact to mediate maladaptive cognitive processing/attention, physiological reactivity, and subliminal coping and resulting symptoms and/or illness. As such, the AP battery should only be administered in the context of a comprehensive athlete evaluation and intervention efficacy testing process.
Multi-modal approaches to mental training (MT) involve the incorporation of more than one intervention method in attempts to enhance performance. Intervention amenability and compliance relative to multi-modal MT, as when using singular modalities alone, need to be seriously considered. Multi-modal MT can be very straightforward and designed to specifically address psychological or technical issues or goals independently. This chapter provides an example of a select individualized multi-modal intervention. As with all MT modalities, multi-modal methods must be documented and scrutinized for efficiency and efficacy. Heart rate variability (HRV) and autonomic nervous system (ANS) reports are used to determine intervention efficiency and efficacy. Multi-modal mental training (MMMT), as with any form of intervention that has established efficiency and efficacy, should be carried out independently by athletes who travel to competitions or are assisted by coaches and/or team mates in the absence of a sport psychology practitioner.