Thursday, 31 January 2013

Psychological factors in sports (my athlete is Usain bolt )

Psychological factors
Performing to the best of your ability requires fitness, skilled related fitness and mental preparation for the sport performance or activity
Sport performers need to beware of psychological factors and importance of maintaining their health and wellbeing so that their training and performance
Psychological factors include
·         Personality
·         Motivation
·         Arousal and anxiety
·         Concentration
My athlete is Usain bolt a tall lanky Jamaican from the yam farming parish of Trelawney in the island's Cockpit Country dazzled the 91,000 spectators in China's Bird's Nest Stadium in the Summer of 2008 to win his country's first gold in the 100 metres dash in a record time of 9.69 seconds. Widely recognised as the fastest man in the world
Motivation is the external stimulus and internal mechanisms which arouse and direct our behaviour .there are two categories of motivations which include
Intrinsic motivation
This is define to challenge yourself and the enjoyment gained from sports participation and your sporting achievements .the following will be true. 
It is important for Usain Bolt to gain high levels of intrinsic motivation because:
1.       Usain bolt will  have desire to overcome the problem or task  such  as  false starts to avoid being disqualified therefore  usain bolt will be more eager to give a better performance than a lowly motivated one with the same skills.
2.       Usain bolt will develop of skills and habits to overcome that problem such as practising gun to improve his reaction time, with the athlete who has less skill but more motivation can train to be better than another who has more skill but is less motivated to put in 100% of effort.
3.       Usain bolt will be to  rehearse of successful habits until they perfect ,this motivation will make bolt gain self-confidence to perform in competitive competitions  and training hard
4.       Intrinsic motivation will give Usain bolt a feeling of pride and enjoyment in performing in performing the skills
5.       This helps Usain bolt to repeatedly set goals in order to progress and maintain motivation.

Smart goals to achieve intrinsic motivation

Smart goals
Is a mnemonic to guide people when they set objectives, the letters broadly conform to the words Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely

Usain bolt goals must be clear and well defined. he must understand what you wish to achieve. Vague or generalised goals are not achievable because they don't provide sufficient direction. Remember and he needs goals to show the way.
Include precise amounts, dates, etc. in his goals so he can measure his degree of success. Without a way to measure his success he miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing he can actually achieved something.
Usain bolt should make sure that it's possible to achieve the goals he sets. If and if he sets a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralise yourself and erode your confidence. However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. By setting realistic yet challenging goals you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to "raise the bar" and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.
Usain bolt Goal’s represent objectives toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic, Usain bolt must decide for himself. The test for “realistic” is a careful study of the past to know what a “stretch” goal is and what is wildly and unreasonably optimistic. He must truly believe that it can be accomplished.
Time related
Usain bolt goals should have an end point that can be found on a calendar. Time frames tied to his goals provide a sense of urgency to help motivate him.

Extrinsic motivation
          Extrinsic motivation comes from a source outside of Usain bolt. These are things which can encourage Usain bolt to perform and fall into two groups:
Tangible rewards:
          If bolt is extrinsically motivated by tangible rewards this will be achieved through, Physical rewards such as medals and money. These should be used sparingly with young athletes to avoid a situation where winning a prize is more important than competing well.
 Intangible rewards:
          Additionally bolt may become extrinsically motivated through praise, recognition and achievements. These should be used on a regular basis to encourage the Usain bolt to repeat the behaviour which earned the praise.


              Arousal is your level of excitement and readiness to perform. Arousal can have positive and negative effects on your performance.

The relationship between arousal and performance can be complicated while one person may be psyched up for the challenge at the competition another chokes and performs far below the expectation
As Usain bolt will need to control his arousal .he should be able to increase arousal when feeling lethargic and decrease at when the pressures causes nervous and anxiety
It’s better for Usain bolt to control arousal when performing anxiety provoking games

Your performance will be best at an optimum level of arousal. After this level, performance gets worse as you become anxious and nervous.
Usain bolt needs to be aware of that her arousal level is not low. This is because if her arousal levels are low then it means that she is more likely to not perform as she normally can. So it is essential to have high arousal level, so she will be more motivated to win and if she wins it will increase the meaning of that win.

              Anxiety means being worried and or feel maybe tired or sick etc., before or during the sport or activity you are doing.
If Usain bolt feels good physically and mentally, he has a better chance to perform at their best. Conversely, if Usain bolt is troubled by events off the field or is worried about performing against a specific opponent may come to the field of play with anxiety and fear. This can lead to below-average play, failure or even choking, a term that all athletes hate. In some rare cases, he may use that anxiety in their favour and still find a way to succeed.

