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.
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- Go to chapter: The Athlete’s Profile Model: Primary Higher Order Psychological Mediators of Peak Performance
Behavioral-Motor-Technical (BMT)-based intervention attempts to help support an athlete’s mental game using exposure, confrontation, threshold, and learning principles to improve attention, motor control, and self-confidence, as well as reduce nervousness associated with pressure moments of competition. BMT-based intervention is a direct approach to mental training (MT). Conceptually, BMT MT’s utility and potential to enhance psychological performance is based on motor learning, technical repetition, and exposure/habituation principles. The central nervous system mechanisms that are thought to be associated with BMT-MT-induced habituation or inoculation to competitive stress are discussed under brain-based interventions of the athlete’s profile (AP) brain-heart-mind-body conceptual model and construct bases. The goal of BTM-MT is to consolidate optimum technical and motor patterns in long-term procedural memory as well as repetitively attempt to demonstrate peak technical performance under greatest situational pressure, first in training and then during official competition.
Neurofeedback (NF) is a brain-based procedure that has made its way into the sport performance mental training (MT) arena. Athlete-specific NF protocols have also been used in an attempt to enhance performance. However, there are conceptual and methodological issues and problems associated with NF, more so in sport performance contexts. The current state of NF mirrors that of the field of sport psychology in general. According to the Dietrich’s Transient Hypofrontality Hypothesis (THH), the brain must make do with a finite amount of metabolites and blood flow. The THH can be difficult to test due to motion artifact issues associated with most brain imaging instruments, including positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). THH-based NF may have the potential to reprogram/program performance adaptive brain-heart responses in athletes who are burdened with the worst athlete’s profile (AP) by taking the frontal lobes out of the performance disruption equation.
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: Construct Validity in Evidence-Based Applied Sport Psychology: Integrative Mind–Body Bases of Peak Psychological Performance
Construct Validity in Evidence-Based Applied Sport Psychology: Integrative Mind–Body Bases of Peak Psychological Performance
The establishment of construct validity in the context of sport psychological assessment and intervention requires the identification of valid functional mind-body origins or bases of athlete psychological responses and associated performance tendencies during training or competition. Finding additional links between heart rate deceleration (HRD) and concomitant brain activity parameters leading up to action that are also associated with performance outcome would be an extension finding in the construct validation process. Irrespective of whether a practitioner subscribes to the Brain-Heart-Mind-Body-Motor (BHMBM) and its interrelated Athlete’s Profile (AP) and Theory of Critical Moments (TCM) models of peak performance, construct validity should be considered when deciding what assessment instrument to use or intervention to apply. The chapter also presents a comprehensive and integrative explication of key components of the Carlstedt Protocol’s (CP) validated athlete assessment and intervention system.
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.
Practitioners should be aware of and critically appraise the conceptual bases and construct validity of an intervention or mental training (MT) method. Intervention dose–response relationships (IDRR) and time to achieve enduring change (TAEC) is a conceptual issue that is closely related to temporal properties of MT. Evidence-based approaches to MT and intervention must take temporal and time to achieve enduring change parameters into account using the systematic methodologies. Ecological validity is a vital prerequisite for high evidentiary athlete assessment and intervention. The Polar heart rate variability (HRV)/heart rate deceleration (HRD) paradigm allows for more extensive and time-locked predictive validity statistical analyses so that in-the-moment MT over the course of entire official games/matches/competition can be delineated and quantified in terms of MT’s predictive validity.
This book is designed to foster interdisciplinary understanding, information sharing, and integrative approaches to athlete assessment, mental training (MT), and outcome research in evidence-based applied sport psychology. 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. The Polar heart rate variability (HRV)/heart rate deceleration (HRD) paradigm allows for more extensive and time-locked predictive validity statistical analyses so that in-the-moment MT over the course of entire official games/matches/competition can be delineated and quantified in terms of MT’s predictive validity. Behavioral-Motor-Technical (BMT)-based intervention attempts to help support an athlete’s mental game using exposure, confrontation, threshold, and learning principles to improve attention, motor control, and self-confidence, as well as reduce nervousness associated with pressure moments of competition. The goal of BTM-MT is to consolidate optimum technical and motor patterns in long-term procedural memory as well as repetitively attempt to demonstrate peak technical performance under greatest situational pressure, first in training and then during official competition. The book also provides a foundational and fundamental rationale for advancing evidence-based and validated athlete assessment and intervention protocols.
Heart rate deceleration biofeedback (HRD BF) is a relatively unknown intervention whose origin can be traced to an extensive body of research on pre-stimulus or pre-action cardiac activity. HRD BF is a very mechanistic approach, whose effects can be immediately documented independent of speculative interpretive components associated with more cognitively based interventions. BF attempts to induce or shape mind-body responses by first showing baseline autonomic and/or central nervous system activity as reflected in waveform oscillations or other representations that are observable on a computer screen, and then reinforcing prescribed performance or wellness-related target psychophysiological responses. In multi-modal HRD BF, video and visualization components are integrated into the mental training process. In terms of intervention efficacy, the tested player won more and lost fewer games in the HRD BF compared to the no-intervention condition. Conceptually consistent intervention efficiency and efficacy findings support its utility as an athlete assessment and intervention approach.
- 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.