Symptoms and Signs of Arousal and Anxiety:
There are two types of
Physical (physiological) which include the following

* Cold, clammy hands
* Constant need to urinate
* Profuse sweating
* Dazed look in eyes
* Ill feeling
* Headache
* Dry mouth
* Difficulties sleeping
* Increased muscle tension
* Butterflies in Stomach

Cognitive (psychological) which include
Fluctuation In concentration
 Ineffective decision making

Drive theory - This demonstrates a linear relationship between performance and arousal. This means at low levels of arousal, performance is low and performance increases in line with an increase in arousal. This is shown in the graph below.

Inverted U theory- This law states that arousal improves performance up to an optimal point. Past this point, performance begins to decrease. When drawn on a graph this appears as an upside down U shape

Individual differences
Many theorists believe the inverted U theory is too simplistic and therefore we all have a different optimal level of arousal
This level will change depending on the task (simple or complex) the personality of Usain bolt introverts or extrovert and the stage of learning (cognitive)

Why Does Arousal Influence Performance of my athlete?

          Arousal and anxiety may affect Usain bolt performance as arousal increases muscle tension and affects co-ordination. Too much tension can create difficulties. As well, it affects attention. However, attention can become too narrow with too much arousal, and can make one pay attention to too much in their environment when there is too little arousal.

            * Better performance in situations where you are not being evaluated
There are three different types of anxiety Usain bolt may be affected by this during her training and they are the following:-
Types of anxiety
Anxiety is a negative emotional state with feelings of worry, nervousness and apprehension that is associated with the activation of the body.
There are three types of anxiety that Usain Bolt may suffer from. These are as shown below:
·         State of Anxiety is a type of anxiety that occurs when a performer is placed in a constantly changing situation.
·         Somatic Anxiety is how the body responds to the sports situation. E.g. increased heart rate increased breathing rate.
·         Cognitive Anxiety is the performer’s general nervousness about the situation they are experiencing and their ability to perform well. May also reduce concentration levels.


This is unique to an individual, and sports performers should be aware of how their own personality could affect sports performance.
Sports coaches should treat my athlete differently according to their personality type

My athlete has an extrovert personality

There are 2 types of personality these are:

Extroverts tend to be energetic and enjoy being around people. The like attention and getting interaction from other people, extroverts tend to be enthusiastic, talkative, and assertive. Extroverts enjoy doing activities that involve other people.

Introverts are "geared to sit back and watch" rather than to act in social settings. In a large social setting, introverts tend to be quiet, low-key, shy, and disengaged, and this is due to introvert's loss of energy when with a large number of people. Introverts gain energy when performing activities alone.

Usain bolt tends to be energetic and enjoys being around people. He likes attention and getting interaction from other people, and after every 100 m sprint or competition he celebrates in an extrovert way. Usain tends to be enthusiastic, talkative before and after the race, and assertive. He enjoys doing activities that involve other people, such as taking part in community activities; for example he started Usain foundation to help and support poor children in Jamaica, his affinities to large groups allow them to enjoy large social gatherings including parties usually Usain bolt are the life of the party. As such, Usain bolt is likely to enjoy time spent with people and find less reward in time spent alone.

This is ability of a sport performer to process information and maintains focus when an athlete concentrate well they can take in all information they need to make good decisions like responding to their opponent or adapting to their environment for example

Research has identified the following types of attention focus;
Broad - narrow continuum –This focuses on larger on small number of stimulus. Usain Bolt would use a narrow continuum because the 100m is running a straight line and he would only need to concentrate down his lane.

Internal external continuum –focus on internal stimuli (feelings) or external stimuli
The demands for concentration varies with sport. Usain Bolt would need to use internal continuum to get himself focused and relaxed before the race. He would also need to use external so he is able to concentrate on the gun.

Sustained concentration –for distance running, cycling tennis squash
Short burst of concentration – this is need in sport like sprinting event for the 100 metres; Usain bolt needs this concentration because his event only lasts for a short period iof time and he needs to be focused for a short period.  

Common distractions that my affect Usain bolt concentration are: anxiety, mistakes, fatigue, weather, public announcements, coach, manager, opponent, negative thoughts etc.

Strategies to improve concentration are very personal. One way to maintain focus is to set process goals for each session or competition. The athlete will have an overall goal for which the athlete will identify a number of process goals that help focus on specific aspects of the task. For each of these goals the athlete can use a trigger word (a word which instantly refocuses the athlete's concentration to the goal) e.g. sprinting technique requires the athlete to focus on being tall, relaxed, smooth and to drive with the elbows - trigger word could be "technique"
Athletes will develop a routine for competition that may include the night before, the morning, pre competition, competition and post competition routines. If these routines are appropriately structured then they can prove a useful aid to concentration.